Yesterday I said that my take on United’s Mileage Plus changes for 2004 would depend on the terms and conditions of its Systemwide Upgrades (valid for upgrading international travel at time of booking, subject to availability).United has sent an email to its membership, which among other things contains the details: In 2004, SWUs will be electronic rather than paper certificates, making them easier to track and bank for later use. 2004 SWUs will be eligible in Region 1 from all booking classes except Z and G, and in Region 2 from all booking classes except Z, S, T, K, L and G. First, the restrictions. L and G restrictions really aren’t relevant, as those aren’t generally available fares. If I recall correctly, G is a travel industry fare on United.The disappointment is really S and…
United Mileage Plus Changes for 2004
United just announced changes for 2004. Details remain a bit sketchy. “Our Mileage Plus program is ranked number one for one simple reason – because we reward our loyal customers better than any other airline,” said John Tague, Executive Vice President – Customer. Ranked #1 by whom? Alaska Airlines won the Freddie Award for best program and America West won for best elite level.Changes for 2005 include: Class of service bonuses count towards elite status. This way United rewards premium passengers without hurting passengers flying coach fares. Mileage bonuses upon qualifying for elite status — 2500 miles for qualifying as a Premier and 10,000 miles for qualifying as a Premier Executive. Interestingly, no additional mileage upon reaching 100,000 flown miles and 1K status. “Six electronic systemwide upgrades with limited restrictions for Premier Executive
Priceline Bonus Money
The Priceline Hong Kong website has an online scratcher game where you can win $100, $200 or $500 Hong Kong dollars for your next Priceline bid using the Hong Kong Priceline website. By the way, you can book the very same hotels on the Hong Kong website as on the US website. Just do the currency conversion between US Dollars and Hong Kong Dollars. HK$100 equals about US$13.
Priceline and Price Discrimination
Tyler Cowen discusses Priceline’s role in the marketplace and price discrimination in particular although he errs slightly in saying that Priceline serves price discrimination, including in the gasoline market. Priceline pulled out of the gasoline and grocery businesses almost three years ago.This old Slate piece explains how Priceline enables price discrimination: It finds out how much each customer is willing to pay by the brilliant technique of asking. And it keeps the higher-paying customers away from the bargains by making the process such a pain in the ass. With Priceline, you have to give your credit-card information and agree to be charged before you know whether you’ve even got a deal. You don’t get to choose the airline that you’ll fly. You don’t get to specify the time of day you’ll leave or whether you’ll…
United and Mexicana are ending their relationship effective March 31, 2004. This move also signals the end for Mexicana’s participation in the Star Alliance.What remains to be seen is just what’s driving the move. Is Mexicana going to merge with Aeromexico, a Skyteam partner? Is Mexicana looking for an equity investment from another (non-Star) carrier? Was United just looking for too many changes in their operating relationship, and Mexicana wouldn’t budget?I don’t have the inside scoop on this one — which is unfortunate, because there goes my complimentary Red Carpet Club access via Gold status in the Frecuenta program…
Free Delta credit cards with signup bonuses
Delta has a first year free offer on its co-branded American Express card that nets 10,000 bonus miles up front. Delta also has a free the first year offer on it co-branded small business American Express card that nets 10,000 bonus miles up front. Even if you’re just you you can be eligible for the small business card, believe it or not. Don’t we all need a “Our Name & Associates” identity anyway?(Via Gary Steiger’s Free Frequent Flyer Miles website)
USAirways survey for 500 miles
I took a travel survey from USAirways which promises 500 miles as a reward. The survey is long-ish, but I pass it along for your mileage-earning pleasure. And I assume that since the email said Our goal is to come as close as possible to 100% membership participation so please take a few minutes to complete the survey. that it probably isn’t targeted and that everyone should be eligible. Of course I could be wrong!Update: a reader writes: It wouldn’t take my number (Gold Preferred), and the terms and conditions say: “No registration is required, however this offer is valid only to the individual recipients of this email …” Still worth trying, I think, but it may not work for you.
United’s New Low Cost Carrier Has a Name
I was going to write about this the other day, but have been so busy that I prompty forgot. Fortunately, David Rowell‘s weekly email reminded me.There a bizarre website, Meet Ted.com, that’s being heavily marketed in the Denver area. Since the owner of the website also registered flyted.com and flywithted.com, and since Denver is where United plans to launch its low cost carrier, it’s a pretty strong bet that the new name for United’s airline within an airline will be Ted. Oh, and the law firm that registered the domain names lists United Airlines as one of its biggest clients.Now, the Rocky Mountain News more or less confirms it.Perhaps the name makes sense as Ted represents the last three letters of United?
Fisking Christopher Elliott…. again.
Christopher Elliott brings us another ill-informed column this week. This time he’s opining on the new startup idea currently dubbed “Project Roam” which would be a low cost airline based in Pittsburgh. It’s the brainchild of Ed Beauvais. Elliott hypes the project — which doesn’t yet have funding or an operating certificate — as a potential miracle for the industry: But Project Roam promises to be more than a boost to Pittsburgh, and more than a feisty rival to a lumbering legacy airline. The new ideas it brings with it could change the way we think about an airline — and the way airlines think about us. That would benefit all travelers and possibly create a stronger, more customer-friendly airline industry. Here are a few of the more bizarre claims in the piece.First, “Pittsburgh as…
Cutting Back, Getting Hungry
A Pioneer Press article summarizes the moves of major US airlines away from offering free meals in coach and towards a buy on board model. While it’s unlikely that food sales will be a profit center in their own right, the net food cost to airlines is likely to fall. As the article observed, Northwest Airlines alone spent more than $200 million on food last year.