Monthly Archives

Monthly Archives for August 2005.

Double Miles for Northwest Flights

Aug 31 2005

Northwest is offering double miles (which also count towards status) on Northwest and KLM through October 9th. Registration is required. They say the offer is intended to match a similar one from United, which leads me to ask what double miles offer from United? I haven’t seen one. I can’t find one on the United website. And as far as I can tell it hasn’t been mentioned on, which is as close as one can come to saying it doesn’t exist. Maybe their corporate espionage folks knew about one coming down the pike? Here’s hoping…

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Going Airside When Not Traveling

If you need to accompany a passenger to their gate but aren’t traveling that day, airlines have differing rules in place for issuing passes to get past security checkpoints. If you run into trouble, though, just buy a fully refundable ticket then check in and go through security… and refund the ticket. You can do this to go airside any time you want. It’s never been clear to me how prohiting non-traveling passengers airside helps with security, terrorists can certainly buy tickets. I’ve always assumed it was to reduce TSA workload by reducing the number of people going through checkpoints. It’s an instance where customers are inconvenienced rather than addressing poor TSA procedures and staffing issues.

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Best United Visa offer yet?

Aug 28 2005

I’ve seen 15,000 bonus miles with first purchase and annual fee waived for the first year. And I’ve seen 20,000 miles with first purchase but there’s an annual fee right away. This is the first time I’ve seen 20,000 bonus miles with first purchase and fee waived the first year. In general I haven’t seen too many problems getting the signup bonus credited or having the fee waived — but it’s still a good idea to print the offer page (which mentions the bonus miles) and print the terms and conditions page (which mentions no fee the first year) just in case there’s any confusion later.

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Free Annual Credit Report live for the East Coast

Each of the three major credit reporting agencies are obligated to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once a year. This has been phased in, with the East Coast not scheduled to go live at until September 1. It’s live a few days early. Unless you’re buying a house or doing major credit repair work — in other words, if you’re just monitoring — the best strategy is to request one report each every 4 months rather than requesting all 3 at once. Details are available from the Federal Trade Commission.

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Diners Club.. the choice for CIA covert ops

The nineteen alleged CIA offers with arrest warrants in Italy apparently prefer Diners Club for charging up the high life. Still, what seemed most striking about the group was not their names but their credit cards, on which they charged over $150,000 for fancy meals and rooms at some of Milan’s finest ristoranti and hotels. Among them, the U.S. spies held a total of 10 Visa cards (no surprise there) but no MasterCards and, strangely, six Diners Club cards. Although Diners Club boasts of being the original charge card (its debut, with much fanfare, was way back in 1950), the ailing brand now claims less than 1 percent of the U.S. market. So why do the CIA’ s spooks prefer Diners Club? Do they get bonus points? Free eavesdropping gear? The CIA and Diners Club…

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Why not hire two caterers?

One area of aviation that I’m not too familiar with is the process of airline catering. In light of the catering strike at Heathrow that crippled British Airways, Lynne Kiesling asks why airlines don’t hire multiple caterers. If the pricing/reliability benefits outweigh the economies of scale, they should be willing to hire different caterers. They can have them specialize in different terminals, or hire one caterer to do meals for flights to Asia, one for Middle East, one for Europe and US, etc. Then, even if you are still facing a duopoly, at least you contract with both of them and you increase your probability of getting a Bertrand outcome. Either I’m missing something, or they’re not thinking very strategically. Which is it? Maybe someone who knows more about airline catering than I do can…

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Go Guard!

Free iTunes for Financial Literacy
Aug 23 2005

The Army National Guard is giving away iTunes downloads. But if you give them a real phone number they might call you.

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Can e-mail help a city retain air service?

Will Hickory, North Carolina’s airport go the way of MidAmerica Airport, St. Louis’ supposed second airport? Not if the Hickory City Council has their way, they’re starting up an email campaign and visiting businesses trying to get them to use their local airport. Delta’s regional partner Atlantic Southeast services Hickory and load factors have hovered around just 40%. Delta is considering pulling service. The City Council thinks people just need to realize how great the airport is — free parking, short checkin lines, and close to home for Hickory residents. Sure it’s a little more expensive, but generally not more than $100 than flying out of Charlotte. Residents just need to understand the benefits of their home airport, of course, so the city is going to try a metaphorical “grand re-opening.” [Sarcasm]Naturally, it’s the consumers…

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