For many travelers, frequent flier miles are less about free tickets than about getting out of the sardine-can seating in the back of the plane. Since airlines would of course prefer to sell those premium seats, booking in advance has historically made a big difference. Even if upgrades are sold out, or the carrier has not […]
No one expects frequent flier program changes to benefit actual travelers. We’re all used to the number of miles needed for a free ticket going up, and up, and up. United Airlines has already made some of those kinds of changes to awards in 2014, along with adding minimum spends for elite status. But, as […]
With all the stories of hacking and fraud, Americans are learning they need to check their credit card statements regularly. However, airline 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. It’s easy to ignore them in a […]
As frequent flier programs become increasingly complicated and dollar-based and as awards seem to be harder and harder to get, many travelers are wondering if it’s worth making the effort to be a frequent flier with a particular carrier. While the answer is different for everyone, the two basic questions all travelers contemplating joining a […]
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 And the only tickets that generally don’t accrue mileage are those booked on opaque sites like Priceline and some unpublished consolidator fares.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.
The reason to think about mileage runs now, is because, after mid-August, when kids go back to school, they are comparatively easy. Plus, fall fares tend to be comparatively cheap as opposed to fares in December, for anyone trying to squeeze in mileage runs after about the 15th.
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.
Based on my admittedly unscientific sample of clients and friends, it seems like this competition will be greatly reduced in 2011. Even though travelers may have flown more actual miles, the lack of bonus miles will rank many of them at a lower level than last year.
Whether it means things are looking up for our country in general or that the rich are just getting richer, many travelers are going to find that even though they flew as much or more in 2010 than 2009, they will end up with a lower United frequent flier status.