We've often praisedTripIt, an itinerary-builder that allows you to easily forward your travel confirmation e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org and compiles that research into a single, shareable itinerary, complete with weather forecasts, maps, and restaurant recommendations.
Starting tomorrow (Wednesday), TripIt will debut its latest creation, TripIt Pro, a membership-based service that offers extra tools on top of its free online organizer. Company co-founder Scott Hintz walked me through some of the new features.
1. Mobile alerts: the website will automatically send alerts to your cell phone for all the airlines on your itineraries. This will come in handy if you fly on multiple carriers and forget to register for text-message alerts with the individual airlines.
2. Alternate flights: If your flight is delayed or canceled, the text-message alert will also include a link to other airlines with flights that are leaving around the same time as your original departure. (You'll need a web-enabled phone or browser to access the link.) TripIt Pro only shows flights with available seats and also lists a rebooking phone number. Though you'll still have to negotiate with the airline agent for the actual rebooking, Hintz says, "Equipping you with the info is powerful. You can say, 'I want to get that Delta flight that's leaving in 30 minutes' instead of asking, 'When's the next flight out?'"
3. Point tracking: your TripIt Pro account shows all of your recent activity for every air/hotel awards program, as well as all the expiration dates. So now you can have Hyatt and United Airlines points showing up on the same screen.
You can try the service free for the first 30 days. If you register by July 31, you'll become a lifetime charter member for $49 per year. Otherwise the service will cost $99 per year.