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Frequent Flyer Miles / Frequent Flyer Programs / Airline News / United / Shopping Travel / United MileagePlus / → All Tags
We all have them; retailer gift cards that sit unused in a pile of paper somewhere. Most of the time, the balance on them isn't worth the trouble of redeeming. We're talking about $1.35 on that Saks Fifth Avenue gift card, or $4.25 for Gap. United Airlines has a solution for these dilemmas: The airline accepts gift cards with any values in exchange for Mileage Plus miles.
United will beef up your frequent flyer account if you choose not to shop 'til you drop. UA accepts cards from a long list of retailers, including Best Buy, Walmart and the Gap. With 60 retailers in total, it is good that there is no limited to how many cards can be exchanged. As an example, a $25 Target gift card is worth 670 miles or about $.26 per mile. Not an awful swap if you're not keen on Target.
Celeb Travel / Qantas / John Travolta / Frequent Flyer Programs / Australia / SYD / MEL / Australia Travel / → All Tags
The never-ending saga of Qantas and the rebuilding of a reputation continues and today the process got a boost. While Barack Obama was touring Oz, John Travolta made a surprise appearance on a flight from Sydney to Melbourne. He wasn't a passenger but he was in the business class cabin of the B767.
We know that the Saturday Night Fever star is a world ambassador for the flying kangaroo and actually has a retired Boeing 707 parked in his driveway. We also know that he has been featured as a captain in the in-flight safety announcement. Now, he turns up to present the most frequent flyers with Qantas' top status, Platinum One. Unfortunately, this was a one-off presentation; he was just in town for a 91st birthday bash Qantas decided to throw for the elite status flyers.
Frequent Flyer Miles / British Airways / Frequent Flyer Programs / Oneworld / Avios / Britain Travel / Europe Travel / Loyalty Programs / → All Tags
This month means more than just the beginning of holiday travel season; it also marks the beginning of a new era at British Aiways with the re-branding of their frequent flyer program to "Avios." Say cheers to the former loyalty program managed by AirMiles on November 16th.
Basically, BA Miles used to be managed through AirMiles who has done the re-branding. BA is just using the program as a "currency" to redeem flights and hotels. This shift is to align with the frequent flyer programs of its joint venture partner, Iberia, and mirror other Oneworld partner airline programs. Executive Club is sticking around and its members will be accruing Avios points instead of BA Miles. Don't worry, if you have heaps of points in Executive Club, you won't loose them.
The move to Avios is not just a name change, but the program claims to make earning points and higher status levels, as well as redeeming points for flights and upgrades, far easier. Let's see if they're right.
American Airlines / Airlines / Airline News / Twitter / Facebook / Frequent Flier Miles / Frequent Flyer Programs / Social Media / → All Tags
Some airlines use social media outlets a little bit better than others, but at this point pretty much everyone is on Facebook and/or Twitter, with the exception of social media-snobby Ryanair. Now that all the basics are covered it seems like airlines are getting even more specific with their online activity and contacts. American Airlines is one of the first to do so, as they’re launching new accounts on Twitter and Facebook specifically for their AAdvantage frequent flier program.
They’re the first airline in the nifty fifty to dedicate their social media efforts on earning miles, and their new accounts will be designed to help one and all fatten up those mileage accounts. We’re hoping for some promotions or contests, as we are in need of some serious help if we’re going to score a freebie on AA anytime this decade.
Airline News / British Airways / Iberia / Airline Mergers / Travel News / Airlines / Airline Industry / American Airlines / Airline Miles / Frequent Fliers / Mileage Programs / Frequent Flyer Programs / → All Tags
We always get suspicious when airlines start talking about giving customers "more control" and "more choice," since that usually means downgrading reward tiers and charging for things that used to come for free. Getting to choose whether to have food on a long flight or pay for checked baggage has never left us feeling particularly empowered. Nowadays pretty much any airline policy change is enough to get us nervous, and that's particularly true whenever they start to tinker with loyalty programs and elite status.
So naturally we've been anticipating with dread the details of how the American Airlines/British Airways/Iberia merger will affect their frequent flyer programs. So far so good, with the announcement coming out over the weekend that BA is increasing the miles that you get for Discount Economy tickets, from 25% to 100%. BA miles are also now good for AA upgrades, and vice versa. And the airline is even promising to upgrade some of their Executive Lounges.
Travel Contests / Emirates / Airline News / Frequent Flyer Programs / Emirates Skywards / Art Travel / → All Tags
Want a free trip to Dubai on Emirates plus $5,000, plus the chance to exhibit your artwork at an international art fair? You're in luck because Emirates wants to make it happen for a promising talent, so long as they think you're as good as Damien Hirst.
You see, Emirates is searching for emerging artists to enter their contest to replace the Damien Hirst artwork on their Skywards loyalty program cards. If you win, you'll be flown to Dubai for the unveil, get a place for your portfolio to be shown in the Art Dubai Fair in March 2011, and be handed the $5,000 (think Dubai shopping spree).
Jaunted Interviews / The Points Guy / Frequent Flyer Programs / Credit Cards / US Airways / Continental / American Airlines / Airline Loyalty Programs / → All Tags
A few weeks ago, we dished over at HotelChatter about our friend Brian Kelly, who successfully made a transition from lowly desk jockey to jetsetting superhero with the Ryan Bingham-esque moniker, The Points Guy. He dished on the best hotel reward points programs, told us which ones to avoid, and shared his favorite tricks for getting suite upgrades.
This week, we queried him on airline loyalty programs to discover his picks of the moment, where he sees the industry trending in general, and what you, the average traveler, can do to fly business class while everyone else is getting stuck in coach. Here’s what he had to say.
Never underestimate the ability of Flyertalk forum members to find every last way to maximize their frequent flier miles. The newest scheme to emerge from the boards goes way beyond "make sure you do your holiday shopping through rewards websites" and involves buying currency from the US Mint with your credit card, pocketing the miles, and then driving to deposit the coins and avoid fees. The Wall Street Journal has more details:
At least several hundred mile-junkies discovered that a free shipping offer on presidential and Native American $1 coins, sold at face value by the U.S. Mint, amounted to printing free frequent-flier miles. Mileage lovers ordered more than $1 million in coins until the Mint started identifying them and cutting them off. Coin buyers charged the purchases, sold in boxes of 250 coins, to a credit card that offers frequent-flier mile awards, then took the shipments straight to the bank. They then used the coins they deposited to pay their credit-card bills. Their only cost: the car trip to make the deposit.
US Airways just published a press release promising customers a new tier system for frequent flier purchases, the promise being that travelers will get "more choices and flexibility." Right now there are three kinds of award bookings you can make using your miles: off-peak, mileage saver, and standard awards. After January 6, 2010 there will be four categories: off-peak, low, medium, and high awards.
Essentially they've taken one of their awards tiers and split it into two. Fair enough. But now they get to rearrange what each rewards ticket costs into a 4-category system, and here's where things get interesting; will they use the new system as a cover for making everything more expensive?
Welcome to day two of what we're going to begin calling TrueBlue2, the second version of Jetblue's frequent flyer program, now based on money spent on airfare rather than miles flown.
Thus far, the transition appears smooth; the new program appeared on Jetblue's website over the weekend, slightly earlier than the Monday launch we expected. We haven't yet heard of any big snafus with it, only that the points will be harder for flyers to keep track of, since now we're talking thousands of points versus the easy-to-do-the-math tens of points of the old system.
Still, the question remains of what to do with your old pointssince TrueBlue1 points cannot be carried into the new system and will continue to expire as usual. Well, there are three options for your old TrueBlue points, and you better get on it now if you've got points lingering...
We all have some frequent flyer miles hanging around in various accounts, but it seems like there’s never enough to finally book that award ticket to paradise. Well we’re here to help: we’ve compiled five of the best ways to top off your mileage account and gain some extra miles without even leaving the ground. Everyone wants to be able to make it rain with excess miles, and with a little work and creativity, you’ll be doing just that.
· Get Something To Eat:
Most airlines have programs where linking a credit card to a dining program awards you with airline miles when you hit up your favorite restaurant. Obviously it’s not every restaurant out there, so your favorite Applebee’s might be out of the picture. However, if you find a couple favorite spots you frequent anyway, it will be worth the minimal effort to get the bonus. AAdvantage Dining will give you five miles for every dollar you spend, and you’ll even get 1,500 bonus miles for signing up and spending $25. If you prefer Delta-flavored miles check out SkyMiles Dining. It’s the same deal: five miles per dollar spent and certain establishments will reward you with double miles.
Whose ready for the "newer, truer TrueBlue" program from Jetblue? Well, ready or not, it's coming at the beginning of next week and the arrival of the new structure means no more free flights just by accumulating a few roundtrip coast-to-coasters; nope, now you've got to watch how much you spend versus how much you fly.
If you're keen to check your point balance or do some other fiddling with your TrueBlue account in the next few days, you better do it now. Accounts will be unavailable between Friday and Monday morning during the switchover. For those of you who simply can't wait for the new program to take affect, you can read up on the changes...
The details on the new TrueBlue program, after the jump.