Win A Free Travel Assistant For A Year

I like to think that I have all the skills to book all of my own travel.  The perfect routes on the perfect airlines.  The right rental car.  The hotel that’s the perfect fit.

Except, that’s not really the case.  Sure, I probably know more than the average joe about travel.  But, even when I do have enough time to book all  my travel, I miss things.  That’s why I got my own travel assistant.  Don’t worry, we’re getting to that winning part shortly.

Native is a startup in the travel space run by some wickedly smart people.  They’re my travel assistant, right there on my iPhone whenever I need them.  Every time I tell someone about Native, they inevitably ask, “What do you use it for?”

There’s the easy stuff, like researching flights.  They can use the GPS on your phone to figure out where you are, or you can spell out the gory details.

Travel Assistant

Once you’re done booking things like airfare and hotels, they can help you figure out the rest of it, like how to get from the airport to your destination.

Travel Assistant

Travel Assistant

As you can see from above, they’ll give you the information or offer to book it for you.  That involves giving them a credit card.  While you might not be comfortable with it at first, it won’t take long for them to earn your trust.  I also asked for a few restaurant recommendations.

Travel Assistant

Since I’m using this for our business and handling multiple employees, they can show me travel options for them as well.

Travel Assistant

And, there’s a summary screen where I can see the projects they’ve already worked on.

Travel Assistant

And, there’s no need to hang around your phone waiting for an answer.  Once you submit a request, you’ll get an alert just like any other app when they have follow-up info for you.

Native makes my travel life much easier, freeing up time for me to do other things.  I still enjoy booking my travel, it’s part of what makes leisure travel fun (and I’m a control freak).  But, in this day and age where I don’t qualify for a full-time assistant, Native picks up the slack and picks things up off my plate.  Their customer service is always there, no matter the time zone, long after a regular assistant would have gone to sleep.

Okay, okay.  The free part.  Well, two free parts:

1.  Everyone who reads this post can get two free months of Native to try it out. Navigate to their sign-up page and you’ll see a link labeled “I have a referral or promotion code”.  Plug in the code: PIZZAINMOTION.  That’s it.  2 free months.

ETA:  The 2 free months code will be valid for redemption until August 31, 2015.

2.  I’m giving away a year of Native’s service away to two lucky individuals.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post.  As usual, at least one of the winners will be randomly selected, and there’s a chance if you tell a really good story or make me laugh you could be the other winner.

Make sure your comments are travel-related.  Share a good travel tip, someplace you’re visiting this summer, or a question you need answered.  You can enter once a day until the end of the day Friday, July 3rd. If you have something constructive, you can enter more than once a day.  If you spam the thread, I reserve the right to disqualify you.

For the record, I receive no compensation from Native for writing this post.  It’s actually quite the opposite.  My company has invested in Native we were so impressed with the team.  I’m happy to be able to bring all my readers a chance to try the service for two months and offer your feedback.  I hope you like it as much as I do!

 

134 Comments

  1. This is perfect for the hubby, who’s constantly traveling for work, and me, who just likes to constant travel! The 2 months will help with my upcoming Japan trips in August and September; thanks!

  2. Sounds cool, Ed! Do they do things for awards as well or are the strictly revenue based travel searches? Thanks for doing this!

    1. Charlie, they’re a travel assistant, so just direct them. Now, this is a startup and they’re still learning, so I would expect we’re better at it than they are. But, they’re bringing on more experts!

  3. Wow – this is awesome! Ok, Question and a story. Question: Do they assist with award travel issues too? Reason I ask is the story part: We are celebrating my wife’s birthday with a trip to Bali, we’re in Bali now, and I’ve been on the phone via skype with AA and UA 4 times in the past 2-3 days, changing flights around because it was looking like the Lufthansa Cabin Crew might strike, then might not, then might, now might. It truly is the epitome of “gardening your reservations.” Of course, reading this, I think to myself – could Native have given me an hour or two more at the pool or on the beach?

    1. Trevor, I can’t say they’re experts on awards just yet, but they will make phone calls on your behalf. I had them research public transportation in Greece and make me a reservation at Angelina in Paris recently. Sorry to hear about your troubles. Are you in the clear yet?

  4. This is an interesting service. What do they usually charge for this? Is it yearly or monthly or annually? I usually do all of my own travel planning, research and booking. How did you hear about them?

  5. This year we are going to cut travel expenses by traveling in the US instead of overseas. First up, Portland, Oregon next month then Portland Maine the following month.
    Travel tip: bring some McDonald’s toy or something interesting in your purse just in case someone’s kid gets unruly. This has helped me save my sanity and help the frazzled mother countless times. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I gave an 8th month old sitting next to me a brand new stress ball I just got at a Tech conference and that kept her entertained for a few hours and the mother thanked me endlessly. Another time I had a little ball contraption that I got at a tech conference(that I actually wanted to keep for propping my iphone up while traveling) but I gave it to a toddler that couldn’t stand being in line for 2 hours waiting for Buckingham’s changing of the guards. He stopped crying and stayed busy! The moms are so grateful. I’m not a mom but I would hope some day someone would help me out.

    1. Ed, you can give them which airlines and hotels you prefer for when they do searches. I also think you can give them your FF#s to enter when they make reservations for you.

  6. My travel tip is to double- (or even triple- and rarely quadruple-) dip on dining. Register a logical credit card with each Dining Rewards Network partner (e.g., a Citi AAdvantage card with AAdvantage Dining Rewards), then look for Open Table restaurants (especially those offering 1,000 point table) and/or Restaurant.com. When you pay with a card that bonuses restaurant spend, you can really leverage dining dollars you would have spent anyway; why not patronize restaurants that are willing to help you travel? Every once in a while, you can also factor a Living Social, Groupon or Amazon Local voucher into one of these deals. I’ve saved thousands of dollars this way AND am sitting on over $300 worth of dining checks with OpenTable!

    1. Neat concept. Now just have to figure out if the monthly expense is worth the time savings if you don’t travel a lot.

    1. Scott, good feedback. From my experiences, I’ve used them to make restaurant reservations in foreign countries, research transportation options, show tickets, excursions.

  7. I’d love to try it, but I don’t have a really good story at the moment and I’ve never been able to make people laugh. Can’t seem to get the timing down.

  8. I like the idea. The above illustrations are helpful as well. What kind of time frame have you seen for responses?

    1. Christian, in the beginning initial responses were lengthy. Now, I usually get an initial “got it” within 30 seconds. Timing past that is variable based on what you’re asking for. The other night I was asking about public transportation in Greece. I got my first info back from them in about 5 mins and was able to ask questions back and forth for about 20 mins to answer all my questions.

  9. I fly at least 2 times a month between PDX and PHX. One little letter differentiates between said airports but I have been known to book a trip starting at the wrong end from which I am. Amazing when you show up at the airport in Portland how the agents react when you should be in Phoenix. I hope this service will be able to kerp them straight because I seem to mess it up pretty often.

  10. this sounds like a perfect tool. i hate calling the hotels overseas and trying to explain the question of “how do i get to you the cheapest way” and their answer is always you can take a taxi. you are coming all the way here from the USA and now you want to cut corners schlepping your luggage from the airport. would you take a bus or train if you were in your hometown?! heck yes i would!!!

    1. Sheridan, that’s exactly what I just used Native for. They researched all the options for my Greece trip and even called our hotel for a couple of follow-up questions.

  11. I wonder if they can help with award travel or fixing existing award travel reservations. A lot of the best award travel redemptions are not on the same carrier as where the points/miles came from. So when something goes awry mid-trip, it would be nice to have someone be able to call/negotiate with the points/miles provider. I flew Avianca and Copa using UA miles and got delayed and missed a connection. Neither airline could help and there was no UA customer service in the Lima airport. I had to fight with a UA rep at a baggage claim office to use their phone to call UA customer service. Luckily it worked out after 3 hours no the phone, but not something I’d want to go through again.

  12. This is a really good idea! Getting married in September, so we have both some pre-wedding travel AND our honeymoon coming up. It would be great to have someone to quiz about this stuff rather than get cranky with each other about the inevitable travel questions that always come up… 🙂

  13. Hi,

    I surfed over here thanks to Trevor’s tweet. What I’m booking right now is a month in southern Africa and it is a challenge. Indeed, I never use travel agents but this time I am working with one. I’d love to try out Native and wonder whether they specialize in the US and/or any other part of the world?

    I’m also looking for a place to go that’s a nonstop away from Tucson, so I can run away from the heat for a few days during an August obligation there . Is that the kind of question they could help with?

    Thanks for introducing us to Native. Hope I win!

  14. Pizzaman, you are awesome! I’m signing up for the two free months and putting my hat in the ring for the full year prize. The “Frequent Flyer Hobby” (which I’ve been part of for a year now) is great–I’m late to the game, but am enjoying it and can’t wait to retire in three years and REALLY put everything I’m learning to use. You and the other bloggers/mentors/inspirers tell me new things every day. And, I’m now able to share what I’ve learned with others, such as my adult children and their friends and my colleagues at work. My husband rolls his eyes when I say “sign here” on a new credit card, but he likes flying in the front of the plane! 🙂

  15. I love the idea of thi! It is very similar to what was offered to the La Quinta top elites, believe it or not – my friend has it. A little concierge in an app, as it were.
    As someone who seems to have a problem with booking correct dates, I would find this tool invaluable. The most memorable incident was when I booked a ticket for a friend and me from AMS to DUB on a trip that I had put together for her. After a few wonderful days in Amsterdam, we head to Schilpol and try to check in for our flight. The kiosk didn’t work. We stood in a queue for over thirty minutes only to be sent to another desk (still no clue). When we arrived at the last desk, we were not so cheerfully informed that our tickets were valid…. for a month prior. That was a very expensive one way ticket to Dublin, believe me! If I had had Native on my side at the time, that would never have progressed that far!
    Fast forward to my latest flight that I had to book – and easy CLT-SFO return. Now, in all fairness, I did call and get assistance from the American rep on this because I wanted to be sure that my post midnight red-eye return was booked on the correct day. We discussed in detail the nested trip within this positioning flight… however, when I went to check the flight times a week later for a friend, I noticed that once again the wrong date had been booked… a whole day early! I called AA again to see what, if anything, we could do about this, throwing myself on the agent’s mercy. She was the one who then pointed out that the return was booked for the wrong day too… and that WAS the first agent’s fault. I managed to skirt the change fee and only had to pay the fare difference…. but it all could have been avoided had I access to a service like Native!
    Knowing that I am trying to make the best of the transition to AA from US, it is obvious that I still need a little help 😉

  16. Would love to win a year of Native! I’m getting married in Italy in August. I’m responsible for planning the honeymoon but still deciding which Europe other cities to go right after the wedding. Native sure would come in handy!

  17. Nice post. Looks useful. I’ll consider them in the future. Please entry me for the giveaway too. Thank you.

  18. Ed, thank you for this post. It looks like a very useful service. I have a big 2 week multi-destination trip that I am in the midst of planning. I’m sure I can put them to good use.

  19. We’ll see, I’ll give them a shot on an upcoming trip (next year).

    BTW, if you don’t notice the “I have a promotion code” link on the first page, you can enter it during the application process later on. You’ll see two free months credit appear at that point.

  20. Quick question – How long will the PIZZAINMOTION code work? I’m thinking of delaying my free two month trial. By when do we need to register for it? Thanks, Ed.

  21. Ed,
    Thanks for offering this very innovative service & one that might prove very useful. I’ll definitely be trying the 2 free months as leaving for Sweden next week & also have more travel in August. My travel tip is one I borrowed from Peter Greenberg years ago: never take no from someone not empowered to say yes. Just today, my friend used that to get the Platinum Challenge from AA. She didn’t get any written offer but told her to call & ask, and to keep trying until she reached right person to grant her request. A few calls later, done deal & is she is quite happy, as the challenge is an easy one: our RT SFO-GOT flight next week qualifies!

  22. Who and how are they staffing this? Who is doing the research-college students, stay at home moms, work at home types, travel agents, etc.? Hope it pans out-I could use this (and so could my own Assistant).

    1. JetAway, they’re going to be using some contract employees with a lot of knowledge in the space as they grow. No service is perfect but I would expect them to have a good knowledge base.

  23. What an excellent service. Sure would have saved my daughter watching me lose my sh*t in Sorrento when we had no idea where to go or how to get there after stepping off the hydrofoil.

  24. Ed, there were a few questions about award bookings you answered earlier… It seems relatively straightforward and reasonable to research and book hotel award nights (compared with flights). Do you have any experience with them there? Specifically I’m wondering how they would get access to reward accounts since it’s more complicated than just a credit card #.

  25. I always have pop-up needs with little to no time to research the best option. For example (a weak one I agree) is about an hour ago I found out I might need to commercial out to ORD to fly a small jet back to KROC, BUT I run a company, take care of my handicapped mom, run a large Air Force Aux/CAP squadron, and am working on a 5-year plan to get my PhD – SO, I have like NO time to look in to the one-way options to optimize; this might be just the “ticket”! Thanks, Jeff.

  26. Interesting concept. We are doing a French Polynesia cruise in January and I could use some help on setting up tours on some of the islands (I am loathe to use the cruise ship’s tours).

  27. Wow. This is great. My hubby and I like to do multiple long weekends throughout the year. I’ve been having a hard time finding something for his upcoming 50th birthday trip in August we need a beach. Our town has been flooded and rainy all summer.

  28. This may come quite in handy… heading to Seychelles, Tanzania, and South Africa for my honeymoon and am having trouble sorting through options in Tanzania!

    1. Kons, I wouldn’t know where to start looking for a cabin, so you might have to give them some guidance there. But, I would imagine airbnb is mainstream enough they could research.

    1. Gabbai, they’ve begun the search for an Android dev guy and Web app is underway. If you don’t have an ios device I can look into getting you a free trial when one of the other versions is released.

  29. This is the perfect example of a start-up that makes you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!!” I look forward to trying it out because I have a habit of misguiding others during travels. Like for example, deciding “Salt Works” would be an excellent place for dinner, only to get there on a Saturday night to find it is not only closed, it is actually a ceramics/pottery shop! Although it sometimes leads to funny stories, it is more often wasted time and frustration! (and in that case, HUNGER!)

  30. At first I did not think I would need them for awhile as I planned most of my trip next month. Then I saw comments about help with restaurants, public transportation etc and it seems like it can save a bunch or research time. This will be great! Thanks.

  31. Hey Pizzaman!

    I love traveling so much, I started my own travel company!!! Boy oh boy, sometimes I really need an assistant, and I would love to have one free for the whole year, but I will take two months if I don’t win ;).

    I will tell you how much you and your blogger friends have helped me see the world in style for free! In turn, I am helping my friends do the same.

    I don’t really have any unique travel tips, but I will share that I am kind of dog crazy, and by learning how to say, “May I pet your dog?” in several languages, I have met lots of interesting people, and dogs! I kept running in to the same dog in Florence when I was there for a week, and it was always in a different part of the city! “Pilloo” really got around!

    I look forward to my 2 month free trial, and good luck to everyone! Happy Travels 🙂

  32. Thank you for this good news. I am eager to try them soon for my upcoming trip next year. But because it’s not until January next year, if I register for 2 months now it will be expired before that so I have to time it right, so I can use their service when I am abroad for restaurant, accommodation, and transportation.

  33. I will give this a shot, thanks.
    My travel tip: Although American SWUs can now be used on US Airways flights, there is no waitlist, so you have to keep calling back to see if the upgrade space is available, which is a huge pain. I didn’t know this when I booked PHL-LHR thinking that I could just sit on the waitlist until Business class came available. So if you have the choice between AA and US on those international flights, for the moment, I’d stick with AA.

  34. Corey – I read somewhere that right now it is best to avoid AA/US codeshare flights if possible and book flights that are one or the other for the best chance of an upgrade. I wasn’t having too many problems with domestic flights even code share though but of course international is another story. Safe travels!

  35. Hi Ed,

    Im based on the east coast of Australia and primarily use Qantas and a bit of Jetstar. I primarily stay at Accor properties in Australia and New Zealand. Is it worth me using it? I also travel to Europe and/or Asia and/or the mainland US once every 18 months or so.

    As an example of what would be really useful to me Im Platinum with QF so we will often fly JQ domestically on an international run from SYD to MEL just so that we can use the spectacular QF SYD First Class Lounge. As the JQ flight schedule changes constantly its labourious to find these domestic/international sectors. Is this something Native could assist with?

    Cheers

    Rob.

    Cheers

    Rob.

  36. Great idea- will give it a try.

    For me, the sweet spot would be travel coordination for a start up. I’m running a multi country food delivery operation so I have people flying around all over Southeast Asia. We don’t have the scale or the time to set up a multi country travel agent, but it drives me nuts when employees don’t look around to find the lowest logical fare! This way I could have one point of contact to ensure consistent implementation of a travel policy, while still having human smarts to be able to override when reasonable.

  37. I signed up and gave them my credit card, but the PIZZAINMOTION Code didn’t seem to take. Will see what happens as we could really use them on a trip to France in the fall. Hope it works out as it seems like a great idea. No funny stories, boo hoo, but I hope to win a years worth. Thanks, I really enjoy your columns.

    1. Gail, you should have a 7-day free trial plus a $50 credit for two months of service. If not, shoot me an email at ed -at- Milepoint dot com and I’ll put you in touch with someone to figure out the issue.

  38. This sounds so interesting and we certainly could use help in a trip, scheduled for spring 2016. That would be: Ecuador, Chile, Easter Island, Tahiti, Hawaii, USA. Are we too ambitious? Planning to use avios and/or Am. Airlines miles. It would indeed be helpful to have support after landing. A new place is always so confusing and the internet does not always give all the options.
    However, we have no smartphone, consequently only work through email or phone, when at home.
    This should not be problematic, I think.
    Presently we are in Europe, mostly traveling by train. At the moment, this is no fun as the summer heat has set in.
    I have my heart set on S. America, Easter ISland esp., and surely could use some help.

  39. Downloaded the app but can’t enter the promo code. It keeps crashing on me. Will try to contact them in the morning to resolve. I upgraded to iOS 8.4 today so that may be the issue.
    My tip for travelers is http://www.globalgreeternetwork.info They are a network of volunteer tour guides around the world. Nice way to get orientated in a new city.

  40. Humor story. My wife, Paula and I were walking around in Bratislava, Slovakia. Paula: I want a drink. Me: OK-We’l go into the McDonalds. She: we don’t have their money. Me: No need. I’ll use a credit card. She: Will they take a credit card? Me: Paula! It’s a McDonalds!! (And, of course they did.)

  41. Thank you for the free 2 months with Native. I signed up today- and asked for help with 4 tasks.
    Task one already done- and flight booked for November travel.
    Would love to win a full year!

  42. Crashes every time I enter the promo code – has anyone gotten it to work? I texted them about it today AM and they said they were working on it and would get back to me shortly, but I haven’t heard anything yet. Pizza, despite these challenges, it sounds promising – thanks for the promo code and good luck!

  43. Thanks for the tip! I entered the promo code on the site when signing up, but the app also requires it when starting to use the service. Unfortunately the app crashes every time I enter your code. Hope it gets fixed soon!

    I’m going on a 2-week road trip to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and am hoping to use Native for hotels and restaurants along the way.

    1. Mikko, I dug into why the app was crashing. It’s a combination of bad messaging on the site and a bug. If you’re seeing the app crash, it means you already redeemed the code. All you need to do is select a plan (monthly, to get your two free months), and you should be all set. Let me know.

  44. My travel advice is to alway keep your boarding passes until you complete your trip and your miles are credited. You never know when you will need them for IROPS or to prove you flew for a missing miles claim.

  45. Getting married, moving, switching jobs, and planning a honeymoon to Malaysia, Bali, and Palau so things are a little crazy! Good crazy but would love Native’s help!

  46. Maybe I am missing something. First I did not see the small print for entering the PIZZAINMOTION code until after I entered my information. There was no way to go backwards, the message I received said I was 1379 on the wait list for iPhone. I logged on, I need to begin planning travel to Poland this weekend, thought I would check it out if it made sense for me but I have no idea how to use the service.

  47. OK, I clicked thru for the 2 months trial, put in the promo code, downloaded the app, got a few codes to prove I was human, and entered the info. EXCEPT it asked for the promo code yet again and did not accept it. I tried 3-4 times and then deleted the app. I am less than impressed.

    1. Steve, the promo code messaging is poor but being fixed (update waiting to be approved by App Store). It sounds like you successfully entered the promo code. I know you said you already deleted the app, but if you were to download it again I’d guess you can likely login and use it.

  48. Ed – this will come in handy for our first time in the Netherlands and Italy next week. The travel options are mind blowing for someone who is inexperienced in this kind of stuff.

  49. This might come in handy for trips to ANC and AKL coming up quickly that I haven’t done much planning.

  50. Hi Ed,
    I had success at first and sent a text regarding my Alaska trip. But now there’s no way to login and when I try signing up again the app crashes. Is this a temporary issue? I imagine they have been flooded with requests! Thanks very much!

  51. Attempting to schedule some trips with a family of four, however, it’s proving to be quite a challenge. Thanks for your assistance.

  52. The code did not work for me could I have a different one? I love your website and the app but am sad that it didn’t work

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