American Airlines was the first Fortune 100 company to build a gay and lesbian sales team focusing exclusively on the LGBT community’s travel needs. Dubbed The Rainbow TeAAm, Betty Young and George Carrancho are specialists in gay and lesbian travel and they are the face of this savvy LGBT travel portal. I asked Betty a few questions about booking queer travel, vacation budgeting and her personal history with money.
1. This week, American Airlines relaunched AA.com/Rainbow as a one-stop, gay-friendly online welcome center. What types of improvements have been made to the site and how will this help LGBT travelers save money?
Actually, this isn’t a relaunch of the AA.com/Rainbow site — American Airlines is actually building on the success of our AAVacations.com site and developing a completely new LGBT dedicated travel site. AA.com/Rainbow is a fully comprehensive site and includes LGBT community events, special discounts and deals along with helpful travel tips for LGBT travelers.
2. What is your most significant memory about money?
I remember my dad paying for breakfast at restaurants and letting me keep the change. That was so exciting.
3. What is your worst habit around finances?
I used to be really bad with money. Once I spent my money and realized I needed more, I would use my credit card. Fortunately, I don’t do this any longer and I learned my lesson. As I have gotten older and wiser I have learned to budget for what I want and not to charge it.
4. Financial experts all agree that it’s better to treat a vacation like a major purchase and not something that is going to lead to a credit card hangover. Translation: plan ahead and budget for the expense. How can the microsite, AA.com/Rainbow, eliminate some of the financial stress that comes with taking time off and seeing the world?
First and most important, in addition to AA’s Lowest Fare Guarantee travelers can find and book affordable business and leisure to any of AA’s scores of destinations worldwide. If you visit AA.com/Rainbow right now, in fact, you will save money on a hotel stay with our wonderful partners at Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. They are providing a generous discount at all of their properties for visitors who book their airfare through www.aa.com/rainbow.
5. If you could buy one thing right now what would it be?
I am happy with what I have and I think that is the key to not being in debt. For example, why not be happy with the vehicle you have and don’t purchase what you can’t afford. Then maybe you will have the money to take a vacation with your partner!
6. Do you agree with the proverbial saying that time is money? How does this apply to booking travel?
In airline travel, time literally is money. By booking as early as possible, finding smart deals and sales through our site, and researching outstanding destinations that offer value for the time of year you wish to travel — all of those are ways to travel when you can most afford it. Our tip is to be flexible, stay alert and by all means, come to our site to shop and enjoy the possibilities.
7. Who taught you the value of a dollar?
I had to learn that on my own. Once I got a job, paid off my debts and then I finally learned how to spend money only when I actually had it!
8. Do you and your partner see eye-to-eye on money?
Yes, we both love to travel and agree that we want to keep our debt down. Since we don’t have much debt we are able to pay cash for all our vacations and great trips like Olivia cruises.
9. Which is more important: how much money you make or how you spend it?
No question — it’s how you spend it.
10. Does money buy happiness?
No, but it sure makes life easier, and having two kids as we do certainly can be costly — but well worth it.
Nina’s self-serving bonus question: The only thing better than my AAdvantage Platinum elite status is the day I finally make Executive Platinum. Any chance you could pull a few strings inside American Airlines and make this happen sooner? Or would this be considered queer nepotism?
I would love to commit “queer nepotism”, it just sounds fun. However, everyone must actually travel and earn Executive Platinum. If we “bumped up” our travelers to Executive Platinum it would dilute the value of it.
More about Betty Young
As National Sales & Marketing Manager-LGBT Community, Betty Young is member of American Airlines’ unique two-person Rainbow TeAAm which focuses on marketing and outreach for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community.
Young and her colleague, George Carrancho, work closely with national and local LGBT organizations and businesses, ensuring that American Airlines remains the premier airline of choice for LGBT travelers worldwide. During her 17 years with AA, Young has served in a variety of marketing positions, interacting with many of AA’s top travel clients.
Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.