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Issue #537 – January 7, 2009

Up Front

  • A New Year Begins
  • “Up Front” Blog Entries
On Site

  • FrequentFlier Forum Topics
Miles & Points

  • Alaska Discounts Winter Award Travel
  • Hilton Doubles the Points
  • Marriott Brings Back the MegaBonus
  • Earn More Northwest Miles for Hawaii Flights
Steals & Deals

  • Deal Alert from
Sweeps & Freebies

  • Win 1 Million Delta Miles
Reader Rants & Raves

  • Feedback from the Frontlines of Travel
A New Year Begins

After two slimmed-down issues, in consideration of our readers’ holiday travels, we begin the new year with a Crier fairly stuffed with travel news, opinion, and advice.

This week, we have several attractive promotions in “Miles & Points,” a particularly lucrative million-mile sweepstakes from Delta in “Sweeps & Freebies,” and solid airfare deals from Hawaiian and Spirit in “Steals & Deals.”

As suggested in last week’s issue, there will be a silver lining to the severe challenges facing the travel industry during 2009: better airfare and room rate deals, and more loyalty program bonuses. We look forward to keeping you up to speed on events as they unfold, both for better and for worse.

Welcome back, all. Let the year, and the traveling, begin.

“Up Front” Blog Entries

Following are some of Tim’s recent blog posts:

The FrequentFlier Forum – Hot Topics

As always, there’s plenty of activity on the FrequentFlier Forum.

In the “Airline Programs” Forum, Justin7525 is apparently underwhelmed by Delta’s Pay with Miles feature: “Seriously… What a slap in the face to Delta frequent fliers.”

Also in the “Airline Programs” Forum, Ronald has tips on earning American AAdvantage bonus miles by requesting quotes for Liberty Mutual home or auto insurance, or for a home loan from LendingTree.

Questions, answers, opinions? Post them to the Forum!

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Alaska Discounts Winter Award Travel

Between January 6 and March 19, members of Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan can save 10,000 miles off the regular 25,000 mile round-trip Super Saver award, or 20,000 miles off the regular 50,000 mile round-trip First Class Super Saver award, on Alaska and Horizon Air flights between Seattle and Long Beach, Los Angeles, or San Francisco.

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Hilton Doubles the Points

Through April 6, HHonors members will earn double Base points for stays at more than 2,400 participating Hilton Family hotels.

Note that the bonus is for each and every stay. That’s in marked contrast to many recent and current hotel offers that restrict bonuses to two or more stays.

Registration is required.

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Marriott Brings Back the MegaBonus

Between February 1 and April 30, Marriott Rewards members can earn 2,500 bonus points for the second and subsequent stays at participating Marriotts, up to a maximum of 25,000 bonus points during the promotion period.

Registration is required, and must be completed by March 31.

Note that the MegaBonus is separate from Marriott’s MegaMiles offer, which awards double airline miles for stays during the same period. The two offers cannot be combined.

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Earn More Northwest Miles for Hawaii Flights

Through February 8, WorldPerks members can earn 3,000 bonus miles for round-trip Northwest flights between Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Portland, or Seattle and Honolulu, Kona, Maui, or Lihue.

Registration is required.

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Deal Alert from

1) Hawaii Sale Fares on Hawaiian From $278

Hawaiian has announced a new sale for travel to Maui and Oahu. Fares start at $278 round-trip, and departures are available only from the Western U.S.

Travel is valid from January 7 through March 13 and from April 20 through June 4. Book by January 16, 11:59 PM ET.

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2) Spirit Sale Fares From $58

Spirit’s latest sale is available to everyone, and features fares starting at $58 round-trip. Destinations include Myrtle Beach, Orlando, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic.

Travel is valid Tuesdays and Wednesdays from January 13 through May 20. Book by January 12, 11:59 PM ET.

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Win 1 Million Delta Miles

Enter Delta’s “Million Mile” sweepstakes by February 28 for a chance to win the grand prize of 1 million SkyMiles, or one of 160 runner-up prizes of 25,000 miles each.

SkyMiles members receive one sweepstakes entry each time they print out a Delta boarding pass with destinations highlights and copy the entry code to the online sweepstakes form. But it’s also possible to enter by mail, with no purchase required.

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[Visit for more travel sweepstakes.]

Free Flights Faster

The MilePort mileage manager makes it easy to review balances and program activity from more than 121 airline, hotel and points programs.

Consolidate account information from multiple programs into a single easy-to-read statement. Result: more free trips and upgrades!

Download MilePort for free.

Feedback from the Frontlines of Travel

We welcome reader feedback on issues related to travel generally and frequent flyer programs in particular. Please use this link to submit comments.

Better Newsletter Format

“Enjoy your newsletter. Just a suggestion: it would be helpful if you’d put headlines on Reader Rants & Raves items, just as with news items etc., so I could tell at a quick glance whether it’s something I want to invest time in reading. Without the headline (or teaser, caption or whatever you call it in your shop), I tend to skip the Reader items — despite the fact that I know they are ones you’ve deemed worthy of showcasing — because I don’t want to spend time reading even a little bit just to find out if I want to read further.

“In any case, thanks for your good work.” [Marty B.]

[ replies – Great suggestion. Not sure what the final format will be, but we’ve begun headlining reader comments with this issue.]

No Love for Amtrak’s GuestRewards?

“Why do you not list Amtrak GuestRewards in your program links?

“For many of us who live in the Northeast (and there are MANY of us!), Amtrak’s program is the one we use most often. It also has about the best value payback when one considers point requirements vs. fares.” [Bruce G.]

[ replies – While we do cover the occasional GuestRewards promotion and program change, it’s true that we don’t have a profile on the site, as we do for most major airline and hotel programs. We’ll look into it.]

Gypsy Cabs at JFK

“On January 3, 2009, at 12:30am, I was walking out of baggage claim and a lot of illegal limos and cars come to greet prospective customers. Anybody coming to JFK Airport, please don’t go into these cars and limos, take a legitimate yellow cab only if you’re not going to take public transportation, for your own safety. These illegal cabs and limos are very indignant towards people, they think they’re slick.” [JAB]

Until next week…