Bits ‘n Pieces for March 25, 2013

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • PointBreaks are out! PointBreaks are out! Writing about this is all the rage but it’s getting very little ink from me.

    Priority Club discounts some properties down to 5000 points for a room night. You have to act fast because while they’re booking out three months, the best hotels get pulled quickly.

    And ‘best’ is a bit of a stretch, they rarely offer hotels I actually want to stay in as part of this promotion. Earlier on there would be some nice Intercontinentals. Now, if I happen to search for a hotel and it comes up at 5000 points that’s awesome. I win. But there aren’t any hotels in the new batch I would go out of my way to plan a trip for, even at such a deep discount.

  • Buying a US Airways club membership can net you 5000 elite qualifying miles so if you’re a US Airways elite looking to requalify this may be the offer you want to jump on for your lounge access. Or you may want to just status match over to Turkish to get your lounge access for free, knowing that you can always just buy elite qualifying miles from US Airways if you wind up needing them.

  • Head for Points says that airberlin is offering status matches. If you have elite status with a Star Alliance or Skyteam airline you may be able to get airberlin status. And since airberlin is a member of oneworld, their Gold status would get you lounge access when flying American Airlines (including on wholly domestic itineraries).

  • Via One Mile at a Time, Emirates will begin adding fuel surcharges onto award tickets starting next month. This comes after much availability for Emirates first class awards dried up this year, and Emirates removed the ability to ‘buy out’ of capacity controls for additional miles (Flex Rewards have greater flexibility but not greater inventory).

    Fuel surcharges are a blunt instrument that can quickly and cheaply raise or lower fares across the board in a market (rather than having to re-file each and every airfare). They have the added side benefit of being “something other than the fare” and arguable for a frequent flyer program that they aren’t covered by miles (in this way similar to taxes).

    But this side benefit is disingenuous, it has nothing to do with the price of fuel — there hasn’t been a recent spike correlated with this change.

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. Re: the US Air club offer, I’m not sure you are grasping the calculus that US Air flyers have to consider this year with the impending merger. Yes, you can buy up in status, but that only helps for the remainder of this year. And the ability to buy up is likely to go away next year. So that puts a premium on actually earning status this year the old fashioned way, and 5k PQMs will really help. (And FYI I applied for Turkish match two months ago and haven’t heard squat).

  2. I never go out of my way to plan a trip for a hotel redemption. It’s always a matter of deciding on the trip first, then checking what’s available in the hotel area. I found one great redemption at 5K for an already planned trip and have switched my reservations. In general I think Priority Club is a weak program overall, but their annual one free night (for simply being a credit card holder) and these PointBreaks keep me interested for those two specific purposes.

  3. I get an error when I click on the Airberlin status match link. Can you provide more details on how to request the match?

  4. If anyone has access to cheap fuel it’s Emirates. This is unbelievable. It’s just plain greed, but others do it so they know they can get away with it. I suppose that Qatar and Etihad will be next. They copy each other’s moves like domestic US airlines…

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