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2022 travel trends: Airline miles to lose value, negotiable hotel rates, more

Travel trends to expect in 2022
Travel trends to expect in 2022 04:46

The "CBS Mornings" series "What's New In '22" takes a closer look at the stories and trends that will define the year ahead.

The travel industry has faced new restrictions, canceled trips, destination closures and job losses over the past year. What can we expect in 2022?

CBS News senior travel adviser Peter Greenberg shares his expectations and how travelers should prepare.

Flight prices will drop in January

After January 4, air traffic historically drops, so prices will likely be lower than they are now, Greenberg said.  

"If I wanted to book a round-trip ticket this morning from New York to Los Angeles, assuming I could even get on a plane, that round-trip fare is $700. January 5: $132," he said Tuesday on "CBS Mornings." "I also priced out a Dallas to New York trip on January 5. It was $32. The cab ride to the airport is more expensive."

Airlines won't mandate vaccines on their own

While some airline CEOs support a vaccine mandate for travelers, none of them want to be the only airline to implement it, Greenberg said.

"They're waiting for the Biden administration to make that rule," he said. "[The administration's] not about to make that rule right now because their other vaccination mandate is being challenged in the courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court. So, until that's resolved, it's dead on arrival."

Airline miles will lose value

During the pandemic, companies realized their frequent flyer programs were worth more than the airlines themselves, Greenberg said.

"They actually mortgaged their programs from between $6 and $10 billion each airline. That's a lot of debt," he said. 

To deal with that debt, the airlines will start to devalue frequent flyer miles and make it harder to earn and redeem them, he said. So, if you have a lot of miles, Greenberg recommends using them as soon as possible.

"Start today. Look out about 330 days, as far out as that, and redeem miles as much as you can because starting in January, that devaluation parade is going to start and it's not going to be pretty," he said.

Hotel rates could be negotiable 

Expect to pay more for hotels in the next year. But if you're willing to make a phone call, rather than book online, you may be able to negotiate the rate, Greenberg said. 

"It's not the posted rate that counts, it's all the ancillary rates about whether you're going to have to pay for the water, or the Wi-Fi, or the parking," he said, adding, "as more hotels open with the same continuing staff shortages, it's going to be a much more competitive marketplace. They'll be much more willing to negotiate because any revenue is better than no revenue."

Restaurants will raise prices

"Expect to pay more for your menu," Greenberg said. "Every menu item price is going up, and a lot of things that never used to be on the menu as a charged item — they're going to be on that."

This is because many restaurants have been facing staffing issues that are expected to continue. They'll have to incentivize workers with higher wages, perks and benefits, Greenberg said.

"That's going to all translate into higher menu prices, not just on the entrees, but what used to come on your dish is now going to be charged as a side order. Even the bread basket is going to be a paid item."

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