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Issue #620 – August 11, 2010

Up Front

  • Tweet, Tweet
  • American Matches United’s 30% Discount on Short-Haul Awards
  • Hilton Comps Internet Access for Big Spenders
  • Up to 60,000 American AAdvantage Miles With Hyatt
  • From Starwood: 25,000 Miles for Stays in Paradise
  • Is United’s the Most Rewarding Rewards Program?
On Site

  • FrequentFlier Forum Topics
Steals & Deals

  • Deal Alert from
Sweeps & Freebies

  • Win a 21-Day Trip to Italy, India and Bali
Reader Rants & Raves

  • Feedback from the Frontlines of Travel
Tweet, Tweet

If you’re not already doing so, 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:

The FrequentFlier Forum – Hot Topics

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

In the “Airline Programs” Forum, Max Bialystock recounts in gleeful detail the good-news/bad-news story of his recent award trip, which began as follows:

Late June/early July: Long ago, wifey and I redeemed CO miles for Jamaica vacation/reunion with family… Of course, CO had no seats at the 35,000 mile level. CO wanted 70,000 and if we could spring for that many miles, everything opened-up. No problem. Bait and switch. Their new partner, Air Canada, had seats at 35,000 miles. AC would get us there and back, but we would have to swallow a hideous itinerary and just go with it…

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

:: More

Deal Alert from

1) New Southwest Autumn Sale From $56 Each Way

This fall, take off with Southwest’s limited-time systemwide sale from $56 one-way or $112 round-trip. There are over 1,900 routes to choose from, including flights to Boston, Las Vegas, New York City, and Orlando.

Travel availability is from early September through mid-December, but book tickets by Thursday, August 12.

:: More

2) $398 Europe Flights on Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus’ latest sale puts cities such as Paris, Barcelona, London, and Rome on sale for travel in November and December. Round-trip flights begin at $398.

Book fares by August 12 for travel this fall.

:: More


Win a 21-Day Trip to Italy, India and Bali

Enter STA Travel’s “Eat Pray Love” sweepstakes by August 27 for a chance to win a 21-day trip for one to Italy, India and Bali, including air, hotels, and Lonely Planet guidebooks.

:: More

[Visit for more travel sweepstakes.]

Free Flights Faster

The MilePort mileage manager makes it easy to review balances and program activity from more than 100 airline, hotel and points programs.

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

Use MilePort to manage your miles. It’s 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.

That JetBlue Flight Attendant

“That JetBlue flight attendant who made his own exit row at New York’s JFK spoke for a lot of us: We’re fed up with people’s ‘me first & only’ attitudes and obsession with having instant gratification. A lot of that is sourced in cell phone mania embodied in you-know-who.” [Ed N.]

Donating Miles to Charity

“I receive the AARP newsletters and notice that there is a program whereby unused frequent flyer miles can be donated to charity.

“Can you give me more information on how this program works? I would appreciate it.” [Frieda B. – Chicago, IL]

[ replies – There is no single program for donating frequent flyer miles to charity. Rather, each airline offers options within its own program for donating miles, typically to non-profit organizations of the airline’s choosing. Check with the program in which you’ve earned miles for supported organizations and donation procedures.]

Needed: Award Tickets to DEN

“We are senior citizens, 73 years old. Is there a program for individuals that want to donate airline tickets to us so we can fly from Billings, Montana to Denver, Colorado and stay in the Denver area for week give or take a day or two? This is strictly a personal vacation trip and we just do not have the finances to fly.” [Bob & Marg F. – Broadview, MT]

[ replies – I’m not aware of any program that links up frequent flyers who have miles with would-be travelers in need of tickets. If any of our readers are interested in donating miles, they can contact and we’ll pass along their contact information.]

United Elite-Qualifying Mileage Bonuses?

“Any news on when or if United will offer double elite qualifying miles this year?

“I am way behind on my miles for next year and have been delaying my trips until what I hoped will happen in the fourth quarter. Any thoughts? I see US Airways has an offer to jump your status, if United does not offer double miles then maybe I fly US Air all 4th quarter?” [Larry U.]

[ replies – Last year was a bonanza for elite-mile promotions, creating an expectation that this year would be as well. So far, though, that’s not been the case. It’s possible we’ll see some EQM promotions for fall travel, but I wouldn’t count on it.]

No Upgrade on American

“We just returned from Europe flying AA. The entire flying was awful. I booked this trip in January yet was never able to upgrade to business class. I paid full fare in order to be eligible for an upgrade. I called repeatedly and was told to keep checking that our names were on the list and we would be notified. I said I wanted seats as close to the front as possible if I didn’t get the upgrade. I checked at the airport in San Diego if I was getting the upgrade, they said not out of San Diego, but probably out of Dallas. When I checked at Dallas they said our name was never on the list. But a couple of minutes later a woman walked up to the gate and asked if she could get an upgrade and she got it. The gate attendant said well all you have are credit card miles, they don’t count for much.

“Needless to say we were not upgraded at any point along the way. Our up close seats consisted of getting row 25 in the middle 5 seats in a 777 where there is not enough room to even cross your legs or straighten you legs. Return flight row 37. They ran out of food, no apology just slapped some crap down in front of me, and said that was all they had. Flying back through Chicago we had 40 minutes to get off of the flight, go through security, get our bags, go back through security, check our bags again then go to another terminal. I asked if we could get some assistance was told NO, this is up to you to do! We are seniors, and had to run with our carry-on bags all the way. It was terrible. We have almost 300,000 advantage miles! Too bad they are worthless!!! Will not fly American again!!” [Nancy W.]

Until next week…