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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Northwest speaks up on privacy violations

Northwest violated its own privacy policies when it volunteered passenger data to the US government. It may even have violated EU privacy law, since many of the passengers likely had KLM flights on their itineraries. Their defense? Passengers don’t have a right to expect privacy (their policy notwithstanding), and violating their privacy policy was a good thing to do.Oh, but not to worry, because even though it’s important to share data with the government its current policy is to not provide “passenger name record data” to private contractors or federal government agencies for use in aviation security research projects. More coherent arguments to come, presumably…

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Overstock.com Rewards Program

Colloquy.com (free subscription required) reports that Overstock.com has introduced a loyalty program. The program costs $29.95 to join, and gives 5% cash back for purchases. Other perks include $1 shipping, a $10 credit toward their next order if they refer someone who also becomes a Club O member, and customer service agents for Club members only.

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New United Mileage Plus Members: Double Miles for 2004

United is offering double miles for all flights (on paid, published fares) in 2004 for new Mileage Plus members.Caveat, the offer says that it is targeted to recipients of the promotion, but since it’s for new members I’m not certain whether that’s true. You have to enter an email address, perhaps they have a set of email addresses on file to match the offer. But otherwise it should work. Regardless, if you’re joining Mileage Plus, it’s worth a try.

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New Amtrak Discount Code

Code V745 will get you 20% off Northeast Corridor unreserved trains. So far, so good, just like many other discount codes.This one is also good on Acela Express and Metroliner trains all day Saturday and on Sunday except between 1pm and 6pm.I’m told that this code also produces double Amtrak Guest Rewards points, but I see no mention of it on the terms and conditions. The offer is supposed to be good on Boston trips, but I’ve tested it on New York-Washington, DC and it works as well.The code is good through June 22nd except for April 8th – 12th and May 28th – June 1st.

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Compensation at USAirways

Management and non-union employees at USAirways are eligible for merit raises and unions being asked for pay concessions are screaming bloody murder. In all, 3100 employees are eligible for up to a 4% increase in pay. Both sides have this one wrong. USAirways needs to keep its top people, and that means compensating them competitively. That’s important for the carrier to succeed and its important for all workers to continue to retain their jobs. But it’s also silly to believe that a substantial majority of nonunion workers at perhaps the weakest major airline in the country are indispensable and worth keeping at a higher than current cost. Even a money-losing carrier seeking wage concessions from its unions should make raises available to the top performers needed to emerge from a money-losing state. But they should…

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America West Elite Fast Track Promotion

America West is offering silver elite for three first class roundtrips and gold elite for six first class roundtrips, purchased by June 30 and flown by September 6.Now that America West has slashed first class fares this isn’t all that unreasonable a promotion. In fact, Gold should be available for $2000 or less.

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Travel to Haiti

American Airlines will resume flights to Haiti on Tuesday.Tyler Cowen explains why there’s little short-term hope for improvement in Haiti, and outlines the long-term challenges any leadership faces. In summary, So let’s say I was the president of Haiti. I have to keep the leading families happy or at least on board. I have to stop the drug smugglers from killing me or mobilizing opposition. I have to acquiesce in the drug trade, recognizing that most of those around me are on the take. I have to deal with the warlords who rule the local neighborhoods. I have to keep the U.S. President happy or at least neutralize him. I have to keep the population from starving. I have no resources and no tax base. Most of my public servants live from corruption. My country…

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