The Onion Takes on Loyalty, Reduced Award Options, and the TSA Hides Behind a Flag (Bits ‘n Pieces for March 11, 2014)

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • American is eliminating elite-only Dynamic Air Awards that let you book non-changeable economy travel in the Continental U.S. for a variable points price based on the cost of the ticket. I never found these to be how I’d want to use my miles anyway..

  • Southwest Airlines expects loyalty members to be loyal to them. And they’re coming to collect.

    It’s an Onion piece, but apparently done in conjunction with Southwest. And pretty funny, because it’s the Onion. But a bit ironic considering their points devalue this month.

  • Mark your calendar for Noon eastern on Friday, I’ll be participating on twitter in a chat about miles and points (hash tag “#TravelSkills“) hosted by Johnny Jet and Chris McGinnis. It runs for an hour. Should be a lot of fun.

  • TSA agent covers himself with an American flag to prevent being filmed. There’s an interesting assortment of TSA photos and video, and an opportunity to submit your own, at the TSA Security Theater Tumblr site.

  • My link for the Southwest Airlines 50,000 point signup bonus is no longer active, but Free Frequent Flyer Miles has a link that’s still working under ‘What’s New’.

  • Reduced AAdvantage award holds? American AAdvantage has one of the most generous award hold policies out there. When I started in the hobby 30 day holds were standard, then reduced to 14, and then 5 or 3. Many programs (United, Delta, Alaska) don’t officially allow ‘holding’ an award itinerary at all any longer. American’s policy is to allow 5 day holds which is great for transferring in points from other programs and for coordinating other aspects of an award trip or other portions of air booked with cash or miles in another program. There are reports though that holds of space on Iberia are being limited to 24 hours.

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. @JB – I’ve written about multiple tricks for holds with United, that was sort of beside my point for this post but yes it is still possible for a much shorter time than it used to be. (Before Continental took over United offered 3 day holds)

  2. Does my Southwest Companion Pass holding partner need to pay for drinks for the crew on every flight now???

  3. @Gary – the United holds you have written about have changed very recently (hence the link to the updated info). And, in line with Iberia cutting the AA hold time down, I think its worth mentioning that Turkish is doing the same on United awards.

  4. AA holds on IB have actually only been 24 hours for months. The agent won’t always know that though and will put it on hold for 24. IB will then cancel it out after 24-36 hours.

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