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Issue #623 — Sept. 1, 2010

CONTENTS

Up Front

  • Tweet, Tweet
  • US Airways’ Big Mileage Bonus Is for Big Buyers
  • This Fall, Up to Two Free Nights From Marriott
  • Miles for Rent Payments? Possible, but Pricey
  • Starwood Offers Double, Triple Points for Fall

On Site

  • FrequentFlier Forum Topics

Reader Rants & Raves

  • Feedback from the Frontlines of Travel

Sweeps & Freebies

  • Win a Trip for 2 to New York to See John Legend

Steals & Deals

  • Deal Alert from SmarterTravel.com

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, Max Bialystock makes the case against loyalty programs:

You can get points at THIS fare, but not THAT fare… You can earn points/miles on partner airlines, as long as you’re not booked in fare classes Z, Y, X, W, R, L, T or D… And you’re flying on any other day than Wednesday… (But just try to uncover exactly which fare class you’re booking for yourself while doing so online! And there’s an extra charge to talk to a human employee!)

The airlines treat the flying public with contempt, but still want us to buy their product and “buy into” their promotional nonsense. That’s what it has become — nonsense. It’s hardly worth bothering with, any more, and truthfully, I am not bothering with it. I declared a few months ago on this message board that from now on, I am going for the cheapest fare, period. If I “score” FF miles, all well and good. But the airlines do not deserve our loyalty as customers.

Oh, and don’t forget to login when booking your ticket online with your FF number, which will serve to automatically credit you with the FF miles once you’ve taken your flight. That is, unless the moon is full on the previous Monday, and you are flying in an even-numbered year. And Mars doesn’t bump into Jupiter, and the Cubs win the World Series.

Why don’t the airlines just withdraw these crazy schemes? I suppose there are enough people still wanting to get what they can. I don’t blame them. I just feel sorry for them by now.

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.


Positive Experience Redeeming Miles

“I, too, have had two positive frequent flyer redemption experiences. The first was this past July; a one-way flight (12,500 miles) on American, for travel from Boston to Toronto; (and, no, I wasn’t trying to escape from Obama). I was able to get the day and time with ease about two months prior to flying. Maybe American Eagle is more generous than the full sized planes.

“The second, although not as good, was just recently with Delta, from Providence RI to Orlando. The flights were about seven weeks out, so I was not able to get the 25,000 mileage seats; rather they charged me 12,500 down + 20,000 back = 32,500 per person; three people. My connections, in both directions were 1:15 or less; I arrived in Orlando at midnight (okay that stinks) but, with such short notice, and three people, I feel this time flaw, and mileage cost, were worth it.” [Phil C.]

Successful Retro Request for Alamo Miles

“In the spirit of generating more ‘raves’ (but free of last week’s reader haughtiness), there is a relatively small item today that’s worth a big measure of good will and loyalty in return to the vendor.

“When Alamo car rental runs an online weekend sale promotion, one can miss entering a frequent flyer account and number because the space is on a page separate from the initial booking. So, in reviewing a June rental after making a new booking with Alamo today, I found my oversight.

“A simple telephone call to Alamo customer service provided the credit, without question or charge, and the customer representative’s ‘We appreciate your business’ closing comment.” [Ed N.]

Is This Newsletter for Frequent Criers?

“Hopefully the miles whiners are waking up to smell the over-roasted coffee of flying in this new century. The thing that has always amazed me about this newsletter is the name ‘Frequent Flier Crier.’ The Crier part I see, as these people whine about not being able to use points/miles, etc. But the frequent flier part seems to miss the target audience and reach these folks whose miles are about to expire or whose points ‘won’t get me to Europe.’

“If they are truly ff’s, they already have read all the first page and fine print and know they should expect 2-1, 5-1, and even 10-1, transfers. If they were really ff’s, they’d be able to build their ‘bank’ relatively quickly and do as they please with miles/points. Every time I have used points or miles to go on vacation somewhere, the points for the hotels are more than enough and I don’t much care about how many miles it cost to fly first class to anywhere, as those will be covered again within 6 months, ready for another fun time somewhere.

“I think the point is that the hotels and airlines still have to make money, and that comes first. Duh. Free rooms and free planes are for the truly ‘frequent’ people, who the companies know will spend more money right away and offset the costs of these perks, which, yes, have diminished as costs rise. Not hard to understand, is it? Once someone quits flying for their job, as I would like to do someday, there are well-written rules in place to inform that there is a limited amount of time to use the freebies and perks, and then, like a good deal of any kind, ‘when it’s gone, it’s gone.’ I’m thinking that either we can’t read anymore, or are so self-centered that, as a society, we feel like all the companies of the world owe us for being loyal for so many years, and then 2, 3, or 10 years later, they need to pay up. Wow. How ridiculous. See ya in Hawaii while I am staying in a resort property (free), having flown there in First Class (for $10 and I don’t care how many miles).” [Kevin D.]

Airline Frequent Flyer Alliances

“I travelled on Aer Lingus and Royal Brunei in July. Are they Frequent Flyer partners of Continental, Qantas, or Star Alliance?” [Tyrone D.]

[FrequentFlier.com replies - Aer Lingus is not a member of the Star Alliance, but they do have a frequent flyer relationship with United. Royal Brunei has its own program, Royal Skies, but no tie-ups with other airlines or global alliances.]


Until next week…

Sweeps & Freebies

Win a Trip for 2 to New York to See John Legend

Enter American Airlines’ “John Legend Wake Up! Concert” sweepstakes by September 30 for a chance to win a trip for two to New York to attend the John Legend Wake Up! concert, including 180,000 AAdvantage miles (to cover air), one hotel night, and concert tickets. (If you’re not a John Legend fan, you could forego the concert and use the miles to fly somewhere else.)

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[Visit FrequentFlier.com for more travel sweepstakes.]

Steals & Deals

Deal Alert from SmarterTravel.com

1) American Matches Southwest’s Sale – $53 Each Way

Southwest has spurred rival carrier American into a head-to-head competition against its newest sale. Now you have two airlines to choose from for fall travel deals. All told, the airlines are discounting prices on more than 2,400 routes, but only for purchase through Thursday. This week’s sale fares start at $53 one-way ($106 round-trip) on Southwest, and $118 round-trip on American.

Also competing with these new sales are Delta, United, and US Airways, all of which offer sale fares for travel through mid-December. Book tickets on each airline by Thursday, September 2.

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2) $620 Europe and Africa Sale From Lufthansa

Lufthansa’s latest sale includes popular and off-the-beaten-path destinations in Europe, including Belgrade, Budapest, Casablanca, Johannesburg, and Prague. Departures are available from 10 U.S. cities, with round-trip rates starting at $620.

Travel is available from September through January, but book fares by September 8.

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