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Use this link to follow us on Twitter and stay abreast of the latest in frequent flyer program news, opinion, and advice.
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, Flying Texan poses the following question regarding award availability on alliance partner flights: “Just curious if anyone knows the ‘rules’… wifey had UAL miles and we wished to use on a non-stop flight with new Star Alliance partner Continental; award flight available on Continental.com; not on United’s website nor after calling and waiting 30 minutes for human contact. So, what gives in this alliance business if the home carrier has ff seats for its mileage script but unavailable for partner miles? PS: United had several UAL award tickets available if we wanted to connect through Chicago (and turn a 2 1/2 hour non-stop into a 7-hour odyssey).”
And in the “Other Loyalty Program Topics” Forum, willsmiller comments on Continental’s move from SkyTeam to the Star Alliance as follows: “Continental Airlines definitely needed to make this move, it’s no longer one of the premier airlines in the SkyTeam Alliance and it will become the premier U.S. carrier in the Star Alliance. In my opinion, CO is one of the only U.S. airlines that can reasonably compete with European stalwarts like BA, LH, AF, etc. and the airline offers plenty of nice long-haul U.S.-Asia non-stops (EWR-DEL, EWR-NRT, EWR-Beijing, etc.). CO will definitely pass UA and US, we all know how easy that is, and become the premier U.S. carrier in the Star Alliance.
“CO also provides a good East-coast presence, something, which UA doesn’t have. US Airways has a good East-coast presence, but most people flying Star Alliance airlines avoid the carrier, due to its horrible reputation.
“Star Alliance was probably the best alliance for about 5 years (circa 1997-2003), after its inception, but SkyTeam and Oneworld have really passed the Star Alliance in the past 3-5 years. The addition of CO to the Star Alliance, will level that playing field a bit. I also look forward to the addition of Air India into the alliance in 2010.”
Questions, answers, opinions? Post them to the Forum!
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.
United Disappoints, Again
“I had two system wide upgrades that I wanted to use on a SFO to Hong Kong trip a couple of weeks ago.
“I am a 1 Million Mile flier and Executive Premier member for many years. I call United and they advised that I needed to purchase a ticket in W class or higher. Checking flights this ticket was $350 more than the lower priced ticket. For the upgrade well worth it.
“I purchased the higher priced ticket and apply the upgrade and I am put on the wait list. Needless to say you know what that means. Good Luck!! Yup, no upgrade on either flight and I’m out the additional $350.
“Seems like a way just to get high mileage fliers to pay for a higher ticket.” [JS]
Giving Away Frequent Flyer Miles
“I understand that I can give away 25,000 miles to anyone at any time at no cost by simply booking a FF ticket in their name. But I guess I cannot give away any less than 25,000 miles without paying a penalty. Right?” [Hal W.]
[FrequentFlier.com replies - Yes, you can redeem your miles for a ticket issued in the name of a friend or family member. There may be fees for booking within 21 days, etc., but they will be the same fees you'd pay if booking an award ticket for yourself. To actually share your miles with someone else, there are always fees, if it's permitted at all. To see whether it's possible in your program, check the webpage where that airline allows members to buy or gift miles. The prices and procedures to share miles will be found there.]
Until next week…
Win a Cruise for 4 to the Galapagos Islands
Enter GE’s “Energy” sweepstakes by March 15 for a chance to win a ten-day Celebrity Cruises cruise for four persons to the Galapagos Islands in an ocean view stateroom, including round-trip airfare and $2,000 spending money.
[Visit FrequentFlier.com for more travel sweepstakes.]
Deal Alert from SmarterTravel.com
1) Domestic and Mexico Sale on Frontier From $49 Each Way
Frontier Airlines has just announced its latest sale, aptly titled the Bunny Sale for the upcoming season.
The Bunny Sale fares start at $49 one-way. Book by February 24. Fly through April to Mexico, and through June for domestic destinations.
2) $394 Europe Winter Sale From Aer Lingus
Aer Lingus’ latest sale is featuring winter travel to destinations including Amsterdam, Dublin, London, and Paris, among others.
A booking deadline has not been posted, so this sale could disappear at any time. Travel midweek through the end of March.
Hilton Is New Virgin America Partner
Members of the Hilton HHonors program can now earn points in Virgin America’s Elevate program for stays at more than 3,400 properties across Hilton’s portfolio of hotel brands.
Hilton HHonors and Virgin America Elevate members earning either fixed or variable points and miles can choose to earn one Elevate point for every two dollars spent at participating hotels. Members who choose a fixed points earning style and stay at participating Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, or Waldorf Astoria hotels will earn 250 Elevate points per stay. Stays at Hampton, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites hotels earn 50 Elevate points.
This is Virgin America’s first hotel partnership, and a much needed expansion of the program’s partner roster.
Southwest Offers CO Residents Fast Track to Elite
Between February 15 and May 15, Colorado-based Rapid Rewards members will earn A-List elite status through the end of the year after flying four Southwest round-trips, or eight one-way flights, from or to Denver. Registration is required.
Southwest has also been offering aggressive pricing on Denver flights and recently offered upgrades to Business Select to customers purchasing standard-fare tickets.
Southwest isn’t alone in aggressively marketing its Denver flights.
United, Denver’s number-one airline, is offering discounts on selected first-class Denver fares. And Frontier is offering both discounts (see Steals and Deals below) and double miles on flights between Denver and a number of destinations.