Of all the frequent flier awards, for many travelers upgrades are the most prized, especially for international travel. With good reason — ten hours or more in coach is generally something to be endured. The same time in business class can be a mini-vacation.
Mileage statements, while not being worth much in strict dollar terms, can involve flight credits worth a lot of money either in freebies, upgrades or status. Check them.
The two basic questions all travelers contemplating joining a frequent flier program and planning to commit to a single airline or alliance have to ask themselves are the same — What is my goal? Is it reachable?
As carriers increasingly turn to partner carriers to expand their networks, more and more travelers are running afoul of dreaded "no mileage fares." For travelers on legacy carriers, published fares are generally fine. And the only tickets that generally don't accrue mileage are those booked on opaque sites like Priceline and some unpublished consolidator fares. However, with airline partners, many discount fares either give only fractional mileage or deny it altogether.
If you don't like some of the recent changes to your airline loyalty program, talk to Mike Croswell. He's a United Airlines "Million Miler" who assumed that his three decades of devotion to the airline would be reciprocated after he stopped being a frequent flier.
Labor Day is traditionally the time of year when Americans pack up the summer stuff and get ready for the fall. It's not a bad time to do a little travel housekeeping too.
While airlines like to promote free tickets with their mileage programs, the award that many even semi-regular clients want is an upgrade. These are the very awards that are getting harder to get.