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The Business Traveler North America Award Winners 2023: Auto, Credit Cards, Cruises, Luggage

December 1, 2023

Best Car Service

Blacklane

Blacklane / Photo: Courtesy of Blacklane

Chauffeur company Blacklane offers intercity rides and airport transfers at key locations across the country. Blacklane operates in more than 60 countries, with core values including reliability and customer care. In the U.S. alone, Blacklane has established centers in almost 80 cities, offering travelers automobiles such as the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series.

Blacklane also provides an Electric Class car service, with a goal of making 15 percent of all rides emission-free. But whichever type of vehicle a customer chooses, the company offsets with an emissions program.

A spokesman for the firm said: “Blacklane has reinvented ride services by connecting travelers with a crew of chauffeurs. Our vision of the future of travel is seamless, sustainable and ethical.”

Best Car Rental Company

Sixt

Sixt / Photo: Courtesy of Sixt

For a second consecutive year, premium mobility provider Sixt has been named Best Car Rental Company. Key elements in its victory included the brand’s access to 24/7 customer service, attractive weekly rates, and roadside assistance in North America. Sixt also offers customers a large premium fleet. Twelve years since it expanded, Sixt now has more than 100 rental stations in a country regarded as its most important growth market. Globally, the company offers more than 2,200 rental locations and a presence in more than 105 countries.

In October, Sixt announced a three-year sponsorship partnership with the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as a similar deal with the Chicago Bulls. It marked the first time Sixt had partnered with professional sports teams in the U.S.

Best Credit Card Rewards Program

American Express Membership Rewards

American Express Membership Rewards / Photo: Courtesy of American Express

The Membership Rewards program offers the ability to customize rewards based on preferences, whether it be for travel, online shopping or managing account balances. There is no limit to the number of points that can be earned, and they never expire. The more frequently the card is used, the more rewarding the program becomes.

The number of points varies by card type: Rewards, Frequent Flyer, or Platinum.

Points can be earned for everyday expenses, including groceries, restaurants, travel, gas and more. Users can earn up to 200,000 bonus points annually by successfully referring friends to the program.

Best Overall Credit Card

American Express Platinum

American Express Platinum / Photo: Courtesy of American Express

This card is the perfect choice for business travelers who seek exceptional features and unparalleled luxury travel experiences. With unlimited access to more than 1,400 airport lounges worldwide, including the Centurion Lounge and Priority Pass network, this card ensures that you travel in utmost comfort and style.

Cardholders have access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, including complimentary suite upgrades and late checkouts.

Elevating hotel status is easy with this card, offering free elite memberships to Hilton Honors or Accor Plus.

The card also provides a range of exclusive credits that save you money and enhance your travel experience, like hotel bookings, airline fees, Uber Cash, Clear Plus credit and Global Entry.

Best Luxury Cruise Line

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages / Photo: Courtesy of Virgin Voyages

As the number of luxury cruise brands edges toward 100, competition can be fierce. But Virgin Voyages seems to be nosing ahead of other cruise brands with its all-inclusive adults-only concept and its four grande dames that bring the experience to life. The latest, Resilient Lady, debuted in May, and as she returns from a lengthy inaugural, she is making a “reimagined repositioning voyage” to her homeport in Athens after sampling the sensations of Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore and Bali along the way. Meanwhile, 2024 will see the debut of Brilliant Lady, sailing the Caribbean from her hub in San Juan.

The vessels pack plenty of unusual amenities—say, a tattoo parlor, or eco-friendly retail shops. If cruising can have a hip vibe, Virgin Voyages has mastered the harmonics.

Best Boutique Cruise Line

Windstar

Windstar / Photo: Courtesy of Windstar

Across its fleet, Windstar offers a luxury boutique cruise product. Yet guests will find a casual, relaxed onboard aura. They’ll also enjoy savory dining options, high-quality enrichment programming, a pool, full-service spa, fitness center and top-notch friendly service. So, guests can just pick their passion—a majestic sailing ship or sleek motorized yacht— and set off for the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Canary Islands, South Pacific, Canada/New England or beyond.

The 342-passenger Wind Surf, the five-masted flagship, is quite the head turner. So are the four-masted, 148-passenger Wind Star and Wind Spirit. While all are also motorized, guests love the look and feel of the yachts with their sails unfurled. If desired, guests can even help hoist those sails.

Best Luggage Brand

Tumi

Tumi / Photo: Courtesy of Tumi

For anyone who loves to embrace their inner nerd while exploring the construction of luggage, Tumi is the ideal brand—also because everyone involved in the craft of a Tumi suitcase feels the same. If you want to do a deep dive into the brand’s proprietary FXT Ballistic Nylon, the Tumi team will engage in that conversation.

In the rare instance that a suitcase might emerge on a baggage carousel with a broken wheel, a Tumi owner knows this isn’t a piece to be thrown away, but instead will be fixed promptly, thanks to its network of repair services. Of course, any fan of Tumi’s 19 Degree Aluminum luggage will tell you the chief reason: It’s the coolest case rolling through any airport.