Global Traveler magazine, which caters to frequent international business travelers, recently published the results of its annual readers’ poll. While any poll like this is subject to lots of ballot stuffing by whatever company gets the most organized, it’s still generally a good window into which companies are getting respect.
Top Airlines for Latin America
On the airline front, even business class travelers have no love for the Big 3 in the USA. There branded credit cards rate highly and sometimes the lounges rate okay, but the airlines themselves always pale in comparison to their international competitors.
Winning “Best Airline to South America” was LATAM Airlines Group, formed by merging LAN and TAM.
When it comes to service, however, Avianca got the nod for “Best Frequent Flyer Customer Service” for the Americas.
Winning “Best Airline in Mexico” was Aeromexico. In all fairness though, they’re the only full-service airline in that country.
“Best Airline in North America” went to Air Canada.
Top Hotels for Latin America
Ritz-Carlton scored a double on hotels, winning “Best Domestic Hotel Chain” and “Best International Hotel Chain.” They’ve apparently got some dedicated fans among Global Traveler’s older readership as they scored with “Best Hotel Website” and “Best Hotel Club Floor” as well. They haven’t added to their stodgy Cancun and Santiago properties in Latin America, but there’s one on the way for Los Cabos soon.
Apparently this magazine’s readers have divided loyalties, however, or travel to different regions where different chains are stronger.
“Best Hotel Rewards Program in the World” went to the IHG Rewards Club from Intercontinental Hotels. (In my personal opinion, they’re the one that gives you the most for your points and makes it easiest to redeem.)
But Hilton scored for “Best Elite Level Program,” Omni Select Guest won for “Best Bonus Program” and Marriott won for “Best Award Redemption.” Then after all that, Hyatt Gold Passport came out on top for “Best Frequent Stay Customer Service.” Let’s call this one “no clear winner.”
What Bag Are You Carrying?
There are plenty of luggage companies out there to choose from, but frequent international business travelers often end up gravitating to the same brand. Briggs & Riley won again for “Best Luggage.” There are two factors that contribute to this: the bags are really hard to destroy and they are part of a very small and elite group offering money back guarantees for life if the luggage fails.