Bits ‘n Pieces for September 21, 2012

News and Notes from Around the Interweb:

  • Lucky reports that British Airways Avios has stopped adding fuel surcharges to award redemptions on Air Berlin which flies New York, Miami, and Los Angeles to Berlin as well as Ft. Myers, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, New York and Vancouver to Dusseldorf. Great cheap way across the Atlantic using British Airways points.

  • Frequent Miler Highlights the MyVanilla Pin-based debit card that’s now available for online ordering. You can use this card instead of an American Express gift card to earn 5 miles per dollar on all of your spending. As a debit card, you can use it to pay taxes at a very small fee. As a pin-based debit card, you should be able to use it to purchase postal money orders (which you deposit in your checking account) as well. The fees for using this card though are higher than using an Amex gift card.

  • Wandering Aramean covers changes to Air Canada’s elite program for 2013.

  • JetBlue won’t charge for wireless internet as they ramp up service, though pricing may go into effect once the service has been installed in 30 planes. At the Phoenix International Aviation Symposium back in March I predicted that inflight wifi will eventually be offered for free.

  • Washington, DC is trying to ban the on-demand Uber car service app by requiring printed receipts (Uber emails your receipt) forbidding any company that owns fewer than 20 cars to operate inside the District (not very small business friendly generally, but Uber doesn’t own its own vehicles). DC’s incumbent taxi drivers have been big supporters of the DC mayor, and a DC Council staff member even went to prison for accepting bribes from them. Unsurprising they want to keep out competition, without even the pretense that any actual consumers have been harmed by Uber (as opposed to really really massively benefiting..).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. I see inflight wifi being free for elites, eventually, but not for the masses; captive audience hungry for internet access = money in the airlines’ pockets. If they drop the price to $5 for a flight they’d have a majority of the travelers buying in, no way they turn down some extra dollars.

  2. The same crooks in DC who aim to permits rent seeking cabbies to exclude competitors are the same ones who kvetch about “no taxation without representation” to the point that it is on their license plates . . . . but continuously lobby Congress for the ability to tax the incomes of locally unrepresented Marylanders and Virginians who work in DC. Shame on all of them.

  3. @Travel Lover: Yes in principle; you could do that with the Vanilla prepaid Amex too. In practise people using the prepaid Amex primarily for large ATM withdrawals tend to find their accounts closed, and it would surprise me if the MyVanilla visa were very different in this respect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *