Bits ‘n Pieces for January 23, 2013

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • While I may gripe about poor food in the British Airways Concorde Room, The Deal Mommy was just trying to get to Paris. Along the way she learned that:
    • European airlines are really really non-sensical when it comes to enforcing limits on carryon bags. I’ll never understand the logic in this.

    • British Airways customer service is surly. When you can actually reach a human being. She tried to reach out to the US customer service line when she couldn’t get through in the UK (when call volumes are too high they just disconnect you). But I’ve always found the US-based folks to be worse. In fact, I believe that British Airways customer service in the US is worse than any other US-based airline call center. I’ll never understand how this comes to pass.

    • British Airways doesn’t communicate well with itself (web presence to telephone or checkin agents), it’s no surprise they aren’t great communicating with their customers. But then I haven’t found great problem-solving customer service from most other European carriers, either.

  • Several reports yesterday that American is sending out targeted double elite qualifying miles offers to some Executive Platinums. Others are reporting on a targeted double miles (not elite qualifying miles) offer.

    I don’t know the criteria, but the reports I’ve gotten so far are from Executive Platnums who qualified last year on points (which factors in revenue) not just miles.

    The offers run between January 22 and February 22, apply to travel not just on American but also on British Airways, Iberia, Qantas, and Japan Airlines, and don’t require registration for those targeted.

  • Wandering Aramean writes up a new program where United will give you elite status if you buy a ton of points from them. These miles are meant to award to others as part of an incentive program not to use yourself, and they don’t come cheap.
    • Buy 250,000 miles for $9407 and get Silver status.
    • Buy 500,000 miles for $18,813 and get Gold status
    • Buy 1,000,000 miles for $37,625 and get Platinum status plus an annual United Club membership

  • Head for Points is reporting that Le Club Accorhotels will again let you convert two points into 5 Iberia Avios points. What’s crazy is that they only convert 2 Accor points into 1 British Airways Avios. But you can instead convert to 5 Iberia Avios and use ‘combine my avios’ to move those points over to British Airways if you wish.

  • Head for Points also notes that Virgin Atlantic is running 25% off coach award redemptions (account login required to view) booked by February 5. In my view, high fuel surcharges mean that Virgin redemptions only make sense in premium cabins, even with this discount, because you’re still paying a substantial portion of a coach ticket.

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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Comments

  1. I can’t seem to access my profile to transfer LeClubAccorhotels points. It just says “Service temporarily unavailable.” Is this still working for you, Gary? Do you have actual stays in this program? I just have 500 points from the sign-up bonus.

  2. The account management page of the Accor LeClub is marked “Service Temporarily Unavailable” in the middle of the day in Europe. Maybe they are making some “adjustments”.

  3. How fantastic and generous of the United folks!
    Just think for a mere almost $38,000 dollars I can become Platinum at United.Awesome
    The Million miles to award and incent others imediately becomes worth 500,000 miles thanks to their award availability (lions share of awards start at 25,000 in coach one way)
    VIP customer service in India
    I can be entitled to awful availability of Saver Award inventory around the world
    To many elites in the system to upgrade
    Surly attitudes
    Cramped United clubs with poor offerings
    And when I do find those elusive award seats no way to put them on a hold without paying
    How soon can u sign me up?

  4. “My Profile” on Accor is back up and running, but transfer option for me is greyed out. I have only 500 points in my account from sign-up bonus. Is there a minimum required to transfer, or is the functionality disabled for everyone?

  5. Is a great deal as I use AVIOS frequently for short flights where they are tremendous value. But …. I don’t have any Accor points. How can I get them by transferring from elsewhere.

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