Bank of America Reporting Bonuses to IRS, and the New Best Business Class to Australia

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Virgin Australia’s new business class should debut on the Los Angeles – Sydney route in April. Even as they move from 7-across business class to 4-across on the Boeing 777, I did not realize they were actually adding business class seats to the cabin from 33 to 37. Looks like a fantastic product. Plus the cabin has a bar and lounge.

  • How to eat street food without getting sick

  • International arriving passengers at New York JFK may now have their faces scanned (of course Global Entry folks get this already).

    Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske tells WCBS-TV that the technology was implemented to help reduce human error. He says the images will be deleted unless it is determined additional enforcement action is needed.

    Initially, the readers will be used to screen passengers arriving from countries where visas are waived and to randomly check on returning U.S. citizens.

  • Bank of America issuing IRS form 1099-INT for checking account signup bonuses. That’s probably correct on the law, and strictly speaking the tax you owe the federal government has nothing to do with what a bank does or not report to the IRS. But many folks will wind up paying taxes purely because these bonuses get reported.

  • What You Need to Know About Delta’s 4th Quarter Earnings Call. Of interest to me, though things we already knew more or less:

    Sales of Delta’s Comfort Plus product increased nearly 60% for the fourth quarter, on a year-over-year basis. In the quarter, revenues from the seats totaled $125 million.

    Delta’s is selling a lot more first class seats than in 2014. For the fourth quarter, “First class upsell increased 20% driven by a six point paid load factor improvement,” President Ed Bastian said.

    Delta’s agreement with American Express produced $400 million more incremental revenue in 2015, compared to 2014.

  • United is offering some members offer to buy up status to the next level, e.g. Golds buying up to Platinum for $2499. (HT: Evan M.)

    Meanwhile James O. shares, “Thought you might get a kick out of United thinking that Silver status (which I got from being Marriott Platinum) was worth $3,400.”

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 »

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  1. Gary – Aren’t bank bonuses taxable (unlike CC signup bonuses, which aren’t)?

    Any reason not to report these? Thanks.

  2. Maybe I’m missing something, but I just searched award space for LAX-SYD on VA metal via I found 1 available seat in business over the rest of the calendar, does that jive with you are seeing as well? If so, it’s a shame that the space has dried up so much in the last 6-8 months or so.

  3. @Chim Richards – Virgin Australia availability has indeed dried up, they’re putting a new product on the route and that may be related. in the past it always went in waves — all availability there, gone, comes back. but it’s been gone longer than usual.

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