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Issue #637 — Dec. 8, 2010


Up Front

  • Tweet, Tweet
  • Big American Bonus, Thanks to Virgin America
  • For Charitable Giving, This Year Think Miles
  • Double Up When Buying Delta Miles
  • 50% Bonus for Amex Points Transferred to Delta
  • Q&A: How Can I Donate My Miles to a Worthy Charity?

On Site

  • FrequentFlier Forum Topics

Reader Rants & Raves

  • Feedback from the Frontlines of Travel

Sweeps & Freebies

  • Win a Trip for 4 to Melbourne

Steals & Deals

  • Deal Alert from

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:

More blog posts are here.

On Site

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 the conversation!

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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.

Hello American, Goodbye Continental

“Last July, I called Continental to book 2 seats JFK to Tokyo in business/first next April. I wanted to use miles for the trip. Continental told me that seats were available on their 777 flight but only at 300,000 miles per seat even for an Elite member. I checked with them and found that the flight had 50 seats and all 50 were available for purchase.

“I then called American and asked if I could get 2 seats to Tokyo for the April date. American flies the same 777 but on a 3-class aircraft. I inquired about seats in first class (Premier). I immediately got the 2 seats for 150,000 miles each. In real First class. I AM NOT AN ELITE MEMBER OF AMERICAN.

“Hello American — goodbye Continental.” [MHI]

Continental Elite Desk – Outstanding

“Over the years I have seen so many letters in the Rants and Raves section complaining about not being able to use miles to upgrade or buy seats. Although I have never had problems getting a ticket or upgrade in the past, this time there were three of us going to Japan, so I was prepared for there not being enough seats.

“I called the Elite Desk, told the lovely young woman what I wanted to do, was flexible in my dates and airports, and was calling ten months in advance of the trip. In short order she explored the options, including upgradable tickets, partner airlines, but rapidly came up with three seats together in Business Class for the dates we wanted and from our preferred airport.

“The seats were purchased with miles and were guaranteed. We paid only taxes. The $25 per person booking fee was well worth it. It appears that booking in plenty of time and a degree of flexibility is key. I have been an Elite Member (mostly Silver) since 1989, and I have never had any problem booking my flights or using my miles.” [Eve A.]

No Problems With Delta

“I’m puzzled that so many fliers have difficulty obtaining award travel on Delta. While I have never used a Delta award to travel internationally, I have used Delta to travel domestically and to Hawaii several times. While I’m usually not able to get the lowest tier award, I’m always able to obtain at least the mid-tier award, which saves a considerable amount of miles. I’ve also used Delta’s ‘Pay with Miles’ feature, which ensures that each mile is worth at least a penny.

“Most of the complaints I’ve read concern award travel for international flights. While I sympathize with frequent flyers who want to fly internationally using awards, it’s clear that airlines realize much more revenue for international travel versus domestic travel. Thus, there are fewer, if any, award seats available. A more legitimate complaint about Delta is the requirement that only higher priced coach fares are upgradeable using miles. When I fly internationally, I always travel in the lowest fare class available, and never in the Y, B, M fares necessary to upgrade using miles on Delta.” [Chris C. – San Diego, CA]

Grumps & Grinches

“My, what an array of grumps this week with Thanksgiving put to bed; Christmas just around the corner. Can imagine how they behave in the cabin when they do score an upgrade (yes, they’re readily identifiable).

“At least no one complained about sitting next to someone from Texas; I was waiting for that…” [Ed N.]

Until next week…

Sweeps & Freebies

Win a Trip for 4 to Melbourne

Enter Ticketmaster’s “President’s Cup Getaway” sweepstakes by April 1, 2011, for a chance to win a trip for four to Melbourne, Australia, to attend the 2011 President’s Cup golf tournament, including air, hotel, and event tickets.

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[Visit for more travel sweepstakes.]

Steals & Deals

Deal Alert from

1) JetBlue Sale From $19 Each Way – Ends Tonight

JetBlue has just announced an exciting, though short-lived, sale. Through midnight on Wednesday, find discounted one-way flights from $19 each way.

JetBlue’s sale is for flights from January through mid-February.

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2) $98 New York City Sale From American Airlines

With American Airlines’ latest sale, winter flights between the Big Apple and 30 cities are available from $98 round-trip.

Availability is for off-peak days from January through mid-February, but flights must be booked by December 13.

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