No more mileage minimums for short USAirways flights, and a new fee!

USAirways is sending out emails to all of its Dividend Miles members letting them know about changes in the program: No more 500 mile minimums for short flights. Fly Allentown to Philadelphia and get 55 miles, not 500. Fly Reagan-National to LaGuardia and earn 214 miles, not 500. (The email doesn’t make this explicit, but I’m assuming this applies both to redeemable miles and also to elite qualifying miles.) Online redemptions made within 14 days of travel no longer avoid a fee. In a world of instant issue e-tickets, I’m not sure what a “quick ticketing” fee of $50 is for exactly, except that folks who have accumulated miles in the past can’t just take those miles to another airline to spend. And about 16 months ago even United started charging these sorts of fees,…

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Free and Expedited Status at Hyatt

I think I somehow missed this last month when it first came out, but Hyatt is offering instant platinum status for new enrollees who join by March 31. The status lasts 90 days, and if you complete one stay during that time the status will be extended through February, 2009. And for those seeking Diamond status, remember that all stays count double through the end of March (if you register).

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Joe Sharkey is Snarky… and Completely Wrong (about Continental OnePass)

I get that Joe Sharkey is really just trying to be snarky about a rumored United-Continental merger, but he still strikes me as pretty far off base when he says: Oh great. There goes the remaining value of my Continental elite status and miles. To be clear, Sharkey is saying that both his status and his miles would be worth less after such a merger. Now it’s possible that a combined program could take the worst features of both programs and leave everyone worse off. But that’s not really what Joe seems to be saying, rather he thinks his Continental miles and status are worth more with Continental than they are with United. And that’s just silly. The Mileage Plus program is head and shoulders better than Continental OnePass for redemption. United miles are worth…

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Free Virgin Silver and Bonus Miles

Back in December I posted about American Express Platinum cardholders receiving Silver status with Virgin Atlantic. And that the online signup appeared to work successfully for anyone, Platinum cardholder or not. It was good both for opening a new account or for upgrading the status on an existing account. The offer appears valid through March 31. It seems there is also an offer of Silver status with Virgin Atlantic which is co-branded with American Express, but not clearly tied to any specific Amex card. What’s more, new members receive 2000 miles to start plus an additional 2500 miles if you credit a Virgin flight to your new account by August 31 and pay for the ticket with an American Express. I’m not a Virgin Atlantic regular, but their program is great for crediting Avis rentals.…

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Is SeatGuru on the Decline?

For years I’ve recommended checking SeatGuru when making airline reservations. There really are better and worse seats on most aircraft, and SeatGuru always seemed to be ‘in the know’ and their advice was generally spot on. But more and more I’m noticing that their recommendations are flawed. Either the information is outdated, or I just disagree with it. And when it’s outdated, submitting feedback doesn’t seem to get it corrected. Take, for example, Asiana’s 747s. There’s no indication on the website that Asiana offers both an old-style first and business class, and a refitted version. (The refitted 747 is handling most of the New York-JFK – Seoul flying these days.) All they show is the passenger and combi old-style. My personal pet peeve, though, is that SeatGuru says there are power ports onboard the old…

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Free Goldpoints

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Feb 09 2008

Goldpoints can no longer be earned after March 31. And if you signed up for your Goldpoints account through Radisson Hotels, your account was transferred to their separate (and continuing) Goldpoints Plus program. But it’s still possible to earn points in the old program for about two months (which won’t transfer to Goldpoints Plus, but can be redeemed for various things like food at TGI Friday’s). You can bring your Goldpoints account number with you to TGI Friday’s and get 2008 free Goldpoints by printing out a coupon. Copy the following URL into your web browser and replace the bolded text with your information: http://tgif.rsys1.net/servlet/campaignrespondent?_ID_=tgif.111&name=YOUR_FIRST_NAME%20YOUR_LAST_NAME& e mail=YOUR_EMAIL_ADDRESS Meanwhile, once the program ends, you still have plenty of time to redeem the points you’ve accumulated. Meanwhile, NotiFlyer has details on a Goldpoints Plus (the Radisson program)…

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Time for a Nakation?

I get several pitches a day from various PR hacks looking to place a story for a cleint. Most of the time I ingore them. Occasionally I ridicule them. But once in a while I simply reproduce a portion of their email verbatim. The latest travel buzzword to appear in our lexicon comes from the  50,000 members of the American Association for Nude Recreation  (www.aanr.com) and the word is: Nakation. AANR defines a Nakation (pronounced like vacation) as: v. to take a  clothing optional vacation, esp. away from home for pleasure and  recreation. n. the part of your vacation you’ll brag to friends about. Heck, with airlines charging for extra checked luggage, it makes good  fiscal sense to take a Nakation. This type of pleasure trip also  eliminates the potential hassle of lost luggage! This…

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Personalizing Loyalty Program Membership Cards

Randy Petersen has the details on a new trend (after all, one is a data point but two is a trend…) in personalized loyalty program membership cards. Priority Club is offering to let members put the account numbers of their other programs on the back of their membership card (link requires account login). This is brilliant. Some members will like to be able to just carry a single card with all their info. And Priority Club gets their card a position of priority in members’ wallets. Great for branding identity. Marketer’s dream to have a member whip out their Priority Club card whenever they need to enter their Hilton or Marriott membership number! Of course, if they’re smart they’ll also build a database of which members belong to which other programs, and cross-market appropriately. Starwood…

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