TRAVEL / FREQUENT FLYER TIPS
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Archive for the ‘Air’ Category
Highlights of the agreement include:
- A fully integrated joint venture that will operate on a “metal neutral” basis with both airlines sharing the costs and revenues from all joint venture flights.
- A combined trans-Atlantic network between the United Kingdom and North America with 31 peak-day round-trip flights.
- Enhanced benefits for customers including cooperation on services between New York and London, with a combined total of nine daily round-trip flights from London- Heathrow to John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.
- Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.
- Shared access to Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse airport lounges for elite passengers.
This means that your Delta SkyMiles should become a bit more valuable in the near future (well, unless this major devaluation comes to pass). Redemptions on Virgin Atlantic would be amazing, considering that many feel that the SkyTeam network doesn’t provide for the best partner redemption opportunities – especially in Business Class.
I’m currently seeing flights all winter long (excluding Xmas) from NYC and other North American cities to Tel Aviv, Israel from a mind-boggling low $348 all-in. Yes, all taxes and fees.
Link – Airfare Search
This one will be gone QUICK so get in there now if you need a flight to TLV!
**UPDATE – This fare is now gone. It lasted less than half a day**
Click here for the survey results
What do you think? I personally have the most experience using AA, United, Delta, and US Air and the survey mimics my own experience.
Sure, Delta lets you use miles at higher tiers, but availability at the “standard” level is routinely terrible in my experience. I can usually find between zero and a few days in a month that I can use “low” awards – which is my benchmark for a successful redemption. I’m not redeeming 325,000 miles for a business class seat NYC-London! Of the programs, I’ve had the most luck getting what I wanted (or near it) using my AA miles.
Good news and bad news.
1) In another step towards integration of AA and BA (within their joint venture), you can now book BA flights with AA miles on aa.com. This is great for avoiding a phone call to check for availability of same.
2) The bad news: the taxes/fees are outrageous. A direct flight from NY to London in business class come out to the standard 100,000 miles but with $967.40 in fees! I priced a similar trip to LHR on AA aircraft and got only $281.50.
What is in the water over at BA?! These fuel surcharges (or YQ as we call it) have gotten beyond out of hand. Charging nearly a grand in fees on an award ticket is just a wee bit too far in “cost recovery”. Shame on you, BA.
The answer is “probably” if you follow a recent post on FlyerTalk that’s gotten over 16,000 views in just one day.
The jist of it is that it would become a revenue-based program (as opposed to the miles-based programs that are the norm). To see an example of a revenue based FF program, you can check out the likes of Virgin America’s Elevate. You earn based on what you spend, not on how far you travel.
Why is this bad for all but the highest spending business travelers?
Because tying everything to spend just takes the “game” out of it. Right now, a Delta Platinum elite could fly one round trip New York to Tokyo and earn 28,000 miles. 4 such round trips would set that traveler up for a free business class trip to Europe or, with just a few more miles, a free business class trip to Asia or the Middle East. Let’s say each round trip to Tokyo in coach cost $1,500. So after $6,000 in spend, they now have a free round trip in Business Class probably valued at about $6,000.
This is just one reason the legacy carriers hate the miles based programs. Other reasons include “mileage runners” that seek low fares on long routes with multiple stops just to collect miles.
OK, so we see why the airlines might want to move to the RBP (revenue based program).
But what are some arguments against it?
Only the highest spenders will get any real reward from such a program. If you are a HVC (high value customer), you will probably be one of the few to like this as less people compete for ward travel. So while an airline definitely wants its HVCs happy, what about the collective of EVERYONE ELSE?
Will the customer that spends $5,000 to $10,000 a year that used to get maybe a free J class ticket a year and will now get basically nothing continue to stay loyal to any particular airline? Will these customers even bother with using a frequent flyer program at all? (thus depriving the airline of valuable marketing data). I think it’s fine for the small carriers like Virgin America with limited routes, but the mileage based program is the norm worldwide and all the airlines are in alliances where members can earn and redeem miles across the network. (The three alliances are OneWorld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance.)
It remains to be seen how Delta using a different method would mesh into its SkyTeam network – and if other US airlines would follow (essentially killing the great premium class redemptions we’ve all gotten used to aspiring to).
How do you feel about this potential change? How would it affect your flying habits? Would you just go for the cheapest carrier and forget about the frequent flyer programs altogether?
This morning I was greeting in my email inbox with a message from American Airlines notifying me of their Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Now, I fly AA a lot and have considerable AAdvantage miles banked. What was my initial reaction?
You see, the other US-based legacy carriers have all already done this. It will allow them to unburden themselves of unviable union contracts that have kept them from having the money to spend on things like new and refurbished planes needed to compete with European and Asian carriers that offer far superior business class products on long haul flights – and even to refurbish domestic planes with things like WiFi and In Seat Entertainment that people have started to expect with the likes of Jet Blue offering it on every flight.
FOX wrote a piece on this filing that sums it up pretty well: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2011/11/29/what-every-passenger-should-know-about-american-airlines-filing-for-bankruptcy/
What about your miles? They are *most likely* very safe. The AAdvantage program is what keeps high paying customers loyal to AA and even if the company were acquired, not honoring the miles would alienate the customers the buyer would covet most. In past takeovers (not that we know a takeover will happen here), miles and statuses have been safe. Like when American took over TWA a couple of decades ago and AA turned those miles into AAdvantage miles.
Sure, flying AA near term might be a bit less fun as employees will be hurt by the filing and morale will sink – but long term, this should be a positive thing for AA;s frequent (and infrequent) flyers.
As of Nov 2nd, we have the following offer:
- Earn 30,000 bonus miles when you spend $500 in your first 3 months of cardmembership
- No annual fee for your first year of Card membership; $95 thereafter
And if you use the HotelMagician.com link as indicated, you’ll also get a $20 Amazon.com gift certificate after you are approved.
Follow this link to get the offer: Delta Gold American Express card: 30,000 Bonus Miles
In honor of all those who serve, through Veterans Day, Nov. 11th, AAdvantage® members will be rewarded 15 miles instead of 10 for each dollar donated through American’s Miles In Support of All Who Serve campaign, which supports USO programs and services to support the morale, welfare, social and entertainment needs of troops and their families, free of charge.
If you’re trying to beat the Dec 1 change to the American Airlines Million Miler program, this would be a nice boost for a good cause.
If you haven’t been following, you have until December 1st for miles from all sources to count in attaining Million Miler status – AAdvantage Gold status for the life of the AAdvantage program.
Until Dec 1st, miles from all sources, including credit card spending, could towards the 1,000,000 lifetime miles needed to qualify. Any flying bonuses also count.
After Dec 1st, miles that could will be actual BIS (butt-in-seat) miles only – with the one exception of the Citi Executive AAdvantage Visa credit card. ($450 annual fee).
Are you close??
Here’s the link to enroll with Delta (you CANNOT do this if you don’t register and wait a day or so for it to appear in your account with Delta):
These can be from your own MR account or from a friend’s although they say it needs to be your own account. Experience, including my own, is that these will post nearly instantaneously.
Once you register, you’ll earn a 50% mileage bonus on all the Membership Rewards® points you transfer into your SkyMiles account by December 15, 2010.
And if you transfer 50,000 points or more, you’ll also receive 25,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs). That’s enough to give you Medallion status and benefits like waived baggage fees, unlimited upgrades, preferred seating, and more.
Not a SkyMiles member? Enroll now, it’s fast and free.
Terms and Conditions for the Membership Rewards® program apply. Visit membershiprewards.com/terms or call 1-800-AXP-EARN (297-3276) for more information. Participating partners and available rewards are subject to change without notice. To modify your receipt of valuable offers from American Express, please visit americanexpress.com/choice.
Terms & Conditions
To participate in this offer, eligible members must register online at delta.com/gofarther. If you are not yet a SkyMiles member, enroll now or call 1-800-323-2323. Offer available to U.S. residents only. This offer is non-transferable and is only eligible for the SkyMiles member receiving this communication directly from Delta Air Lines.
Point Transfer Details:
Membership Rewards program enrollees will receive one mile for every eligible Membership Rewards point transferred. Allow up to 1 to 2 business days for Membership Rewards points to be transferred to your SkyMiles account. Transferred points cannot be transferred back to the Cardmember’s Membership Rewards program account. Cardmembers must transfer a minimum of 1,000 Membership Rewards points per transfer. There is no limit on the number of transfers.
Bonus Award Information:
Members will receive a 50% mileage bonus on all miles transferred from the date you register through December 15, 2010. Bonus miles will be posted 4 to 6 weeks following the end of the promotion. Members will also receive 25,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) toward Medallion status when you register for the promotion and transfer 50,000 points or more from the date you register through December 15, 2010. MQMs will be awarded to qualifying members within 4 weeks of the end of the promotion. MQM bonus limited to one time per registered member during the promotional period. May not be combined with any other Membership Rewards offers between October 4 and December 15, 2010.
Preferred Seating and Medallion Complimentary Upgrades are subject to availability and may not be available on all flights or in all markets. Complimentary Upgrades for Economy Award reservations and Pay with Miles will be upgraded to First Class beginning at the eligible Medallion tier window based on availability. Excess, oversize, and/or overweight baggage fees may apply.
Taxes and Fees:
Enrollment in SkyMiles is required. Airline tickets are subject to availability. For each conversion of points into the SkyMiles program, a fee of $0.0006 per point, with a maximum fee of $99, will be charged to your Card account. We charge this fee to offset the federal excise tax we must pay on such conversions. The fee may be more or less than the actual amount of the excise tax we pay on any individual conversion. We may offer you the option to redeem points to pay this fee.
All SkyMiles program rules apply to SkyMiles program membership, miles, offers, mile accrual, mile redemption and travel benefits, respectively. To review the rules, please visit Membership Guide & Program Rules. Taxes (and if applicable, fees) for Award Travel are the responsibility of the passenger and must be paid at the time the ticket is booked. Award Travel seats are limited and may not be available on all flights or in all markets. Stated destination count includes those served by Delta and its worldwide codeshare partners. Offers and benefits subject to change without notice. Offers void where prohibited by law. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Other restrictions may apply. Please refer Delta customer service representative to 973615; American Express Representative to R981:0002.
© 2010 Delta Air Lines, Inc.