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Use this link to follow us on Twitter and stay abreast of the latest in frequent flyer program news, opinion, and advice.
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.
In the “Airline Programs” forum, RX8owner is looking for ways to reach elite status:
I need to fly eight more segments in 2010 to reach 1K status on United. Depending on price of flights, I may just buy a couple of round trip tickets involving a change each way (i.e. two flights out, two flights back in one day, do it again the next week).
Any suggestions as to the cheapest destinations from BDL (Hartford, CT)?
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.
United’s Upgrade Co-Pays
“As an elite status member, I am eligible for free upgrades to Hawaii (unlimited domestic upgrade program). So imagine my surprise to find out that when I wanted to confirm an upgrade using miles, not only did I need to provide the 15K in miles, but also a $300 co-pay (because it’s Hawaii)!
“Note this does not apply when I upgrade using miles on PS flights to JFK. The ticket from LAX-HNL was only 400 bucks. UAL is not navigating the merger and their elite programs well.” [Erik P.]
US Air Award Prices
“Why would the mileage requirements for flights on US Air be double the point requirements of several other airlines? IF you can find the availability for 1st class award seats on just about any date — check out the 1st Class point requirements for Phoenix to Hawaii. We booked 2 roundtrip first-class tickets on American for a total of 150,000 miles. US Air wanted around 180,000 miles PER PASSENGER or 360,000 miles.
“US Air recently was soliciting members to vote for their awards program in the recent nationwide competition. You MUST be kidding. Finding open 1st class seats — even 320 days in advance – at double the miles is nearly impossible. Sure, US Air has a great deal on purchasing miles — but then, just try to use them. Ugh!” [Mark M. - Arizona]
Delta’s Program ‘Bottom of the Barrel’
“I just tried to book a trip for late August 2011 (it is now November, 2010) with a combination of Delta/Air France and was told there is no availability on Air France — we’re talking NINE MONTHS AWAY, and of course I can buy tickets for my routing on the Air France website. When I mentioned that to the Delta reservationist, he suggested that I use my award mileage to get to the Air France gateway and then buy my Air France ticket. What a GREAT use of my Delta miles — use award mileage and pay airfare besides!
“In general when looking for award travel on Delta it’s cost me more miles than any of my other award programs, and their charging double for one way awards makes their program bottom of the barrel — just a whisker below US Airways!” [Ellen S.]
Minneapolis to San Francisco, By Way of Paris
“I had the most interesting yet outrageous experience trying to book a KLM/Delta multi-city business class trip using miles. I’m an American living in Amsterdam, Neth. and tried to go from AMS to MSP with a stopover, then on to SFO before returning to AMS. As is typical on KLM/Delta, trying to use miles results in the screwiest itineraries but this one tops them all. For the MSP to SFO segment, I could fly business class using my miles; however, the itinerary was MSP to CDG France then non-stop to SFO. But, an even crazier one was MSP to CDG France then on to MEXICO!! then to SFO.
“This is such a good illustration of why the airlines are having trouble making a profit. A smart business would use the most cost-effective way to get me from MSP to SFO, but not this one. Moreover, is this how they get away with saying ‘we do have seats available using miles’ (but wait until you see that it will take you three days to get there)! I guess that if I wanted to layover in Paris and then Mexico, it would give me international travel for low miles, but come on!” [Jan M., a very disgusted traveler]
Until next week…
Win a Trip for 2 to a South Beach Food Festival
Enter Dash’s “Wine & Food Festival” sweepstakes by December 31 for a chance to win a three-night trip for two to Miami to attend the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, including air and hotel.
[Visit FrequentFlier.com for more travel sweepstakes.]
Deal Alert from SmarterTravel.com
1) Southwest Sale Prices From $41 Each Way
Southwest’s new sale officially starts at $59 one-way, but there are even lower prices starting at just $41 one-way. All told, the newly announced sale features more than 3,400 discounted routes to nearly 70 destinations.
Southwest’s sale is valid through Monday, December 13, for flights into early March.
2) Today Only: Jamaica Sale From $64 Each Way
For bookings through midnight tonight, AirTran has discounted January and February flights to Montego Bay. Departures are available from 43 U.S. cities.
One-way rates start at $64 ($128 round-trip), and the sale fares are the lowest — unless another low-cost carrier such as USA 3000 or Spirit is already covering your specific route.