Bits ‘n Pieces for April 18, 2013

News and Notes from Around the Interweb:

  • Virgin American is offering up to a 40% bonus on purchased points through May 7. Last month’s 80% offer piqued my interest but I still wasn’t quite a buyer. 40% only makes sense to top off an account with close to enough points for a high value award.

  • Australian Frequent Flyer has the scoop on two stackable 15% discounts for flights to and from certain markets. Nearly 30% off of paid business class would be a huge discount (on a still expensive ticket!).

  • American is proactively handing out lots of miles to customers who may have been affected by Tuesdays travel disruptions. A non-status colleague traveling on a domestic award ticket was offered 1500 points, reports of Executive Platinums with 7500 point offers, which seems reasonable for their not having sent in complaints but rather getting emails out of the blue (though not necessarily equivalent to the inconveniences experienced in some cases).

  • Play-by-play of who offered what, when in the American-US Airways merger discussions.

  • Folks have had success getting free Hilton Gold status for over a year using techniques described in this post. There’s been a resurgence of discussion of the offer amongst frequent flyer blogs in recent weeks, putting an Australian address into your Hilton account and generating a valid Visa Infinite credit card number. Live from a Lounge reports that India-based Visa Signature cards are an option as well.

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. I think from a long term perspective, the AMR board would have been better off agreeing to closing retiree benefits and increasing its percentage for the UCC. They are still left with high costs.

  2. I know it’s asking a lot, but I think it’s much better to leave sign-up tricks like that Hilton Gold offer alone. There’s obviously a life-cycle to these kinds of offers. The loyalty program will typically ignore “the trick” until suddenly they are bombarded with applications thanks to a prominent blogger discussing it. This will prompt them to shut down the trick.

    It’s arguable that more people will be able to take advantage of the deal due to your blog post, but I’m guessing that the folks who really NEED the status were previously motivated to do the research to get it. Now these folks will be out of luck. Before you discuss these tricks, I think you need to ask yourself whether you’re doing more harm than good to the frequent flyer community. In this case, I’m pretty sure you’re doing more harm.

  3. @iahphx – how many people knew about the ‘trick’ aside from my blog post? I covered it over a year ago and to the best of my knowledge the ‘figuring out’ how to continue to use it happened predominantly in the comments of the various posts i made about the trick. It has been around for a year and a half. And it’s not like I’ve exposed someone else’s trick, again, it’s predominantly associated with this blog.

  4. Gary —

    I think you are incorrect in your belief that this trick is “predominantly associated with this blog.” I’ve known of the trick for quite some time and never associated it with your blog. When I google “australia hhonors gold status” lots and lots of entries from other blogs/websites come up.

    My guess is that there’s now a 50% chance the trick will die in the next month. As I said, I thought the previous situation — where savvy travellers who “had a need to know” could easily find the trick — was preferable to what might now happen due to this blog post.

  5. @iahphx – my writing about this trick dates to 2011. folks worked out how to get it to continue to work after hhonors claimped down in different ways at different times in the comments in various posts i’ve made on the deal. it’s the only place i’ve seen it, except a few times either referencing my blog or shortly after i had posted it where they had taken it from this blog. that it’s written about elsewhere isn’t the point, and i certainly didn’t get it from elsewhere… “stolen” “taken” or what have you. This is my 4th or 5th or even 6th post on the deal in the past year and a half. And it’s just in a list of links, this time prompted by someone else’s writing about it. Yeah, I’ve sure killed it. 😉

  6. American should be handing out lots of miles to customers who are being affected by todays (Thursday) travel disruptions!

  7. And yet again we have someone whining about shutting the velvet curtain after they’ve already entered the club. For crying out loud, iahphx, cut your obnoxious sense of entitlement (“Waaaaah… I did my research! Don’t let others in on the deal! They’re not important like I am!”).

    Seeing folks repeatedly bitch like clockwork about the “reveals” from Gary and others is both humorous and infuriating. Your demands are purely selfish and illogical (where, exactly, is the line drawn re: disclosures?). Just stop it.

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