New parent for Long Island travel-data ‘Expert’

Founding Flyer: Co-founder and President Chris Lopinto plans to stay the course at ExpertFlyer, which has been acquired by a South Carolina-based analytics firm.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

A data-science and analytics company has added an original Long Island dotcom to its long list of assets.

Red Ventures, a South Carolina-based operator of websites including the popular travel site The Points Guy, has acquired Patchogue-based Expert Travel Services LLC (dba ExpertFlyer), a circa-2005 startup focused on flight data and loyalty programs.

ExpertFlyer was created by a group of frequent flyers from Long Island, including IT expert Chris Lopinto; his father, John Lopinto, an experienced electronics-manufacturing entrepreneur; and Joseph Lopinto, Chris’ uncle, a longtime pilot for Continental Airlines. Their mission: to enhance the travel experience by providing access to in-depth information to individual travelers.

The subscription-based startup made a name providing direct access to schedules, award-program availability and upgrade alerts – what Chris Lopinto, the company president and the first-ever “mentor in residence” at the Hofstra University Center for Entrepreneurship, described as “back-end, behind-the-scenes flight data,” combined with add-ons such as live seat maps.

The acquisition presents “enormous benefit(s) for ExpertFlyer customers,” according to a company statement, with ExpertFlyer.com dipping into Red Ventures’ “deep experiences and resources” to add a host of new bells and whistles.

Brian Kelly: Talking Points.

Up first: a redesigned user interface providing easier and expended access to airline and flight information.

“We will continue to run the ExpertFlyer service as it is currently,” Lopinto said Wednesday, adding the acquisition will allow the new Red Ventures subsidiary to “expand and grow in ways we could not have before on our own.”

ExpertFlyer aggregates data from multiple “global distribution systems,” including one of the industry’s oldest: American Airlines Group’s Sabre Reservation System, which the carrier has been using to manage flight data since the 1950s.

Among the aggregator’ most popular features: a real-time “seat alerts” tool and an “award & upgrade” function that instantly lists all open awards-friendly seats across all airlines.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. But Brian Kelly, founder of The Points Guy (also a Red Ventures subsidiary), was enthusiastic about applying ExpertFlyer’s data-driven expertise to the TPG process.

“The new partnership will allow TPG to create more data-powered posts to help our customers book the airline travel awards they want,” Kelly said in a statement. “We’ve met with the ExpertFlyer team to begin exploring the amazing things we can do by combining the redemption data of ExpertFlyer with the earning and maximization techniques of The Points Guy.

“It’s a perfect match.”


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