Today we welcome a new member of the Delta Points team. Say hello to Tamara!

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Delta Points has been growing fast from our 1000+ daily e-mail subscribers to our many daily visitors to the blog. I am so enjoying being a part of your daily travel life and I hope to keep bringing you tips to make your travels better, especially your Delta travels.

But I don’t have all the answers! So I want to introduce, Tamara, a new member of the Delta Points team. She is a good friend and a travel agent by day. She will be contributing guest posts to the blog twice a month. I look forward to her insight on travel as an industry insider. Now and then we will have a Q & A where readers can submit questions to her and learn from her experience.

To “say hello” to Tamara, I thought I’d have an afternoon chat so we can all get to know her a bit better.

A warm welcome to the Delta Points team Tamara!

Hi, Delta Points! I am one on those 1000 + subscribers and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to now be joining such a fun and informative forum.

Let me start by asking you how long have you been a travel agent and why and how did you become a travel agent?

I’ve been in the travel industry for over 28 years now. One of my first jobs was as an accountant in a travel agency. The owner was so impressed with the way I interacted with our accounts and clientele that she offered to pay for my training if I would change positions and become a travel agent instead! I already knew I loved the adventure of travel as well as working with the general public, so it was a perfect fit.

What changes in travel industry has surprised you the most over the past 10 years?

The most shocking was when the airlines stopped paying travel agents commissions and started charging them to help our clients try to save money. Most recently the baggage charges that differ from carrier to carrier continues to be a real sore spot for the traveler and agent alike. The new interline charge for checked baggage means the traveler could be double charged for baggage when they switch carriers on the same itinerary. Carriers are not required to recognize exemptions in this case due to frequent flyer status or loyalty card memberships.

Wow, great info to know. Next question, why use a travel agent (we do have a lot of points you know)?

Points are awesome, but knowledge is power. An experienced travel agent is a wealth of valuable information. We are trained and well traveled, we can tell you what properties are better for your needs, what sights are a must see or which local restaurants are well kept secrets. Did you know some travel insurance policies not only cover your trip but also come with free concierge services that will assist you with scheduling tee times or getting concert tickets? We can help with currency, arrange private dinners, plan destination weddings, arrange limo service, sightseeing, balloon rides and cooking classes. Also we take the time to talk to our clients after they return from a trip, so we learn what made that trip fantastic or help resolve issues that caused them stress. If you are purchasing a cruise or package through your travel agent, chances are the travel agent’s services are free of charge, so why not use a travel agent is the question? I know you guys like free …right?!

How great! Yes, we like free. But can travel agents get better deals than we can and on what?

If you are getting a trip with points… it doesn’t really get any better than that! However, if you do not have enough points and you are flexible in your options we can notify you of the great specials we receive on a daily basis to the destinations you are interested in. There are also some nice deals and perks in group travel!

That sounds good. Plus, if you find a deal, we could use points to get there too! Let me ask you this, who is easiest to work with – airlines, hotels or cruse lines?

Certain cruise lines are extremely dedicated to the travel agent as well as the consumer. For example, I have a wonderful client who has severe food and detergent allergies. We use a cruise line that special orders specific food brands she requests, cooks her food separately from other guests and does a special rinse of her bath towels for her voyage at no additional cost to her.

What insights do you hope to bring to Delta Points readers?

Traveling details and insights on hot new destinations, pros and cons of types of travel, and fun ideas on where to stay and how to play once you have used your points to arrive!

I LOVE this Tamara – how fun! Thank you for taking the time to have this afternoon chat with me and Delta Points readers. I can not wait to learn from your years of travel knowledge and I am sure Delta Points readers will feel the same way.

You are so welcome. Thank you for allowing me to be part of such an awesome team!

I hope you all enjoy Tamara’s posts from time to time. Feel free to let her know what you think and if you have any questions you have always wanted to ask a travel agent and we will work them in next month to her post! Thanks everyone for reading the blog online or via e-mail subscription or on your phone. I hope you all have a great weekend! – René


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