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Issue #576 — Oct. 7, 2009

CONTENTS

Up Front

  • “Up Front” Blog Entries

On Site

  • FrequentFlier Forum Topics

Reader Rants & Raves

  • Feedback from the Frontlines of Travel

Sweeps & Freebies

  • Win a Trip for 2 to the 2010 Rose Bowl and Rose Parade

Steals & Deals

  • Deal Alert from SmarterTravel.com

Miles & Points

  • Continental Bonus for Recurring Credit/Debit Card Payments
  • Delta Debit Cards Come With Bonuses
  • At SpringHill Suites, the 3rd Night Is Free
  • Earn More United Miles at the Mileage Plus Mall

Up Front

Tweet, Tweet

Use this link to follow us on Twitter and stay abreast of the latest in frequent flyer program news, opinion, and advice.

“Up Front” Blog Entries

Following are some of Tim’s recent blog posts:

On Site

The FrequentFlier Forum – Hot Topics

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

In the “Airline Programs” Forum, Kim is running out of time to earn Delta miles for a Continental flight: “Last December I canceled a Continental reservation and received a $300 credit valid for one year. Since it is fast becoming due, I would like to get the miles… Although I have 100k SkyMiles, I’m not a savvy mileage maximizer. It looks like the only way for me to convert the credit into SkyMiles is to find a Continental route that will give me the most amount of miles for $300 and book a R/T ‘flight to nowhere.’ I would prefer not to have to do this.”

And in the “Hotel Programs” Forum, KJG67 is wondering which option in Hilton’s latest bonus offer is best. (You have to register for one or the other, and they’re not combinable.)

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

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Reader Rants & Raves

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.


AwardWallet

“I have read some articles on the site about folks losing their air miles because they did not check their expiry. I signed up for AwardWallet.com a few weeks ago and I am delighted. Very simple process for all of my airline and hotel miles and it is free. I get reminders of activity every week.

“I have tried these sites before and they have been complicated and unreliable. This one is very good.” [John D.]

British Air Charging for Seat Assignments?

“It’s really true, soon we will all need to board planes with change for the toilets. This newest in the long list of nickel and diming passengers has to be the worst yet. What I read recently was that in order to choose your seat on a British Airways flight you will now have to pay (I believe it was 60 GBP) each way. So, if you are partial to a window, and aisle, or you would like to sit with your travel companions (would that include your spouse or your children?) you will have to pay for the privilege. As it is, if you want to use miles for a free seat on British these days, you will need to also pony up about $500, according to the last time I checked. I’m sorry, did they say FREE seat?

“I have almost 100,000 miles with BA and was planning on trying to use them next year to take my daughter to Europe. It looks like I will not be flying on BA. It’s probably time to move those miles elsewhere. I disappointed in BA – it’s always been a favorite of mine. But now I feel like they just don’t care about anything or anybody anymore. If they are not careful, they will go the way of so many others.” [Audrey K.]

Starwood Free Weekend Nights Promo

“I thought I would follow up on this summer’s Free Weekend Nights promo at Starwood Hotels. I was able to stay six times during the qualifying period, earning three free weekend nights.

“I had absolutely no trouble cashing them in, for three separate Friday or Saturday night stays before the end of September. I found the phone agents very helpful for all bookings. In one case, I even combined a paid Thursday with a free Friday without any problem.” [Michael M. - San Francisco, CA]

Southwest Dino Droppings

“It’s disappointing to see Southwest Airlines accelerate towards Dinosaur status. Their latest fund-raiser (aka: Dino Droppings) is a ten dollar per flight charge for ‘early-bird’ status — basically a way for non-frequent flyers to board early. Tragically, the fine print includes the dinosaur-like ‘we’ll charge even if you don’t fly’ stupidity with a never-refundable clause for the early-bird cost even if you have a refundable ticket. Shame on Southwest.

“Why am I not surprised that Southwest’s print your boarding pass at home ability is having ‘technical errors’ and I will be forced to stand in yet another line for my flight. Time to look closer at newer startup airlines.” [Lawrence L.]

Irked by United

“For your correspondent [in last week's newsletter] who complained about the United lost miles, I had my 20,000 miles taken away and only found it out on their Monthly Mileage Summary. There was no warning.

“Bummer, no more Untied for me.” [Bob L.]


Until next week…

Sweeps & Freebies

Win a Trip for 2 to the 2010 Rose Bowl and Rose Parade

Enter Modern Drummer’s “Remo Rose Bowl” sweepstakes by November 15 for a chance to win a trip for two to Los Angeles to attend the 2010 Rose Bowl Game and Rose Parade, including air, hotel, and event tickets.

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[Visit FrequentFlier.com for more travel sweepstakes.]

Steals & Deals

Deal Alert from SmarterTravel.com

1) U.S. and Caribbean Sale on JetBlue From $29 Each Way

JetBlue’s latest online-only sale features amazingly low prices to a variety of popular domestic and Caribbean destinations, including Florida, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and the Bahamas. AirTran, American, Delta, and Northwest are among the airlines competing for the lowest prices on the sale routes.

Travel is valid through December 16.

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2) China, Germany, Japan, and More From $502

Singapore Airlines’ latest sale features travel to several Asian cities including Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Manila, Seoul, and Tokyo; plus to Frankfurt, Germany. Fares start at $502 round-trip and include all taxes and fees.

Purchase deadlines vary by route.

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Miles & Points

Continental Bonus for Recurring Credit/Debit Card Payments

Through November 30, members of Continental’s OnePass program who have recurring bill payments charged to their Continental MasterCard credit or debit cards will earn a one-time 500-mile bonus. (Acquiring a new Continental card counts toward bonuses in the current Mileathon promotion as well.)

Registration is required.

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Delta Debit Cards Come With Bonuses

Delta’s new debit card partner is SunTrust Bank. (Note – The SunTrust SkyMiles Check Cards are only available in AL, AR, FL, GA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN, WV, VA, and DC.)

Consumers have a choice of two cards: the Classic, which awards one mile per $2 spent, has a $20 annual fee, and comes with a 7,500-mile first-use bonus; and the Platinum, which awards one mile per $1 spent, has a $55 annual fee, and comes with a 15,000-mile first-use bonus.

Bonuses for both cards are in effect until December 31.

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At SpringHill Suites, the 3rd Night Is Free

Through December 13, SpringHill Suites guests who stay two consecutive nights, Wednesday through Sunday, will receive the third night free.

Qualifying stays must be booked by November 22, citing promotion code BGS.

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Earn More United Miles at the Mileage Plus Mall

Through December 21, members of United’s Mileage Plus program can earn the following bonuses for purchases at 20 participating Mileage Plus Mall merchants: 1,000 bonus miles for spending between $500 and $749; 1,500 bonus miles for purchases of between $750 and $999; and 2,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 or more.

Among the participating retailers: Apple, REI, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Harry and David, and Williams-Sonoma.

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