UP CLOSE WITH HISTORY
I tried TripItPro for a 30 day free trial several years ago and never looked back. A side by side comparison of the understated TripItPro app on the TripIt website lists some of the significant differences over the basic, free version. Still, TripIt’s own list actually falls short of detailing the true value of what I love about this travel app above all others. Here then is that list of what you get with the upgrade and how those features have played out in real life for me:
- Locate alternate flights– Some airline travel apps do a better job of this than others. Delta, for example, has a marvelous feature that lets me track my bags and know where they are in real time along the way. When tight connections happen and I make it to the plane, it’s nice to know my luggage did too. That’s something Whitney and I did not think of when running to the next gate for a flight connection in Miami, only to land in Barbados without our luggage. But most other airline apps are not as efficient as the Delta app, although they are improving. TripItPro, searches not only the airline being flown that day, the one that has the flight delay, but other airlines as well. That’s a service you’ll have to see a human for at the airline ticket counter to make happen as most airlines want to rebook you on one of their planes first, for obvious reasons.
- Find out when a better seat is available- This feature is one that can be extremely important but not for reasons that might seem obvious. Those with special needs come to mind as bona fide users of this feature but actually fall into a different category. Tagging that reservation with a special needs request actually puts it in an entirely different category with airlines, one they pay special attention to. Forget about special needs for a moment, we’ll come back to that. Let’s say the traveler just happens to like an aisle or window seat but either none are available or seats that are available are located in an undesirable location. A window seat over the wing without the desired view below comes to mind. Tapping the vast SeatGuru network, TripItPro takes your preferred seat location, remembers it, and lets you know when one of those is available. Granted, one might simply get the SeatGuru app but the sync between our travel plans and available seats would have to be done manually.
- Get flight-refund notifications- This sounds like something we might never use on the surface. Digging a bit deeper we find that TripIt Pro sends an alert if the price paid for an airline ticket drops enough to get a refund or a credit. Refund tracking works for most domestic flights in the US. While I have not seen this happen (1 in 15 eligible air reservations get a refund alert), credits ranging from $10 to $600 or more, after paying airline change fees to take advantage of the new lower price. Worth considering.
- Store reward-program points in one spot- TripIt makes keeping track of airline points easy for those who fly on multiple airlines or even occasional travelers on airlines where points never expire. Actually, occasional travelers may find that feature especially important if they use credit cards that accumulate points. Again, this is one of those TripItPro features that builds on the core TripIt value of having all travel plans in one place, synced where needed and shared with others as appropriate.
- Share plans with your inner circle automatically- As noted, the sharing capability comes naturally for TripItPro, most often promoted as a great feature for companies and workgroups. But that ‘sharing as appropriate’ part is of significant value to those who prefer that the entire world not know they are out of town and no one is staying at their home now so come rob me.
- Save money with VIP travel benefits- One would think these VIP benefits would be great for those who travel all the time but are actually a better feature for those who do not. Flying frequently from Orlando International Airport, I belong to the CLEAR, the fastest and most predictable way to get through airport security. Being a CLEAR member means you can breeze right past the long lines and go straight to screening. Once there CLEAR members do not remove their shoes or take anything out of their luggage before it is scanned. TripIt Pro members have access to CLEAR on a four month free trial that Whitney used on our trip with Viking Ocean Cruises last year. Also included, a $25 discount at LoungeBuddy which gives any traveler the ability to discover, book, and access premium airport lounges worldwide for a fee that usually runs around $50 but provides a lovely place to wait in comfort.
TripItPro brings solid value well worth the price for any traveler but is actually the exception to the rule. A number of times, I have tried paid upgrades that promise more features but end up feeling like that was money wasted. TripItPro’s broad list of features earn it a permanent place on my smartphone home screen, prime real estate for anyone.