After a year of being under lockdown due to the strength of the pandemic, Americans are eager to travel again as vaccinations against COVID-19 become more readily available. The constant on-again, off-again lockdown restrictions have left people fatigued from quarantine and motivated to get out. Jeff Hurst, president of online vacation home rental site Vrbo in Austin, Texas and marketing co-lead at parent company Expedia Group said, “We’re increasingly seeing people optimistic about traveling either as soon as this spring or into the summer.” He continued, “What’s encouraging is that people are essentially putting their money where their mouth is and booking that trip.” However, what about those who are still playing catch up financially due to the effects of the pandemic? Well, that’s where ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ (BNPL) options come into play.
In the last few years more than 55% of consumers have used BNPL services. Consumers appreciate the financial flexibility that comes with ‘Buy Now Pay Later,’ leaving 85% of them with the intention to do it again. And, as of March 2021, BNPL payment options have begun to take the world by storm. Still not bought in? Well, you will be once you learn about Uplift.
Brian Barth, the founder and CEO of Uplift, has spent more than 20 years in the travel and tourism industry, proving his passion for adventure and travel. He shares with CELEB, “I’ve spent many years working in the travel industry. I love it because travel is all about making memories that last a lifetime, at Uplift we make those dreams come true. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that.”
Uplift is partnered with over 150 of the world’s best travel brands such as United Airlines, Universal Studios, Royal Caribbean and more. It allows customers to create the trip of their dreams with personalized and flexible payment options that work best for them. Barth explains, “when a customer chooses a trip, say to Bali, then we offer a number of payment plans for them to choose from. And unlike a credit card there are no late fees or early pay off fees.” He elaborates, “Our service is simple—we empower consumers to book now through their favorite travel brands, or whenever they are ready, and spread the cost of their travel over low monthly installments, rather than having to pay the entire amount up front. Uplift is simple and easy and customers can travel tomorrow.”
“The Venga bus is comin’ and everybody’s jumpin’ New York through San Fransisco … .” Just kidding, the Venga bus is out of commission unfortunately. However, travel is coming back and although we might not be hopping on an interstate disco, it still feels like a party. Many brands have done their due diligence to help customers feel safe when traveling and the wide availability of the vaccine has been a motivating factor for people to adventure again, as well.
Travel statistics shared with us by Uplift show that there has been an overall increase in bookings by 61% from Q4 of 2020 to Q1 of 2021. More people are choosing to fly to their destinations and even vacation on cruise ships again. Cruise bookings alone have seen a 35% increase since Q4 of 2020. And if you need more assurance that it’s not just you who’s eager to get out again then check out these next stats. 40% of trips booked during Q1 are planned for that same quarter (January – March). And the other majority (38%) who booked a trip during Q1 is planning to take it in Q2 (April- June). The bulk of people (83%) are flying domestic but as it becomes safer for borders to re-open, a spike in international travel is anticipated.
How It Works
Uplift has a user friendly interface, making it easy to navigate all of your trip’s finances. Because they are not a third-party booking system, as a customer you will plan your trip on their partners website (ex. Royal Caribbean) and choose “Pay Monthly” at checkout. Trips can be as low as $100 or as high as $25,000. You will go through an approval process which will give you an APR based on your credit score, transaction amount and time of travel. Partners of Uplift such as Carnival Cruise Line and Allegiant Air are currently offering 0% financing as an incentive to get people traveling again. Once you get approved you will accept the “Pay Monthly loan,” which will then allow Uplift to pay for the transaction with a virtual credit card. And then, the rest is simple. You enjoy your vacation and make your monthly payments to Uplift until it’s fully paid off.
But what if you need to cancel or change details of your trip? Like we stated before, Uplift is not a third-party booking system so any changes that you may need to make can be done based on the travel providers terms and conditions which you booked through, However, once the loan is issued, it cannot be modified.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to cancel your trip, Uplift has a typical refund policy where, if you are eligible for a refund from the travel provider that you booked through, then the process is seamless. The travel provider will issue the refund to Uplift and Uplift will apply the credit to your balance.
Book Your Next Getaway With The Most Desired Names
With over 150 partnerships with the best travel brands out there, Uplift has made traveling accessible for anyone to go anywhere in the world. We name dropped some major brands earlier which, we apologize if they knocked you off your chair. So here’s your warning to buckle up this time because we have more brands to add to that list of who you can travel through with the BNPL option that Uplift offers.
When you book your next trip with Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, Frontier, Kayak, Norwegian Cruise Line, Spirit, and Virgin you will be able to use Uplift as a “Buy Now Pay Later” option. This option not only relieves your wallet from stress but it also allows you to give yourself some upgrades that you might have been hesitant to take when you have to pay for everything up front.
And along with the brands you just read, Uplift has recently secured a partnership with Southwest Airlines. “Southwest customers are eager to fly again, and our expanding partnership with Uplift will help open up the possibilities of affordable travel to even more people, just in time for the summer vacation season and beyond,” says Jonathan Clarkson, managing director of loyalty, partnerships and products for Southwest Airlines. “Customer loyalty is extremely important to Southwest Airlines, making Uplift a great partner to help support our business objectives.”
Uplift and Southwest Vacations have been in a partnership already but they now expanded that relationship through existing payment rails already in place with Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP)—the global payment solution owned by the world’s leading airlines of which Southwest is a shareholder and Issuer. Uplift has an exclusive partnership with UATP which enables fast, secure, and cost-effective payment settlement for airlines, offering BNPL options for Southwest flights.
Uplift’s founder and CEO expressed gratitude saying, “Southwest Airlines is one of America’s most beloved airlines, with a strong brand reputation based on a spirit of freedom and empowering customers with affordable travel. For travelers who already appreciate the low fares and world-renowned hospitality that Southwest is known for, the payment flexibility of Uplift’s Buy Now, Pay Later solutions will be another addition to Southwest’s customer-friendly offerings.”
Uplift is both seamless and cost effective with the objective to make people’s lives simply better. The BNPL option comes with the obvious benefit of managing your expenses so nothing has to be paid for all at once. It also gives you the ability to save money when you book far in advance to receive lower rates. A value to BNPL that is often overlooked however is the access that travelers gain to their dream vacation. Uplift has found that people are more likely to upgrade their vacations (to first class tickets or rooms with a better view) when it only costs them $10 more a month.
For those of you still unsure of what you’re waiting for, maybe Barth can motivate you to get booking. “If I could offer a word of advice—it’s book your travel now. There are so many great deals out there just waiting to be scooped up, but like all leisure industries space is limited and it will fill up,” Barth says. “When it does, prices will go up—it’s just the nature of travel. It’s never been a better time to book a first-class trip because business travelers are not taking those seats which makes them more available and more affordable for leisure travelers. At Uplift, we have received customer feedback that folks are using our service to upgrade their inflight experience or book a larger luxury suite or Villa, we love hearing these great stories.”
Uplift has seen their biggest booking month in the history of the company in the month of March 2021 along with a 50% increase in booking for Q1 2021 opposed to Q4 of 2020. So, now that we’ve got you sold, it’s time to get started.