Travel Tools and Applications

While earning miles and points is great, there comes a time when you eventually will want to use them.  Or in the process of earning them, you will be travelling.  As we all know, the act of travelling is not exactly seamless.  All sorts of things can go wrong and even if everything goes right, there are little conveniences which can make everything easier for the person travelling.  Today, I will go over two of the applications I use and what I like or do not like about them.  I use more than just two but I am trying to keep the posts somewhat short so I will be reviewing them two at a time.  Keep in mind, I use a Blackberry so my reviews are centred on the Blackberry versions of the applications.  I also have an iPod Touch which I will use to outline any differences between the iPhone and Blackberry versions.  While I do not think the differences are huge, I will mention them when appropriate.  Also, I am deliberately excluding applications from specific airlines or hotels, I will review them at a later time.

Blackberry Travel – This one is obviously only available on a Blackberry but for those with iPhone and Android devices, there are similar applications designed for those systems as well.  Essentially the programme will organise your itinerary for you.  You can either add the itinerary manually, forward the confirmation emails from the reservations to Blackberry Travel or you can set it up to automatically scan your inbox for the confirmations.  After the confirmations are added by whichever method you choose, the programme will then organise everything into one seamless schedule.  It will even tell you if you have anything missing like hotel accommodation on certain days of the trip.  If this happens, there is a built in search function to find and book hotel rooms.

In addition to the booking and itinerary management features, Blackberry Travel also includes a currency converter, weather reports for your destinations, world clocks, flight status lookup and local search powered by Yelp.  Another feature included which seems rather innovative for the technology behind (but for which I have no use for) is that you can link your Blackberry Travel account to Linkedin and see if any of your linkedin contacts are travelling when you are.

Similar apps for iPhone and Android include TripIt and WorldMate both of which are also available for Blackberry users.

Rewards Network Dining – This has been a handy little tool.  For a very long time it did not include AAdvantage dining spots but it seems to have been added recently.  The app comes for Blackberry, iPhone and Android.  You must pick which dining programme you are a member of (you can switch them so don’t worry if you are in more than one), and while it does not track miles earned it allows you to find the restaurants and if you sign in, it tells you how many miles per dollar you can earn.  While they all work pretty much the same, the iPhone does have one additional feature.  In addition to searching for restaurants by city, or postcode, you can also search by current location.  For some reason the Blackberry and Android versions do not do this. 

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