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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 several readers responded to the request from bizflyer for sources of ultra-cheap airfares for use in mileage runs (flights taken solely for the purpose of reaching elite status):
Sites like AirfareWatchdog or Travelocity have tried to offer emails tracking fares to Favorite Cities from Your Home Airport, but the fares were never indicative of the final ticket price and in particular … not very good for specific dates.
That being said, international travel is what always guarantees my perennial (2nd tier) Elite status. [SeansInChicago]
Is it really worth for you doing that? And to what level are you trying to reach? Unless it’ll definitely benefit you, don’t just do it for the sake of getting “Gold” status (forget about Silver). By achieving “Silver” or “Gold” status these days, you may get away with paying fees for checking in your luggages in domestic trips and that’s about it. Well, you’ll get “unlimited” upgrade promise by the airlines also. [traiviet]
I agree with traiviet, getting status means that you need to be flying sufficiently in the future to actually obtain value from it. Flying for flying’s sake — yes, there are some FF’s out there, but they are a small minority.
Now, I am sure that most airlines have the deals on their websites (for example, AA’s current offers to Europe) — but is there an aggregator that will pull them all together into a website. There probably are — but be careful as some of the cheapest fares either earn a discounted value towards status, or none at all. Sometimes, it is better value to pay a little more for a fare that will give full status mileage/points. [QF WP]
Questions, answers, tips, observations? Join the conversation!
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.
Low Cost Carrier? (continued from last week)
“In rebuttal to Kathy K.’s and Brian T.’s replies to my comments on Southwest, “Low Fare Carrier?”, I would state that,
“(1) AA has never offered $89 flights from Dallas to New Orleans on 07 Feb 2011. The lowest fare is $137. You have to travel on the 8th to get an $89 fare; and
“(2) Extending a weekend trip by an extra two days, thereby making it a one week journey, is not an option for everyone!” [Jeffrey A. - New Orleans, LA]
The US Air Effect
“Perhaps I missed your mention of it, but US Airways has also been offering unpublicized Boston and Pittsburgh flight bonuses for flights to/from these former US Airways ‘focus’ cities, where US airways has lost massive market share through poor price matching, inferior regional commuter jet (CRJ/RJ) equipment (up through ER 175 with no first class, poor overheads, and no emergency exit row for higher status fliers who want to avoid bloodclots in their legs), and reduced non-stop schedules to allow inflated rip-off pricing which brought in direct competition in Boston to their hub cities of Philly (Southworst), Charlotte (Jet Blue), DCA (Jet Blue), and Phoenix (Southworst), as well as Boston service to US Airways’ former focus cities of Pittsburgh (Jet Blue), Buffalo (Jet Blue) and Las Vegas (Southworst).
“It has been such a predictable outcome for US Airways: The top 10 most highly priced U.S. city-pair airfares always includes an underserved (usually recently reduced) US Airways city from Boston, and within 6-12 months, Jet Blue and Southworst come in to fix the pricing, pick up the market share and clean up the business.” [Joe M.]
Save AirTran’s Business-Class Seats
“Have you seen this effort to save the Business Class and reserved seating programs after Southwest acquires AirTran? http://www.airtransos.com/
“For those of us who fly AirTran and take advantage of the Business Class upgrade at check-in for $49 or $69 one way, the loss of this benefit will cause us to consider other airlines. If for no other reason, the video on this site is an outstanding slam on ‘the Southwest Experience’!
“You should contact the guy behind the site and push it on your own.” [John P.]
Citi AAdvantage Credit Card Bonus
“I received via email this week what I believe is the most lucrative sign-up bonus ever offered for a Citi/AAdvantage co-brand credit card. The offer explicitly says it is targeted and may not be passed on.
“75,000 bonus miles … but must spend $10,000 in first six months. Deal is good on either the Platinum Visa, Amex, or Business Card.
“I’m tempted to get it. Citi really ticked me off a few years ago and I have avoided them since then… but 75K miles is a nice carrot.” [Glenn]
Until next week…
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Deal Alert from SmarterTravel.com
1) JetBlue Domestic and Caribbean Sale From $41 Each Way
November and December travel is on sale with JetBlue’s just-announced sale. One-way flights start at $41, and destinations include many cities within the States as well as a few in the Caribbean.
JetBlue’s sale ends on Tuesday, November 9, but travel is valid through mid-December.
2) Europe Sale Flights on American – From $512
American Airlines’ Europe sale is extended through Tuesday, November 16, with travel availability through mid-April 2011. Included are flights to many Western European cities such as Brussels, Frankfurt, Milan, Paris, Rome, and Zurich.
American’s sale fares start at $512 round-trip, but look to competitors, including Continental, Delta, United, and Air Canada for cheaper flights.