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.
When it comes to frequent flier upgrades, advance planning can matter relatively little and satus alone doesn't mean as much as it once did. Not surprisingly, the changes are about money.
From now on, most United frequent flier program members will be earning far fewer award miles that they did with the previous program. Do they even know? Janice Hough predicts major surprises.
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 And the only tickets that generally don't accrue mileage are those booked on opaque sites like Priceline and some unpublished consolidator fares.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.