Bits ‘n Pieces for July 18, 2013

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Singapore Airlines introduces the option to spend their Krisflyer miles as cash towards a ticket. But at meaningfully less than a penny a point in value, the only reason ever to do this is if the miles are going to expire. While in some sense ‘more options are better,’ it represents a poor value, and underscores why I dislike “revenue-based” redemptions so much.

  • From the ‘I wish they’d planned to remain a standalone airline’ file: American Airlines made money during the 2nd quarter of 2013 — $220 million even including bankruptcy expenses – the first second quarter profit for the airline since 2007. Chapter 11 cost cutting made a big difference for the airline.

  • NBC covers United’s new Mercedes tarmac transfer test. The piece included a photo of mine riding behind a 747 in a Lufthansa car.

    Delta began a similar car service featuring Porsche vehicles at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in 2011 and that was likely the catalyst for United to launch its own program, said Gary Leff, a frequent flier and loyalty program expert who runs the blog, View from the Wing.

    “If you want to offer premium service and be competitive in that space … (this may be) something that makes the customers who are buying incredibly expensive tickets happy — it can expedite connections, it can make those customers feel special,” Leff said, emphasizing it’s an unexpected perk.

    It’s not something you can ever count on, even with Delta. It’s a surprise and delight kind of thing.”

  • How to Change a United Ticket. United makes it much easier than American, I much wish my preferred airline waived same-day confirmed change fees for elites.

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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 have to wonder if this is the first step of Singapore switching from mileage based to revenue based awards. It may get harder and harder to find mileage based awards, until it finally becomes impossible. Without SQ having to announce that they have scrapped the mileage based system until it has been effectively dead for years.

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