Monthly Archives

Monthly Archives for June 2011.

Anti-aspirational awards

Loyalty Traveler extensively discusses the second least appealing development in loyalty programs, ever: the limited time ability to redeem Accor A|Club points for Motel 6 stays. The least appealing loyalty program news ever was, in my view, this. I’d sooner redeem my Aeroplan miles for an LCD toaster.

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12 Issues of Travel and Leisure for $5

For the next four days, a year of Travel & Leisure magazine is available for $5. I’m not subscribing because I don’t especially like ‘paper’ but if you enjoy magazines and travel you may be interested. Sadly, if you don’t want to pay $20 a year after your first year, you’ll need to cancel your subscription once the your $5 year is depleted.

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United’s Frequent Flyer Program Will Be Called Mileage Plus, What’s More Important is What We Still Don’t Know

United today announced what everyone already knew (or at least expected to a 98% approximation), that the surviving frequent flyer program in the United-Continental merger would be called Mileage Plus, and not Onepass. Mileage Plus was the larger program and significantly more brand value that they couldn’t walk away from. It would have been silly to create an entirely new name, as well. Lots of little details to be ironed out in the merger, and I provided an update over the weekend on much of what we know. United’s posting to Milepoint by Scott O’Leary mentions several outstanding issues still to come. Perhaps the biggest unanswered question not listed is whether the new program will engage in Starnet blocking. For those unfamiliar, this is the practice whereby Mileage Plus programmed its computers to say that…

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Star Mega DO Registration is Live, Sign up Now for the Experience of a Lifetime

Over the weekend I shared details of the upcoming Star Mega DO. Events kick off September 5 with an optional European program (and deeply discounted business and economy tickets between New York and Munich). Last year’s event featured an after-hours party in Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. The year before there was even an emergency slide popped for members of the trip. The full event begins at the Park Hyatt Chicago on Wednesday, September 7 with management of United and Hyatt. The next morning there’s a behind-the-scenes tour at O’Hare, followed by a champagne magic show in the Red Carpet Club, charter flight to Montreal for an Air Canada and Aeroplan program and a Bombardier factory tour. It’s on to Denver for a United training center tour and a charity auction for flight simulator…

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Excellent Interview with Spirit Airlines Marketing Chief

Cranky Flier has a two part interview with Spirit Airlines’ marketing chief Barry Biffle. I remember Barry as a good guy, I had drinks with him and some other frequent flyers in Crystal City years ago after he participating in an online chat with Randy Petersen back when he was at US Airways. He came over to Spirit with Ben Baldanza, I certainly have nothing against Barry though I’ve long held a grudge against Baldanza for his comments in USA Today that frequent customers who were buying the lowest fares that US Airways offered weren’t the kind of customers that they wanted. US Airways led the pack in the day with a plan to only award elite qualifying miles on full fare tickets, though the effort was aborted amidst much backlash and when the rest…

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How to Find the Cheapest Airfares, Upgrade Them, and Make Air Travel Easy

Nicholas Kralev was a diplomacy reporter for the Washington Times for several years, and flew all over the world on the newspaper’s dime — but newspapers haven’t been the most thriving businesses over the past several years, so he had to make the most of a modest travel budget. And like many readers of this blog, he doesn’t like flying coach. So he learned the ins and outs of airfares, frequent flyer programs, upgrades, bonuses, and began to think strategically and methodically as he planned out his travels. His travels also earned him a regular column in that newspaper, “On the Fly,” which was both a personal journal of his frequent flyer experiences, and a platform for offering advice to the public on how to make travel more comfortable — which frequent flyer programs were…

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Update on the Minutiae of the United-Continental Merger

Generally good piece in today’s Cleveland Plain-Dealer on United-Continental integration, focusing on the minutiae. The author goes through policy changes like crated pets being will loaded backwards, rather than forwards (score that one for United) and the switch in boarding from zones over to rows at United, to mirror Continental, and then quickly shifting back to zones – a policy that will spread across Continental going forward. On aircraft configuration, in addition to keeping economy plus and international first class on some routes but not others, she notes that the airline’s 787 orders are for two-cabin aircraft, and that the layout of their 777s are different: Nor has United said whether it will go with Continental’s wider business class seats on aircraft such as Boeing 777s used on international routes, said Henry Harteveldt, an airline…

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Free Milepoint T-Shirts and Luggage Tags Now Available

Milepoint has rolled out its award store, only nothing is for sale. “Original members” (very modest activity by May 15) can order their free original member t-shirts. There are also luggage tags and referral cards available as well. Log into Milepoint and see what’s available to you based on your activity on the site to date. Additional awards will be coming, with the best stuff coming for active contributors to the community.

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Frequent Travelers Debate the Value and Future of Miles

I was interviewed in the June issue of Inside Flyer along with a handful of others: Carol (SanDiego1K on Flyertalk), Steve Belkin (the famous ‘beaubo’), and Seth Miller (Wandering Aramean blog). A good discussion, I express my overall preference for United Mileage Plus and Hyatt Gold Passport (with an honorable mention to Starwood Preferred Guest). I admit to letting my AAdvantage miles expire in the early 90’s. And I express the controversial view (contrary to the position taken by the other three on the group) that miles have gotten more valuable rather than less valuable — despite award chart inflation, where programs continually increase the number of miles required to redeem an award. Programs are definitely more valuable than they were 10 years ago, though they may not be as valuable as they were two…

Continue Reading » Welcome Rewards Double Credits on Your First Stay

New members of’s loyalty program, Welcome Rewards, can earn double credits on their first stay (up to 4 bonus credits) through July 31 with coupon code Double12. I’ve recently joined Welcome Rewards to take advantage of the free night for a paid night offer for anyone who has stayed with three major chains during the past 18 months. But I haven’t stayed through yet, so I’m eligible for this offer. I’ll use the double credit promo first, probably, especially if I can find a 4-night stay with a hotel chain where I don’t need to earn points. That’ll get me eight credits. Then if I do a two-night stay under the free night for a paid night offer I’ll earn the free night from that promo and a second free night through the…

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