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Travel time

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  • | 11:00 a.m. March 24, 2017
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Airline travel rewards really pay off on the Gulf Coast.

Four regions in the area placed in the top 10 in a study from financial data firm SmartAsset that analyzes the best places to travel using airline miles or travel reward points.

The study first analyzed where a traveler gets the best value by using miles or points to book a flight against paying in cash. That's the airline mile value index. The study next looked at best places to travel to for amenities and service. One factor is the percentage of employment in the leisure and hospitality industry, to show how relevant that sector is toward the local economy. Another factor is recreation centers per 1,000 residents. SmartAsset weighted the airline mile value index by two-thirds and each of the other metrics by one-sixth to generate the best places to travel with rewards points index.

The Sarasota-Bradenton area led the region, and was No. 4 statewide, with a total value of 62.07. Other areas from the region that made the top 10 include: Fort Myers, Tampa and Punta Gorda. On a national basis, Sarasota-Bradenton is ranked No. 24; Fort Myers is No. 37; Tampa is No. 39; and Punta Gorda is No. 50.

Sarasota-Bradenton scored No. 1 on the recreation index, with 26.06 ranking, followed by the Tampa area, with a 22.66 score.


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