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Issue #630 – October 20, 2010

Up Front

  • Tweet, Tweet
  • Two Reasons Elite Status Matters More Than Ever
  • Bank More Miles for US Air Flights Charged to a MasterCard
  • United, Continental Flyers Share Elite Perks
  • United’s Mileage Mall Expands, Adds Offline Merchants
On Site

  • FrequentFlier Forum Topics
Steals & Deals

  • Deal Alert from
Sweeps & Freebies

  • Win a Wildlife Safari for Two
Reader Rants & Raves

  • Feedback from the Frontlines of Travel
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:

The FrequentFlier Forum – Hot Topics

As always, there’s plenty of activity on the FrequentFlier Forum, where fellow travelers discuss airlines, hotels, credit cards, and frequent flyer miles.

Questions, answers, tips, observations? Join us!

:: More

Deal Alert from

1) American and Southwest Sales From $54 Each Way

Southwest and American are going toe-to-toe this week with nearly identical new sales for fall and winter travel. Southwest’s one-way fares start at $54 ($108 round-trip), while American offers round-trip flights from $118. Cumulatively, these sales total more than 2,800 discounted routes.

Compare Southwest and American’s sale fares to the competition’s unannounced sale prices before these offers expire on Thursday, October 21.

:: More

2) $412 Air France Europe Sale – Travel Into 2011

Air France’s latest sale puts European cities such as London, Geneva, Milan, and Zurich on sale through 2011. Flights begin at $412 round-trip.

Fares are valid for travel late October through March 2011, but you must book by this Friday, October 22.

:: More


Win a Wildlife Safari for Two

Enter National Geographic’s “Migration of a Lifetime” sweepstakes by October 23 for a chance to win a nine-day safari for two in Tanzania, Africa, including air, hotel, and tours of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and Olduvai Gorge. The runner-up prize is a trip for two to Big Sur, California.

:: 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.

Change Fees, Overbooking, and Managing for Profit (continued from last week)

“Last year my daughter and I were going on DL from EWR to ATL to visit my sister. There was zip traffic and we got to the airport and through security in time for TWO flights EARLIER.

“I approached the counter and volunteered to go on either earlier flight if they needed seats on our flight — which I knew was sold out. ‘Sure you can, for $100 a person more.’ ‘No Way’ was our answer and we went for a snack. We sat there, and sure enough, when our boarding came, they were looking for EIGHT volunteers and offering a free ticket and $400. We declined, and I just shook my head when that same agent collected our boarding passes.

“Here stupidly they could have saved $800 plus two tickets but greed outweighed common sense. And this wasn’t the first or last time I have seen DL do this. They are the worst of the worst.” [Walter S. – Lafayette, NJ]

Trying to Be Loyal to United, But …

“In May, I booked an economy-class RT ticket from the United Airlines website for direct travel from IAD to DME (Moscow), as part of a larger journey to my home in Singapore.

“The ticket cost a few dollars shy of $1500 and as a Premier Elite customer, I used my miles to upgrade to business class for the first leg of the trip in August. Everything went off without incident.

“My return is planned for 21 December, 2010, and United has now informed me that they have cancelled their flight (without reason, although I suppose it’s a seasonal reason).

“The only alternative booking possible on the same day is with Lufthansa through Frankfurt (in economy class, of course). After five attempts and a 42-minute call back to the Mileage Plus desk in the U.S., United says that my points can not now be used to upgrade because my fare is not in the correct class. In fact, they can’t even guarantee any seat assignment until the day of my flight.

“Why are airlines, allegedly in the same alliance (Star, in this case), so loathe to help, especially since I was TRYING to be loyal to United, in the first place?

“I’m sure all airlines hope for full-fare paying customers in the meantime, and I understand that each airline has their own particular rules, but this is United’s total responsibility, in my opinion, and they should try to fix their problem.

“United took my money, changed the deal, and now say they’re helpless in getting me upgraded because my fare class is insufficient (when I never booked with Lufthansa in the first place — along with its codes) and as it’s with another airline (one they supposedly have alliances with but I am not keen to fly).

“Is there anything I can do to be more comfortable in what is shaping up to be a very uncomfortable and irritating inconvenience, let alone the possibilities that winter in central Europe may be blowing at full gale then?” [Bob A. – Singapore]

[ replies – Logically and ethically, United should of course stand behind its original commitment to upgrade you on the return. The only thing I can suggest is that you continue pressing the issue, insisting that United work with its partner Lufthansa to exercise flexibility and permit the upgrade, even if it’s from what it is normally an ineligible fare.]

Low Cost Carrier?

“I started checking into flights to Dallas in February for the Super Bowl.

“‘Low fare carrier’ Southwest wants $797.40 to fly roundtrip from New Orleans to Dallas, 03-07 February.

“Yes, it’s Super Bowl weekend, but still, that’s a little much.” [Jeffrey A.]

Until next week…