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Modern travel would be great if it weren’t for all the, ya know, travel. Sure, it should be about the journey and not the destination. But airlines, hotels, and many car rental agencies go out of their way to make it damn hard to appreciate the travel part of travel.

National Car Rental is working to change all that as far as rental cars are concerned. Their free Emerald Club loyalty program offers features like Drop & Go express drop-off service, the ability to choose your rewards, and bypass the counter – all to make the experience seamless to the point of being almost invisible (for the record, that’s a good thing). Of course, the greatest rewards and amenities are made available to the most loyal and frequent customers, but anyone can sign up and start scoring these program perks today.

So I started wondering how much better the entire travel experience would be if every brand took the Emerald Club approach. Let’s imagine the Emerald World of Travel

Hotel Room Key
Pick a Room … Any Room © nicephore

Demystifying Your Hotel Room Booking

In today’s world: When you book a hotel, you’re guaranteed a room in a specific category. But you have virtually no idea which exact room you’re getting. (It’s kind of exciting, isn’t it? “What’s in the box???”)

In an Emerald World: You arrive, skip the check-in counter altogether, and head to the Emerald Floor. Here, you have your pick of any room you like. And, when you reach higher status levels, you have even more floors to choose from. All the rooms are open and you’re welcome to inspect each one until you find one to your liking. When you achieve a high enough status, the entire hotel becomes your oyster: you can literally pick any room you like.

Ghosting the Hotel Checkout Line

In today’s world: Hotel guests are notorious for checking out at the last possible minute (can you blame them?) and you probably do, too … right on time with every other guest in the hotel. Hopefully, you brought a good book or three because it could be a looooong wait. You know the drill: the guest at the counter is having an issue with his credit card. And the woman behind him is stewing about an errant charge on her bill, vowing “Oh, I am not paying that!” And the couple behind her can’t seem to round up their five kids so they can actually step to the counter. And on and on …

In an Emerald World: You drop your room key on the desk and just … leave, shouting “I WAIT FOR NO ONE!” to a packed and confused lobby. All without interacting with a single human being … seriously. I like to call this “ghosting”.

First Class on Singapore Airlines
First Class Flyer © Richard Moross

Picking Any Airline Seat That’s Right for You

In today’s world: Ditto the same airline drill above. Sure, you can pick your class of service and even your seat as well. And sites like SeatGuru have made it easier to select a seat that makes sense for you (the location, does it recline?, is it too close to the bulkhead, and so on …). But there’s no substitute for actually seeing the seat in person.

In an Emerald World: You step onto the plane before everyone else and head to the Emerald Class cabin. And … sit. Wherever you want, no questions asked. Not enough legroom in 3A? Hop into 6C instead. That seat a little too close to the bathroom? Just move. No one’s going to tell you “No.” Plus, with exclusive, upgraded status comes the ability to pick any seat on the entire plane (except perhaps the cockpit … let’s not get carried away). First Class, Business, in the bathroom, on the drink cart … virtually any seat you want is yours.

Pick a Rewards Program … (Almost) Any Rewards Program

In today’s world: Airline alliances are nice. Book on JetBlue, earn points with Hawaiian. Great. But, in most scenarios, you typically need to choose your preferred rewards program in advance and the options are almost always limited.

In an Emerald World: What if your frequent flyer miles could be applied to loads of other travel reward programs beyond just airlines? I’m talking hotels, car rentals, and airlines. Just like with National’s Emerald Club, it’s all possible in an ideal Emerald World.

Disclosure: This post was published in partnership with National Car Rental. Read our view on sponsored content.

About The Author

Mike Richard
Founding Editor

Mike Richard has traveled the world extensively since 2008. He's camped in the Jordanian desert with Bedouins, tracked African wild dogs in South Africa, and survived a near-miss great white shark attack in Mexico. He loves the great outdoors, good bourbon, and he (usually) calls Massachusetts home. He also enjoys speaking in the third person.

2 Responses

  1. Alida

    What a fun and great article! Enjoyed reading it, and Emerald World sounds great, until the ‘other’ Emerald clients decide they want YOUR Emerald seat you’ve chosen, then what happens?
    Thanks for a great article that actually made me laugh out loud few times.

  2. Torreto Doms

    Amazing!! Really enjoyed it. I also travel every week out of country but this kind of adventure i have never experience like the way you tell.


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