Monthly Archives

Monthly Archives for July 2008.

Delta Miles for Free Hair Loss Consultation

Through August 25th you can receive 20,000 Delta miles for a free hair restoration consultation. If you actually graft (the minimum required amount of) hair onto your head that’s another 150,000 miles. But the consultation is free, and over at Flyertalk there are reports of folks with full heads of hair getting the consultation done in 10 minutes without pushback (“I have lots of hair but a family history of hair loss, I’m worried and thought I’d should talk to someone early.”).

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Delta Second Checked Bags Will Be $50

Joe Sharkey points out Delta’s announcement that they’re doubling the fee for domestic second bags to $50. Gee, maybe they’d make even more money if they increased the checked bag fee to $1 million. These changes will apply to customers who purchase a ticket on or after July 31, 2008, for travel on or after Aug. 5, 2008.

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OpenSkies Kills Coach to Expand “Prem+” Cabin

OpenSkies, which announced plans to fly between New York-JFK and Amsterdam in addition to its Paris-Orly launch destination, is now planning to remove all its (30) coach seats. This makes it exclusively a premium class carrier — pulling 30 seats in back in favor of 12 additional “Prem+” seats which are akin to previous generation business class seats still being flown across the Atlantic by Delta (and others). Of course, their business class product is similar to the big brother British Airways’ ‘next generation club world’ lay flat seats. Every Friday, Flyertalk is giving away Prem+ tickets. Two OpenSkies inaugural flight trip reports can be found here. Personally I’m in favor of anything that increases international premium class lift. More supply pushes down price and make it more accessible, including spreading out demand and freeing…

Continue Reading » New Frequent Guest Program

Loyalty Traveler outlines the new rewards program called Welcome Rewards. Basically one free night up to $400 for every 10 nights booked at an eligible property (each of wihch must be at a rate of at least $40). That’s pretty good value for folks who aren’t brand loyal. In most cases you give up in-hotel points-earning in a hotel’s own program for the rate booked at So these can be either-or, program OR Starwood points/stay credit. Folks coveting elite status for the upgrades won’t find this useful. But if you bounce around chains, you may see a free room night more quickly via than from your various hotel loyalty programs. And you can chase the best rate, independent of brand loyalty now. Loyalty to the booking site matters under this program,…

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More on Delta’s 3-Tiered Award Pricing

Jeff Robertson of Delta’s Skymiles program had this to say on Flyertalk about the coming introduction of three-tiered award pricing in the near future: We are finalizing all of the technology testing right now around the new award structure, and although we’ve had a few hiccups, it appears to be on target for an early September soft-launch. We also intend to announce the new award structure and award levels in the next 10-14 days, which will include three different levels based on availability. The first lowest level will be similar to the Saver awards today, the second tier will be expanded availability (varies by market but generally around 50% of all available seats systemwide), and a last seat availability level that goes back to “last seat on the plane.” American, United, Continental and Alaska have…

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Alaska Increases Award Prices and Introduces Partner Fees

Following on recent minor cuts from the Alaska Airlines frequent flyer program (here and here, and admittedly most would find them minor..) Alaska has announced some pretty significant changes to their Mileage Plan program effective November 1. Here’s the bad news: Domestic coach awards will now cost 25,000 miles, even when booked online. The old award was 20,000 miles, which they recently limited to those awards booked online. Now at 25,000 miles they’re just like everyone else, no longer special. Unrestricted awards and first class awards get more expensive. Unrestricted coach is 55,000 miles! Unrestricted domestic first class is now 100,000 miles! Partner award fee. $25 to book on one of their many partners, they learned this trick from Delta. It stinks, but I can live with it, the Alaska partner desk really is helpful…

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Garuda Indonesia to Join Skyteam Down the Road?

This is hardly a done deal. In fact, I’d be surprised if it actually happens. But apparently Korean Air is supporting Garuda Indonesia’s bid to join Skyteam. Garuda is banned from flying to the EU (Indonesian carriers in general are said to have questionable safety standards, though I recognitze that some of these decisions are made for show or other political reasons and may not reflect current safety issues — it’s surprising, for instance, that Ariana Afghan Airways is allowed to fly anywhere .. but then they benefit from US pressure. At least Garuda would give Skyteam members an additional option to Bali and Jakarta, since Continental Micronesia s pulling out of the former.

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Free Blue Plus status and 4500 miles for new bmi members

bmi keeps cycling their offers for new members to join, this one has been around awhile but is pretty good, Blue Plus status and 4500 miles just for joining. Blue Plus doesn’t benefit you meaningfully on bmi’s partners, but actually flying bmi you get lounge access and you don’t pay for buy on board meals. Plus free miles are nice in a program that (a) doesn’t filter out Star Alliance partner award availability like United does, (b) has a lovely cash and points award chart which lets miles go a long way, (c) permits one-way awards, and (d) still gives 600 miles minimum per segment (so it’s where I credit my shorthaul United and US Airways flights).

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Best Rate Guarantee Doesn’t Always Mean the Best Rate, or Every Day

The Best Rate Guarantee blog writes the up changes to the TripRewards Best Rate Guarantee program. Some are reasonable, some less so, though naturally none make the program stronger for consumers trying to use it. As many here know, the Best Rate Guarantee program by TripRewards (now Wyndham yadda yadda) has been the strongest among the hotel chains. Find a lower rate, get a night free at the property, and not too many hassles involved. Now they say the lower rate needs to be at least 25 cents less (no more $69.99 rates beating their $70 price). Fair enough, but it was a good trick for sure! The rooms are now non-transferrable. Perfectly fair. But they’ll now limit you to one a month (of course if you travel with a spouse or friend it amounts…

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A New Aircraft for a Classless Workers Paradise

Via North Korea Econ Watch, here are photos of Air Koryo’s new Tupolov 204. Beijing wouldn’t let the old Russian clunkers land, so they insisted on new Russian clunkers. Nice to see China acting as aviation safety regulator given (ironically for a nominally communist state) their market power over Pyongyang. I especially cherish the photo of Air Koryo’s business class cabin while the back of the plane disembarks.

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