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You’ll never get that mileage upgrade! Here are six reasons why

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 […]


Newsletter – March 8, 2015

Thank you for reading Consumer Traveler/Travelers United weekly newsletter. You can subscribe to our daily email newsletter here. A week in review: Unmanned aircraft (drones), Travel industry doublespeak, Rental car travel deal, More airport taxes, United miles, Southwest’s maintenance problems Unmanned aerial vehicles aren’t just coming…they’re here! And the U.S. has already fallen behind other countries in […]


What?! No Christmas gifts from my airline?

It’s the day after Christmas and as I surveyed the splay of Christmas wrapping, boxes, ribbons, bows, unwrapped socks and shirts, puzzles and gifted bottles of wine under the tree, I knew I had a lot for which to be thankful. But, there were no gifts from airlines this Christmas; I would have appreciated one […]


Mileage Plus "Friends and Family" change really hurts — even for big spenders

One thing is pretty clear with the changes in most frequent flier award programs: airlines have decided they don’t care about bargain hunters. And, they don’t really care about the average traveler, either. Airlines want the big spenders, airline travelers who spend their own money and those who can freely spend their employer’s and client’s […]


Airlines give thanks. Average passengers? Not so much. Part 2

Part 1 of this Thanksgiving post explored the new world of minimal competition for airlines. Domestically, four airlines control 87 percent of the market. Internationally, three airline alliances control more than 80 percent of the market. And, airlines are engaging in open capacity discipline — keeping the number of flights and seats low, so as […]


6 reasons to check airline mileage statements regularly

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 […]


Best frequent flier programs based on award availability

A recent study done by Idea Works for Switchfly outlines the state of today’s frequent flier programs. And, the picture isn’t pretty when it comes to US airlines. This poor report card combined with the recent Supreme Court case of Northwest v. Ginsberg, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-462, may spark Department of Transportation (DOT) interest […]


Why loss of ‘mileage’ runners would hurt us all

It may be too early to write the obituary for frequent-flier mileage runs — those legendary year-end flights that offer a shortcut to an airline’s coveted “elite” status — but it’s easy to see the end from here. With Delta Air Lines and United Airlines tightening their loyalty program rules in 2014 to require more spending in order to get singled out for special treatment, many of these frivolous round trips could vanish after this winter.