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TripCase – Helping turn your TDY into TDWise

TripCase Is Excellent For the Military Traveler

Ever get frustrated trying to figure out what rental car company the CTO booked for you, or can’t remember which email your flight itinerary got sent to (if even accessible by phone)?

Information Consolidation

TripCase is a free app that simplifies all that by keeping track of hotel, flight, and rental car information that are booked through the Commercial Travel Office, automatically.  The app consolidates your reservation information and provides (optional) push notifications about your flights.  The information is fed through the Sabre reservation system so it automatically populates the data from CTO.

Share and Scan Trip Receipts

Another great feature of the app is the ability to share trip information, which is extremely helpful if you have to manage a trip for the boss (looking at you, aides-de-camp).  An add on feature for $4.99 provides the ability to scan and save your trip receipts via your phone so you don’t have to manage the paper copies (looking at you, receipt-to-pocket stuffer).

Automatic Data Population

Make sure you set up the app with the same email address you have listed on DTS to receive your itineraries from the CTO.   You do not need to provide TripCase login information for your email account, but through some PFM, the Sabre system does the matching for you.  If you make reservations outside of DTS, you can email the confirmation to trips@tripcase.comand they will also be added to your active trips.

If you read “Sabre” in this article and didn’t picture this, you are wrong.

One last added bonus is TripCase automatically populates your eInvoice into the documents section for when you accidentally delete the receipt from CTO and need to complete your voucher in DTS.

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry for Active Duty

I would hope this is a widely known benefit but SCRA and MLA aren’t so I’ll post just to make sure.

If you add your DODID to the “Known Traveler” number when booking air travel, you will be granted TSA PreCheck.

If you want to elevate your travel game with a Global Entry card then you can get the $100 fee reimbursed by any of these credit cards with waived annual fee’s: Amex Platinum, Amex Bonvoy Brilliant, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase United Explorer, Chase IHG Premier, Chase Ritz Carlton, Citi Prestige, Citi AA Executive, US Bank Altitude Reserve

No More “Alternate Means” Statement in DTS!

The Government Makes A Logical Change For Once

Unprecedented, I know.

The Old

One of the most annoying changes to DOD travel that resulted from 2011 Track Four Efficiencies was the requirement to put the Alternate Means Statement (officially known as the Travel Order Certification) into all DTS travel documents.  The simple statement of  “SVTC, web-based communications are not sufficiently able to accomplish travel objectives” was an annoyance for travelers and approvers alike.  Additionally, in typical military fashion, someone thought that having those magic words on a DD 1610 would stop someone from traveling unnecessarily.

The New

Luckily, after nine years, common sense has finally prevailed.  “The Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee has determined that this requirement is no longer necessary and it aligns with the Deputy Secretary of Defense’s initiative to modernize travel.”  Now “an official responsible for directing travel or approving reimbursement is also responsible for ensuring that funds are used for official travel purposes and in accordance with the conditions prescribed in the JTR.“ See MAP/CAP 079-18 (R) for full text.

Let’s hope that any future changes within the Deputy Secretary of Defense’s initiative to modernize travel are efficient and give travelers reasonable choices within their TDYs.

Recursive Status Matching

How To Stretch Your Hotel Status Without Staying at Hotels

As I sit in the Houston centurion lounge sipping my exceptional (and free) Bloody Mary I am reminded of a hidden AMEX benefit that not many new to the travel hacking game are aware of: recursive status matching.

Status Matching Example

See, the AMEX Platinum gives you free gold status at Hilton properties. Best Western wants to cut into the Hilton (well, really anyone’s) market share of profitable travelers. So Best Western offers status matching to any hotel chain in an attempt to easily gain business from already frequent hotel goers.  Just log into the Status Match No Catch portal, fill out your form with your Best Western info and Hilton info, screenshot your Hilton gold status or get a digital copy of your Hilton status card, and send both to the email listed on the form.

Within about 15 mins (during business hours) Best Western will make you a Diamond member. It’s legit that easy. Why diamond and not gold? I think it has to do with the stays required at Hilton matched with the stays required at Best Western, but I’m not in the business of looking gift horses in the mouth.

Recursive Matching Example

Enter the recursive part. Since you are now a diamond member with Best Western, you can status match with Hilton for Hilton diamond.  Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised too. This part gets a little harder as Hilton requires proof of one night stay at the chain you are matching to.

Can you find a Best Western night for $59? I did, in Raleigh, NC. Make your stay and head on over to the Hilton Status Match page, fill in your info, upload your new Best Western diamond status screenshot and the night receipt from your stay, and bam, Hilton Diamond.  It has gotten a little harder since my match, as Hilton now gives you Diamond for 3 months but requires 8 stays in that time frame to keep it, instead of a straight year of status for free. Fear not, traveler, there is a way around this unfortunate rule.

Skip The Work

If you were to get the AMEX Hilton Aspire card, you would be granted automatic Hilton Diamond status for as long as you own the card. There, problem solved.  The credit card world is ever-changing in its best strategies. Now take your Hilton Diamond status, however, you decide to acquire it, and rematch it back to Best Western for their Diamond Select status. Silly, right? I swear I just did this with 2 weeks left on my Hilton Diamond status. I’ll be using the AMEX Hilton Aspire card in July to get my Hilton Diamond status back (just waiting for the one year mark on my AMEX Delta Gold to hit so I can cancel without repercussion).

Disclaimer: the credit corner guy has now downed 2 mimosas and 2 bloody Mary’s at the Centurion lounge as of the conclusion of this article. He cannot be held responsible for any errors in grammar or facts in general at this time. #FreeDrinks make the layovers fun.