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Issue #626 — Sept. 22, 2010

CONTENTS

Up Front

  • Tweet, Tweet
  • Hotel Bonuses – Get ‘Em While They’re Still Hot
  • Southwest Launches Mileage Grab for Denver Flyers
  • Fly to Tahiti for Fewer American Miles
  • US Airway’s 100% Bonus Changes the Mile-Buying Game
  • Continental to Sever Ties With American Express

On Site

  • FrequentFlier Forum Topics

Reader Rants & Raves

  • Feedback from the Frontlines of Travel

Sweeps & Freebies

  • Win a Trip for 2 to Antigua

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.

Hotel Bonuses – Get ‘Em While They’re Still Hot

As we near the end of what could be the longest sustained period of hotel promotional activity ever, travelers should take advantage of the big bonuses before time runs out.

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On Site

The FrequentFlier Forum – Hot Topics

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

In the “Airline Programs” forum, cowboyinbrla contributes the following perspective on the Continental-United merger:

[C]orporate mergers do not require the approval of the US government; rather, they require the government not to object. There’s a fundamental difference.

If Company A and Company B want to merge, essentially the only legal avenue the government has to stop them is an antitrust action — that is, suing to stop the merger on the grounds that it is so anticompetitive that a monopoly position would result in the industry. And despite how bad this may be for consumers, this merger doesn’t begin to rise to that level.

From the standpoint of revenue passenger miles (a common yardstick of market share), for the year ending May 2010 United and Continental had a combined 18% of the market. Together, they’d be the largest carrier, but with Delta/Northwest at 16.6%, and AA and Southwest at 13.8% each, the UA/CO combo would hardly be anything approaching a monopoly, except perhaps on a few selected routes. Significantly, almost 20% of the RPM’s for the year in question were flown by carriers other than the “Big Ten” (AA, UA, DL, NW, CO, US, SW, AS, AT, JB).

For better or worse, the government simply doesn’t have the tools to interfere with a merger of this sort.

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.


Redeeming Delta Miles for International First Class

“When Singapore Airlines left the SkyMiles program, they took with them the only remaining possibility of an international First Class awards ticket in the SkyMiles program.

“I save up my miles — I am gold medallion level — to use on first class tickets to Asia. I have complained about this issue to Delta and others tell me they have also, but so far Delta seems to be making no effort to deal with this issue, even though they have a member, Korean Air, that flies first class.

“I have informed Delta that unless they reinstate an international First Class Award, I will be forced to move elsewhere (the two other major alliances both offer it). Delta seems unconcerned about losing my 50,000 effective miles flown per year. Too bad, because they are not so bad with domestic upgrades.” [Nancy E.]

Redeeming Delta Miles for Hawaii Flights

“I am trying to find out the best way to use my Delta frequent flier miles to fly to Hawaii first class in October 2011.

“I read your site every week, but I cannot find where this question has been asked or any place that can help me.

“I am not very good at the computer looking things up. I was hoping that you could point me in the right direction for information about this topic on your site or other sites.” [Robin B. - Fort Wayne, IN]

[FrequentFlier.com replies - The simplest solution is to redeem 180,000 miles for award tickets that are unencumbered by capacity restrictions. But with restricted Hawaii awards offered for 75,000 miles, you'll want to explore that option first. In that case, try the following:

Let us know what you decide, and how it worked out.]


Until next week…

Sweeps & Freebies

Win a Trip for 2 to Antigua

Enter Fitness Magazine’s “You Can Do It” sweepstakes by October 11 for a chance to win a three-night stay for two at St. James’s Club Resort in Antigua, gift cards to be used toward airfare/travel costs, spa treatments, and daily breakfast for two.

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[Visit FrequentFlier.com for more travel sweepstakes.]

Steals & Deals

Deal Alert from SmarterTravel.com

1) JetBlue Sale – $39 Each Way Through Thursday

Today’s new JetBlue sale is big news for fans of other airlines, too — particularly American, Continental, Delta, United, US Airways, Alaska, and AirTran — all of which have dipped their toes into the sale waters with matching prices on select routes.

Flights start at $39 each way, $78 round-trip. Travel at the discounted rates is valid through either November 17 or December 15, depending on the route. Book by Thursday, September 23.

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2) $398 Europe Flights on Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus’ latest promotion offers discounted flights to Paris, Barcelona, London, Rome, and others, from $398 round-trip. Aer Lingus’ prices are similar to those offered by American, Continental, and United.

The travel period extends into March 2011, but the sale itself has no expiration date so it could disappear at any moment.

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