Features on topics related to travel and marketing generally, and frequent flyer programs particularly.
Articles first appearing in SmarterTravel.com
- Frequent Flyer Miles, Thirty Years Later (5/13/11)
Can 30 years of frequent flyer program history be summarized in 10 events or trends? You be the judge.
- The Most Rewarding Credit Card? It Depends (4/15/11)
Miles and points are just the beginning when choosing a travel rewards card. Also on the table:more miles, status, reduced fees, award discounts.
- The Value of a Frequent Flyer Mile Revisited (3/10/11)
After three decades of earning and burning frequent flyer miles, what do we know about their value?
- Long Run of Generous Hotel Bonuses May Be Ending (2/11/11)
With improved prospects, hotels may throttle back on bonuses. Book before they’re gone.
- Southwest Changes Course With New Rewards Program (1/14/11)
The launch of Southwest’s all-new Rapid Rewards program on March 1 will be a defining moment for the airline, and its customers.
- The Top 10 Miles-and-Points Events of 2010 (12/20/10)
It was an eventful year for travel loyalty programs, and a passably good one for program members.
- The Airlines Get Serious About Non-Flight Awards (11/15/10)
At least one airline now offers awards that rival free flights in value. It’s a small step in the right direction.
- Two Reasons Elite Status Matters More Than Ever (10/14/10)
Elite status offers some relief for two of air travel’s biggest downsides, packed planes and high fees. Mileage run, anyone?
- Hotel Bonuses – Get ‘Em While They’re Still Hot (9/20/10)
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.
- You Earned ‘Em, Now Keep Your Frequent Flyer Miles From Expiring (8/16/10)
Paradoxically, while it’s easier than ever to lose one’s miles to stricter expiration policies, it’s also easier than ever to keep them alive.
- Alternative Frequent Flyer Awards… Magazine Subscriptions, Anyone? (7/19/10)
With flights fuller than ever, and airlines desperate to squeeze every last dollar from every last customer, award seats are scarce. There are other options.
- Learning to Love the Fees We Hate, With the Airlines’ Help (6/14/10)
There’s a case to be made that airline fees are fair and sensible. The airlines, however, may lack the moral authority to make it.
- In Tough Times, Airlines Get Nasty, Travelers Get Crafty (4/26/10)
To an uncommon degree, the fortunes of travelers rise and fall with the fortunes of the airlines that serve them.And the airlines’ fortunes have been dismal.
- Five Signs of a Frequent Flyer Rebound (3/22/10)
While there’s plenty of bad news for travel suppliers and their customers, there are a few hopeful signs of recovery.
- With Frequent Flyer Programs, Keep Up Or Lose Out (2/22/10)
The only thing worse than bad news is being blindsided by bad news.
- New 2010 Promotions Look a Lot Like Last Year’s(1/25/10)
Latest travel offers are deja vu all over again. Still, a blast from the past is still a blast.
- Pile Up Miles with Holiday Shopping (12/21/09)
Last-minute holiday shopping tips for the mileage set.
- Full Flights Will Cost Flyers (And Not Just Money) (11/23/09)
When airlines fly full, frequent flyers pay the price.
- There’s a New Frequent Flyer Sheriff in Town (10/21/09)
After absorbing Northwest, Delta’s is world’s largest mileage program.
- Elite Perks … Get ‘Em While You Can! (9/18/09)
At least for now, elite perks are within reach of the many.
- Buy Now, Fly Later (8/24/09)
Frequent flyers can earn plenty of miles without flying.
- Bad Times for Travel Are Good for Elite Travelers (7/24/09)
For elite travelers, bad news means good times.
- Ongoing Hotel Slump Means More Deals for Summer Travel (6/22/09)
Never before have so many hotels offered so many bonuses.
- Hotels’ Free Night Offers Are Not the Same (5/17/09)
New InterContinental and Starwood promotions, compared.
- Five Ways Mileage Programs Are Like Ponzi Schemes (4/27/09)
Are frequent flyer programs Ponzi schemes?
- Five Reasons to Travel Now (3/23/09)
Yes, we can (and should) travel.
- Bucking Negative Trend, Hopeful Signs for Frequent Flyer Programs (2/16/09)
There are signs of life among the gloom-and-doom.
- A Silver Lining to Travel Turndown: More Loyalty Points (1/19/09)
Six major hotel chains offer bonuses for stays at 15,000 hotels.
- The Five Most Significant Travel Events of 2008 (12/19/08)
It was another mixed-bag year for travelers.
- Airline Flip-Flops Leave Travelers Dazed and Confused (11/22/08)
The real cost of travel? Hard to say!
- Amid the Bad News, Five Bright Spots for Travelers (10/21/08)
Travel industry’s pain is travelers’ gain.
- 10 Hotel Promotions to Make Fall Travel More Rewarding (9/18/08)
Fall hotel promotions heat up.
- The Latest Reward for Flyers’ Loyalty: Fees (8/20/08)
The fee-for-all has begun.
- Who Will Rescue Frequent Flyer Programs From the Airlines? (7/24/08)
Could the banks save frequent flyer programs?
- For Mileage Programs, the Worst Is Yet to Come (6/21/08)
Upcoming capacity cuts will make awards harder to come by.
- Free Flights Fastest?Not So Fast! (5/19/08)
And the award for the most generous mileage program goes to…
- Airline Bedlam Confounds Experts, Imperils Frequent Flyer Miles (4/21/08)
Future is murky for airlines, frequent flyer miles.
- Airlines Strive to Restore Mileage Programs’ Lost Luster (3/17/08)
New features firm up miles’ value.
- Winter Is Peak Season for Frequent Flyer Bonuses (2/18/08)
Cold weather, hot deals!
- Are Travel Loyalty Programs Losing Their Mojo? (1/21/08)
To be or not to be. Loyal, that is.
- Savvy Santas Shop For Frequent Flyer Miles At The Mall (12/12/07)
‘Tis the season for bonuses at the mileage malls.
- Airline Mileage Programs Continue Downward Spiral (11/21/07)
For frequent flyers, it’s all bad news, all the time.
- When Frequent Flyer Miles Are for Sale, It’s Buyer Beware (10/29/07)
The price of miles: High!
- The Great Credit Card Debate: Frequent Flyer Miles Or Cash Rebate? (9/24/07)
The bottom line on credit card value.
- Airlines’ Fuzzy Math Leaves Travelers Up In The Air (8/27/07)
Prescription for airlines’ credibility problem: truth serum.
- Frequent Flyer Credit Cards Ratchet Up Rewards (7/16/07)
Cards lure customers with free flights, nights.
- Airlines Rewrite the Rulebook on Expiring Miles (6/25/07)
New (stingy) industry standard is in the making.
- Frequent Flyer Rules, They Are a Changin’ (5/28/07)
Changes require patience, vigilance.
- Airline Partnerships Expand Options for Earning, Redeeming Miles (4/23/07)
Alliances call for new strategies.
- Award Flexibility Taking Off, One Flight at a Time (3/26/07)
One-way awards are increasingly available.
- Finally, Online Award Booking Done Right (2/26/07)
American takes lead in award transparency.
- Winter Is Peak Season for Earning, Redeeming Miles (1/22/07)
Earn ’em and burn ’em while you can!
- A Frequent Flyer’s Christmas Wish List (12/18/06)
This year, how ’bout a little transparency?
- ‘Tis The Season To Earn More, Give More Frequent Flyer Miles (11/20/06)
Year-end mileage opportunities abound.
- New Rules Change Life Expectancy Of Frequent Flyer Miles (10/16/06)
Changes bring policies of discounters, mainline carriers closer together.
- Online Shopping Malls Beckon Mileage Mavens (8/21/06)
Earn miles for online purchases.
- Consolidate Your Frequent Flyer Miles? (7/17/06)
It’s possible, but pricey.
- To Earn Airline Miles, Plastic Is Fantastic (6/19/06)
Credit cards play major role in mileage game.
- Latest Generation of Credit Cards Aims for Sweet Spot in Travel Rewards (5/22/06)
Search for the ideal rewards card yields novel hybrids.
- Hotel Programs Make Room at the Top for Frequent (and not so Frequent) Guests (4/24/06)
Elite status is within easy reach in some frequent-stay programs.
- Airlines Hope that Merchandise Is Just the Ticket for Frequent Flyers (3/27/06)
Will non-travel rewards take pressure off scarce award seats?
- For Mileage Programs, Bigger Isn’t Always Better (2/27/06)
In the world of frequent flyer programs, smaller sometimes rules.
- Top 10 Mileage Tips (1/23/06)
Excerpts from “Mileage Pro – The Insider’s Guide to Frequent Flyer Programs”
- How Diners Club Lost Its Mileage Mojo (1/18/06)
A leading program surrenders its edge.
- Checklist for More Frequent Flyer Miles in 2006 (12/21/05)
Start the new year right, mileage-wise.
- ‘Tis the Season for Gifts and Frequent Flyer Miles (11/30/05)
Give and ye shall receive.
- Troubled Airlines Downsize to Survive (10/31/05)
Result: fewer frequent flyer miles, awards.
- Delta, Northwest Bankruptcies Leave Frequent Flyers Fretting Fate of Miles (9/15/05)
For consumers: real risk, few options.
- Donate to Hurricane Relief Efforts (9/3/05)
Miles, points and cash help aid agencies help hurricane victims.
- Miles, Miles, Miles (9/1/05)
Earn frequent flyer miles for… well, just about anything.
- New Under the Sun (8/1/05)
Summer is peak season for mileage program developments.
- Hoping for the Best, Preparing for the Worst (7/5/05)
Insurance can mitigate the risks of travel, but only partially.
- Frequent Flyer Programs by the Numbers (5/30/05)
What the airlines’ annual reports reveal about their loyalty programs.
- Airlines Increase Award Options for Frequent Flyers (4/25/05)
American, United pump up award catalogs. Other carriers are sure to follow.
- Airlines Offer More Elite Status, Fewer Elite Perks (3/28/05)
As elite benefits decline, so does the value of loyalty.
- ‘Tis the Season for Hotel Bonuses (2/28/05)
Q&A: Are miles tax-dedictible when donated to charity?
- Frequent Flyer Miles — Use ’em or Lose ’em in 2005 (1/24/05)
Miles are at risk during the coming year.
- Rack Up Frequent Flyer Miles For Holiday Shopping (12/27/04)
In Santa’s sack: miles-for-shopping bonuses
- Managing the Risk of Lost Frequent Flyer Miles (11/29/04)
Consumers should hedge their mileage bets (while they still can).
- American Adds Fees for Upgrades (10/29/04)
Q&A: My award trip isn’t until Spring. Will Delta still be flying?
- Frequent Flyer Awards Evolve from “Free” to “For Fee” (9/27/04)
Book an award by phone? It’ll cost you!
- Faltering Airlines Leave Frequent Flyer Miles in Limbo (9/12/04)
Consumers have limited options.
- Just How Rewarding Are Airline Rewards Programs? (8/30/04)
Questionable award availability undermines value of miles.
- As Big Mileage Programs Focus, Small Programs Expand (7/26/04)
Airlines fine tune programs.
- To Earn Points for Hotel Stays, Read the Fine Print (6/28/04)
Q&A: Can miles be used for one-way award travel?
- Transfer Miles(5/24/04)
For a Limited Time (and for a Price)
- Summer Is Crunch Time for Frequent Flyer Awards (4/26/04)
Q&A: Are miles redeemable on partner airlines
- New Hotel Program Is Still “Under Construction” (3/26/04)
Q&A: Can I Earn Miles for Paying My Income Taxes?
- Not All Free Ticket Offers Are Created Equal (2/23/04)
Q&A: No Award Seats… Bait & Switch?
- Airlines Ring In 2004 with Bonus Miles, Free Tickets (1/26/04)
Q&A: Will Airlines Match Elite Status on Other Carriers?
- Some Airlines Offer Shorter Path to Elite Perks (12/29/03)
Q&A: No BA Elite Credit for Discount Fares?
- Global Airline Alliances Expand Award Options (11/24/03)
Q&A: Convert miles using Points.com?
- Changes at the Top Roil Elite Flyers (10/27/03)
Q&A: $100 to change an award ticket!?!
- Do the New Math When Earning Miles for Car Rentals (9/29/03)
Q&A: Where did my National Comps points go?
- To Maximize Miles, Keep Track of Airline Partner Changes (8/30/03)
Q&A: How can I consolidate miles from different programs?
- These Days, “Full Service” Means More Frequent Flyer Miles (7/28/03)
Q&A: Where Do Miles Go When Their Owner Dies?
- When Comparing Deals, the Devil’s in the Details (6/23/03)
Q&A: How Can I Help My Granddaughter with My Miles?
- The Future Face of Mileage Programs: Smaller, Meaner (5/26/03)
Q&A: Can I Consolidate Miles from Several Programs?
- Cash In Frequent Flyer Miles and Cross Your Fingers (4/27/03)
Q&A: Where Can I Find Blackout Dates?
- Call Home for Frequent Flyer Miles (3/24/03)
Q&A: Frequent Flyer Miles Redeemable for Hotel Stays?
- Frequent Flyers Turn Tax Pain Into Mileage Gain (2/23/03)
Q&A: Sprint Charges to Earn Miles?
- As Mileage Programs Evolve, Beware and Be Vocal (1/22/03)
Q&A: Miles for Past Flights?
- United Bankruptcy Clouds Future of Frequent Flyer Miles (12/22/02)
Q&A: Tax Deduction for Mileage Donation?
- Elite Status for 2003: Get It While You Can (11/27/02)
Q&A: What to Do with Expiring Miles?
- United-US Airways Link Puts More Miles in Play (10/24/02)
Q&A: Mileage Surcharge for Car Rentals?
- More Changes Ahead for Frequent Flyers (9/21/02)
Q&A: Airlines to Discontinue Mileage Programs?
- Bankruptcy, Liquidation Imperil Frequent Flyer Miles (8/27/02)
What’s a worried mileage miser to do?
- Airline Bankruptcy Causes Mileage Jitters (8/25/02)
Q&A: Earning Miles for Someone Else’s Flights?
- To Earn More Miles, Just Do It Online (7/28/02)
Q&A: Best Program for College-bound Daughter?
- Your Choice: Cheap Tickets or Frequent Flyer Miles (6/23/02)
Q&A: Best Days for Award Travel?
- JetBlue’s TrueBlue BooBoo (6/19/02)
New program is big on simplicity, small on rewards.
- Save Miles on Summer Travel with Award Sales (5/26/02)
Q&A: What to Do with US Airways Miles?
- On the Menu: Frequent Flyer Miles for Dining (4/28/02)
Q&A: Which Programs Have Family Accounts?
- New Benefit for Frequent Flyers: Shorter Security Lines (3/24/02)
Q&A: How Can I Use Miles to Upgrade?
- Coffee, Tea & Security (1/9/02)
Now and forever more, inflight service and security are linked.
- In a Bad-News Year, American Delivers the Goods (12/19/01)
Year-end thoughts about AAdvantage and an interview with its current chief.
- Travel Industry’s Pain Is Travelers’ Gain (11/23/01)
Troubled times create mileage windfall for frequent flyers.
- Looming Bankruptcies Threaten Airline Miles (10/18/01)
What to do when bad things happen to good miles.
- Use Miles as Business-Boosters (9/16/01)
After discounts, consumers prefer mileage incentives.
- On the Menu: Steak, Potatoes & Miles (8/20/01)
Eat your way to free flights with dining miles.
- Off-Price Awards Stretch Value of Miles (7/20/01)
Some frequent flyer awards are freer than others.
- TWA — The Endgame (6/18/01)
Aviators program will be decommissioned on November 30th.
- Points.com Makes Mile Exchange Easy (5/19/01)
But convenience, flexibility come at a high price.
- New Loyalty Program Awards Diplomas, Not Trips (4/24/01)
uPromise helps deliver on promise of higher education.
- Frequent Flyer Programs — A Partnership Primer (3/16/01)
How programs work (and why they sometimes don’t).
- Uncertainty Prevails in World of Online Rewards Programs (2/16/01)
A program shakeout looms, jeapordizing miles and points.
- TWA: On Final Approach (1/24/01)
Where will your miles land?
- 2000 — The (Mileage) Year in Review (12/20/00)
The highlights of year 2000… good, bad and otherwise.
- Thinking Elite Thoughts (11/21/00)
Year-end reflections on elite status, upgrades and the definition(s) of ‘mile’
- AOL AAdvantage Lifts Off (10/13/00)
Is the much anticipated launch of this high-profile program premature?
- You’ve Got Miles! (09/17/00)
E-mail Account Statements arrive; more are coming.
- Two Trends Affect Alliances (08/30/00) [Part 3 of 3]
Your Frequent Flyer Miles will be affected as well.
- Global Airline Alliances Offer Real Benefits for International Travelers (07/12/00)
[Part 2 of 3]
But domestic-only flyers should seek value elsewhere.
- Global Airline Alliances Dominate the Travel Landscape (06/13/00) [Part 1 of 3]
Thinking globally can benefit travelers (and their miles).
- Bank Cards Look Alot Like Airline Cards (05/24/00)
But the differences run deep.
- Debit Cards Earn Miles, Too (04/12/00)
There ARE mileage-earning debit cards available, but not many.
- Airlines Disclose Frequent Flyer Program Data (03/22/00)
Token disclosure begs the question: Do we need a passenger bill of rights, after all?
- How to Earn Miles at Tax Time (03/09/00)
Use a credit card to earn miles when paying taxes.
- Need Miles? Go to the Supermarket! (02/22/00)
Earn miles for supermarket purchases.
- AOL AAdvantage (02/04/00)
American, AOL join forces to launch new mileage program.
- Which Program is for Me? (01/27/00)
When evaluating loyalty programs, ask and answer four questions.
- Start the New Year Right, Mileage-Wise (01/09/00)
Three resolutions for frequent fliers can make for a productive year.
- Frequent Flier Miles Last a Long Time, But NOT Forever (12/14/99)
Airline miles remain a perishable commodity, like the airline seats they were designed to help fill.
- Earn More Free Flights (12/01/99)
Use holiday shopping to maximize miles.
- Donate the Gift of Travel, Free (11/15/99)
Frequent flyers can use miles-for-charity programs to help the needy.
- Reach Elite, Before It’s Too Late (11/08/99)
Make it a priority to attain elite status before the end of the year.
- Top Off to Take Off (10/26/99)
If you’re a few miles short of an award, some programs let you “top off” your account with purchased miles.
- ANA’s Artistic Aircraft (02/25/99)
All Nippon Airways’ “Pokemon” 747 is an airborne eyeful of cartoon characters.
- Expiring Miles (11/08/98)
How you manage expiring miles is key to maximizing frequent flyer program value.
- Welcome Back, PAL (10/08/98)
After being declared dead, PAL has reached accord with its labor groups and is back in action.
- Farewell, PAL (09/26/98)
Philippine Airlines has succumbed to the Asian contagion and management-labor discord.
- Airline Alliances Firm Up (09/05/98)
How the major-carrier marriages are shaping up, and how they will benefit frequent flyers.
- Wanted: Combinable Miles (05/24/98)
The few that there are are an important part of the frequent flyer’s tool kit.
- Airline Alliances and Your Miles… (05/10/98)
For frequent flyer program members, there’s less here than has been reported.
- Going Native Often Goes Badly (02/21/98)
Missteps made by overseas marketers point up pitfalls of tatty translation.
- Catch the Asian Flu (Before it’s too Late) (02/10/98)
Travel to Asia is more affordable today than it has been in many years. This is likely to be a limited window of opportunity, so do it now.
- For Travelers, Flexibility Yields Savings (01/25/98)
Last minute sales of “distressed inventory” mean bargain prices on airfare, hotel and car rental rates.
- The 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act (12/26/97)
For frequent travelers, the new tax may be more grief than relief. Here’s how…