by -
4 Comments

American Airlines announced that they will start rolling Main Cabin Extra to all of their aircrafts starting this spring. American used to feature a product called “More Room Throughout The Coach” but dismissed this as it wasn’t bringing in enough revenue to offset the lower number of seats available for sale. This time this product is only available in part of the aircraft.

american-airlines-main-cabin-extra

You will get 4 to 6 inches more legroom compared to regular coach. This doesn’t sound a lot, but it does make a noticeable difference, however. I don’t have a problem sitting in United’s Economy Plus and even open a laptop, but trying to do that comfortably in AA’s coach is very difficult.

United has had their Economy Plus service for years. Delta started their Economy Comfort product in the summer of 2011 and is rolling it in all of their domestic fleet including two class regional jets. Virgin America has had their Main Cabin Select that sounds a lot like AA’s Main Cabin Extra. Jet Blue has more room in all of their aircrafts, and even more in back of the plane.

Initially this Main Cabin Extra product is available free of charge for all American Airlines elite members. Gold members will lose complimentary access on December 31st, 2013. Platinum and Executive Platinum members will continue having free access past that date.

AA will up sell this product to those that are not eligible for the complimentary access. United and Delta are also doing this. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me that if they would start marketing a Main Cabin Extra annual pass once they have got all of their aircraft fitted with this roomier configuration.

It is interesting to see how long it takes AA to roll it fleet wide. American was really fast adding additional seats when they decided to ditch the More Room Throughout the Coach-product. Making this Main Cabin Extra should take even less time because they are essentially just removing couple of rows and redistributing the rest.

You can read more about this product at AA’s website AA.com/MainCabinExtra. [click to continue…]

by -
4 Comments

This is the first day for many of us that didn’t hit the requalification requirements last year, and thus were dropped a notch or two (or three on my Delta case) in frequent flyer programs. Last year and 2010 were quite exceptional for me flying wise. I was at some point United 1K, Continental Platinum, BMI Gold, American Airlines Executive Platinum, Delta Diamond, and Emirates Gold. All these were earned in actual flying and none of them were comped.

delta-diamond-aa-exp

In 2011, I moved out from the United States, and as a result my flying on US carriers was down dramatically. I was very close requalifying to 1K and decided to make my way to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo from Asia the long way and earn the EQM’s needed. I am not planning to requalify for the United top tier status this year.

I am in a somewhat lucky situation. I am a 2.6 million miler (not a coiner) with American Airlines, and thus have a lifetime Platinum status with American that translates to Oneworld Sapphire status. That guarantees a business class check in and lounge access if I find myself in economy.

With Star Alliance I am covered through United. After United and Continental merge their frequent flyer accounts, I am somewhere around 1.5 million lifetime flown miles. This will guarantee me lifetime Gold level status in United’s program, and more importantly with Star Alliance. Like with Oneworld this will give me a business class check in and lounge access if ticketed in economy.

SkyTeam? Forget about it. I think that Delta is a fine domestic US airline and I did enjoy flying within the United States, but the alliance is second/third rate. It is way behind both Star Alliance and Oneworld when it comes to quality of the airlines and implementation of the alliance wide benefits. To be frank, it would be nice to have some sort of status with SkyTeam as well, but I think that I have to learn to live without it.

Overall, I think that I will survive.

by -
0 Comments

American Airlines sent an email few hours ago regarding global elite level benefits. They invite you to play a game and to earn 1000 AAdvantage bonus miles after finishing it. According to the email I received, the bonus AAdvantage miles are only for the first 20000 participants. It already had more than 35000 participants when I just played it, so getting the bonus miles at this point are unlikely.

american-airlines-global-elite-benefits-email

It never hurts to try, however, and you will be eligible for a chance to win a two Oneworld Explorer 3-continent tickets.

american-airlines-go-for-the-emerald

This seems to be a Flash-based game so it will take some time to load on slower connection. I am here in Shanghai right now, and I had to refresh it couple of times before it started correctly.

american-airlines-more-than-35000

Good luck!

Gold Level Room

american-airlines-gold

Platinum Level Room

american-airlines-platinum

Executive Platinum Level Room

american-airlines-exp

by -
5 Comments

American Airlines has always been very sensitive about its employee’s participation in social media and frequent traveler websites. Now Gailen David, the American Airlines purser behind these videos, is being disciplined and possibly fired.

The management and employee relationship has never been too good at American Airlines. Now that the airline is going through the chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and dumping is defined benefits pension plan to government run pension benefit guaranty corporation, better known just as PBGC, the relationship is becoming even more tense. The employees are going to have to accept a haircut of the future benefits as the maximum benefits under the PBGC are capped.

But I found these videos to be quite entertaining to say the least:

You can read about the issue and the letter that was sent to Gailen David by American Airlines at WeWantOurMoneyBack-website.  The Gailen David’s own blog can be found at Dear Sky Steward-website.

by -
5 Comments

American Airlines is apparently trying to win more business by sending targeted offers for double redeemable miles and accelerated qualification for Platinum or Executive Platinum status. This is not surprising considering that the airline is going through the chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization process.

american-airlines-hvcaa

A FlyerTalk member kwysocki posted a copy of an email received from American Airlines regarding this:

At American Airlines, we value your business and want to see more
of you. That’s why we’re offering two exciting promotions, exclusively for you.

First, you can earn double American Airlines AAdvantage® miles on all purchased, published fares for travel on American Airlines, American Eagle or the AmericanConnection® carrier between February 8, 2012 and
May 31, 2012.

Second, we’re offering you the opportunity to qualify for AAdvantage Platinum® or even AAdvantage Executive Platinum® status at an accelerated rate.

Between February 8, 2012 and May 31, 2012, simply fly the required number of base miles as outlined below on American Airlines, American Eagle or the AmericanConnection carrier. Elite-status membership earned through this special promotion will be valid through February 28, 2013.

We know you’ll appreciate the unique privileges of AAdvantage Platinum or AAdvantage Executive Platinum status, including:

AAdvantage Platinum
• 72 hour upgrade window
• 100% mileage bonus on select elite-qualifying flights
• Priority Baggage Delivery
AAdvantage Executive Platinum
• Unlimited complimentary upgrades confirmed at 100 hours pior to departure (subject to availability)**
• Eight (8) one-way Systemwide Upgrades+
• Expanded MileSAAver® award availability for you and one companion
• Waived ticketing service charges and AAdvantage change and reinstatement charges
For complete details on all AAdvantage elite-status benefits, visit www.aa.com/elitebenefits

Simply click the button below to login and register for this promotion using the Promotion Code HVCAA prior to travel and by 11:59pm CT on February 29, 2012.

This is an exclusive offer only for members who receive this email from American Airlines and register online
to participate.

Although it is rather unlikely that you would get the double miles and the offer of getting EXP for 25K EQM during the promotional period, it never hurts to register and see what happens. Especially, if you already have flights coming during the period. You can sign up at http://www.aa.com/offers by using the HVCAA promotional code and you American Airlines AAdvantage number. The system will confirm your registration, but it doesn’t guarantee that you would get the benefits if you were not targeted.

by -
3 Comments

It is time for February hotel promotion update. All the hotels have their promotions up and running again and some like Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group have several concurrent promotions that you can take advantage of.

Carlson Hotels – Club Carlson

Club Carlson is offering triple points for all stays. Note that you will receive 2000 bonus points for online bookings.

club-carlson-triple-points

Club Carlson “Triple Points – Faster Nights” Promotion – Triple Gold Points Worldwide

Hilton HHonors

Hilton has the most promotions running that you can combine together. You should sign up for the two promos below. Even if you are Diamond with Hilton, you can still get 40K HH for four Hilton stays.

Register Your Visa and Get 1000 Hilton HHonors Points + 4000 Bonus for Spending $100

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status for Visa Infinite Card Holders + 40K HHonors Points After Four Stays (For All?

You can choose one of these airline promotions as your double dip earnings partner. My personal favorite still is BMI that would earn 1k per night and up to three nights regardless of the Hilton brand.

hilton-hhonors-ana-triple-miles

Triple ANA and Double Emirates Miles for Hilton Stays Until March 31st

Airline Promotions for Air Canada Aeroplan, US Airways Dividend Miles, Lufthansa Miles & More and American Airlines AAdvantage

Earn 2012 Bonus Delta SkyMiles per Two Night Hilton Stay

These are the two main promotions for the time. More Points promotion for extra points for each nights and more for weekend stays, and free night certificates for longer resort stays.

Hilton HHonors 1st Quarter 2012 “More Points” Promotion

‘Resort Escapes’ Promotion – Free Night Certificate After Five Nights and Two After Ten Nights

Hyatt Gold Passport

Last month Hyatt didn’t have any promotions running besides the AA one that ended in the middle of the month. Hyatt’s latest promotion just started today. You can earn up to 44K extra points for 16 stays during the promotional period. That is extra 2750 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night.

hyatt-spring-promo-2012

Hyatt Announced Spring 2012 Promo – Earn up to 44000 Bonus Points

InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club

The first promotion for double points starting from your second stay and the 5/7/15 stays for 5K/10K/15K bonus points are combinable. The first one runs until the end of April and the second until the end of March. Note that you need to choose the bonus after 5, 7, or 15 stays. If you don’t meet the threshold, you won’t get the associate bonus.

Priority Club 1st Quarter 2012 Promotion Announced – Double Points or Miles – 2X More

Priority Club Bonus Points Promo for 1st Quarter 2012

There is Anniversary bonus that you can combine with these two promotion. It is extra 1000 Priority Club points for every stay for 90 days after you register. Do not register before the date of your first stay to maximize the promotional period. The promotion code is 6102 and you need to register at http://www.priorityclub.com/register. Please note that I cannot guarantee if this specific promotion will work for your Priority Club account. It never hurts to try, right?

Marriott Rewards / Ritz-Carton Rewards

Remember that you can have only Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Rewards account. You cannot have both. You can, however, switch between accounts as often as you wish just by calling the rewards customer service.

ritz-carlton-rewards

Ritz-Carlton Rewards – Earn Free Night Certificate After Two Stays Promotion

Note that you can only register for the MegaBonus or MegaMiles promotion. There are number of different MegaBonus thresholds. Pick up the ones that fits you best, and call the Marriott Rewards customer service if you need to switch your targeted promotion to something else.

Marriott Rewards Spring 2012 MegaBonus Announced – Few Variations of the Offer

Earn Up To 50000 Virgin America Elevate Bonus Points During Marriott’s MegaMiles Promotion

Marriott Rewards MegaMiles Promotion – Earn Up to 50K Bonus Miles

Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood has two different promotions that are both exclusive. The Better By the Night is valid in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. The list of non-participating properties is rather long. Note that this is NOT valid in the Asia-Pacific region that has their own promotion.

Starwood Preferred Guest 1st Quarter 2012 “Better by the Night”–promotion

Starwood Preferred Guest Asia Pacific Promotion

The following promotion is valid in the Asia-Pacific region for two free night certificates after 9 stays. Must use MasterCard to pay.

‘Two Days of Happy’ – Stay 5 Nights Get One Free Night Certificate – Stay 9 Nights Get Two Free Night Certificates – 4MCFN

by -
3 Comments

Last week I wrote about the promotion that Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan was having for their newest partner Emirates starting March 1stdouble redeemable miles, and then there was the big news of ditching the prayer cards from first class (finally).

Alaska Airline is alliance independent, which is rather rare these days. The airline has an agreement with number of airlines i.e. American, Delta, British, KLM, LAN, Air France, and Emirates where crediting Alaska’s Mileage Plan will not only earn you redeemable miles but also elite qualifying miles as well. You can redeem miles on these partners as well (Emirates starting later point this year), but the only drawback is that you cannot mix and match carriers to have multi carrier itineraries. You can have Alaska feeder flights for partner awards though. There are airline partners that only earn redeemable miles as well

alaska-airlines-partners

Alaska Airlines was thought of changing the accrual elite qualifying miles so that the class of service bonus for business and first class wouldn’t count. This, however, turned out to be just a glitch on their website over the weekend that has now been corrected.

Why would I care? I have 32707 miles coming in Emirates paid first class travel starting in the beginning of March (Emirates had a great business and first class sale back in January). I haven’t made up my mind where I should credit these flights. Had a few EK F flights the other year that made me Gold in their program, then I was demoted silver, and finally I will be base level member before these flights will take place. Quite frankly the EK Gold status is fairly useless if you are flying in paid business or first class. It does have some benefits especially for those flights in economy like business class check in, lounge access, extra luggage allowance, more miles etc.

These Emirates flights alone would give me 49K elite qualifying miles on Alaska’s Mileage Plan. Due to the double miles promotion and Mileage Plan Gold status (I could get status match based on my United status) redeemable miles bonus, which also applies to partners, the number of miles earned from these two tickets would be around 115K. It would be a nice enough number for partner redemption in business class

There are some nice status benefits for Alaska’s elites on Delta and American:

Priority Boarding on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines

Checked Baggage Fee Waiver for first two bags on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines, and for the first checked bag on Delta Air Lines for MVP® member and persons traveling in the same reservation. Companion waiver does not apply to group bookings

Priority AAccess™ Check-In and Security Lines at select airports when traveling on American Airlines

Preferred Seating on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines

If I would credit another 41K on Alaska’s plan, it would not only make me Alaska’s MVP Gold 75K but also give a bonus of 50K redeemable miles. The benefits on AA wouldn’t matter for me personally as I made the lifetime Platinum status with that program the other year.

Not sure where I should credit these Emirates flights? The Emirate’s Skyward miles are not that useful for anything else than upgrades from economy to business, or from business to first. The proposition of crediting to Alaska’s Mileage Plan is tempting because I value their miles more, and I would be close to making the Gold status on these couple of tickets. But, I might have Emirates flights coming later this year in economy, so the Emirates Gold status might come handy as well. Luckily, I have another month time to contemplate on this issue as my flights are not before beginning of March.

by -
1 Comments

American Airlines is bringing back complimentary booze, although beer and wine only, on American Airlines flights to Asia, Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. This is an interesting development. With the US airlines, it has been recently like how we can unbundle more services that we can sell. Of course the booze used to be free on all flights, but that was gradually withdrawn.

american-airlines-booze-is-back-in-aa-coach

Not sure what made American to take this move. The booze, and not just beer and wine, has been on the complimentary basis with most European and Asian carriers. Anyway, on your next international flight on American, if you happen to be seated on coach, make sure to request your complimentary beer or wine.

Complimentary Beer and Wine Service is available in international main cabins onboard international flights between the U.S. and Europe, the U.S. and Asia and select flights between the U.S. and Latin America, including: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil (CNF); Brasilia, Distrito Federal, Brazil (BSB); Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE); Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (GIG); Sao Paulo, Brazil (GRU); Santiago, Chile (SCL); Montevideo, Uruguay (MVD); Salvador, Bahia, Brazil (SSA); and Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil (REC). Beer and wine offerings will vary by flight.

by -
0 Comments

Last week American Airlines cancelled its daily Chicago to Delhi flight. Now they are offering mileage bonuses for flights to China and Japan. You can still book an award travel special on Japan Airlines from Vancouver to Tokyo (Narita) or from San Francisco to Tokyo (Haneda) for 30K in economy and 50K in business.

american-airlines-double-aadvantage-miles-to-japan

Now, American is offering double miles in business and first class fares on direct American Airlines flights to Beijing and Shanghai from Chicaco and from Los Angeles to Shanghai. You will receive 50% mileage bonus if you are ticketed on higher economy class buckets. You need to register for this prior to travel using a promotion code USCHN.

AAdvantage® bonus mile offer is valid from January 23, 2012, through March 31, 2012, on American Airlines marketed and operated nonstop flights from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) or Los Angeles (LAX) to Shanghai, China (PVG); or from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Beijing, China (PEK). Offer is valid for travel on purchased, published fare tickets booked in First Class or Business Class (in F, A, J, R, D or I) or Economy Class (Y, B, H, K, M, L, V, S or N). Bonus miles do not count toward elite status qualification. Double miles will be calculated at 100% of the base miles earned while 50% bonus miles will be calculated at 50% of base miles earned. Registration prior to travel is required.

Another offer is for double miles from Boston to Tokyo on Japan Airline’s new 787 service starting this spring. You will get double miles from April 22nd through June 30th for business class and selected economy class fares, regardless whether the flight is marketed by JAL or AA. The promotional code is BOSTY.

american-airlines-boston-to-tokyo-double-miles [click to continue…]

by -
0 Comments

Last week, I wrote about how you can “buy” back your Silver, Gold, or Platinum status with Marriott Rewards. American Airlines is running a similar program for buying back the elite status, but unlike with Marriott, where you can use points to do it, with American you need to use cash.

american-airlines-offer-buy-back-status

Platinum members that flew less than 40K miles or who had fewer than 48 segments need to pay $769, and those who flew more, but not enough for Platinum, need to fork out $619.

They have similar for Gold status members as well. If you flew less than 20K miles or 24 segments, need to pay $559 to extend the status for another year, and those who flew more, but not enough for Gold, need to pay $409.

Does it make sense to buy back the status?

It really depends how much you are planning on flying on American and their Oneworld partner airlines this year. The main benefit for a Platinum are 100% bonus on miles earned, business check in regardless of the class booked, business class lounge access on international itinerariers even when flying in on coach, waived award fees if ticketed within 21 days of departure, ability to earn and confirm domestic upgrades, waived checked in bag charge and extra allowance on international flights, priority when there are irregular operations etc.

There are really quite a few benefits of being a Platinum member. Some of these apply for Gold members as well. [click to continue…]

by -
1 Comments

Personally, I am not a huge fan of buying miles from the airlines. I don’t think that it makes sense most of the time. I have, however, bought US Airways Dividend miles when they have had a sale, and used miles + cash option when booking premium international awards using BMI miles that is essentially buying miles.

american-airlines-points-com-buy-aa-miles-email

American Airlines has recently been pushing miles sales more aggressively than in the past. It must be a good way to get cash in now in exchange for award travel on AA or partner metal some later date. Last December American run a similar miles sale. You can buy maximum 40000 AAdvantage miles per year per account. Bonus miles do not count toward this limit.

american-airlines-points-com-buy-aa-miles-price

Right now you can buy 55000 miles (40000 + 15000 bonus) for $1100 ($1212.50 after $30 transaction fee + taxes). This comes to 2.2 cents per mile.

When it makes sense to buy miles?

  1. Short on miles for premium international flight award on partner airlines
  2. Oneway travel in markets where OW fares are expensive
  3. Travel that requires flexibility as award tickets can be changed/canceled for a fee/without fee almost like flexible tickets [click to continue…]

by -
1 Comments

Hilton HHonors severed the relationship they had had with the Southwest and discontinued the ability to earn Rapid Rewards points from Hilton stays at the end of last year. To counter this change Hilton is having several promotions going on for double or triple miles with five airline partners. I have already written about the promotion with Delta for 2012 bonus SkyMiles for stays or two days or longer. The beauty of this promotion with Delta is that all the Hilton family of hotels are participating.

There are three other ongoing promotions that you can combine with these. The other promotions are Resort Escapes for free night certificates, More Points for extra points, and Visa Infinite promotion for instant Gold status and 40K HH after four stays.

hilton-hhonors-airline-promotions-first-q-2012

You can earn triple miles with US Airways Dividend miles, and double miles with Air Canada’s Aeroplan and American’s AAdvantage.  You need to designate the airline as the double dip partner and choose the variable or fixed miles.  With these airlines you really need to check the participating properties. The list is rather short.

hilton-hhonors-lufthansa-2012-1st-q [click to continue…]

by -
1 Comments

American Airlines (AA), whose parent AMR is currently in chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, just sent an email blast regarding their latest offer for double elite qualifying miles (DEQM). They have been running a limited DEQM promotion for residents of IL and CA for flights between LAX/SFO and ORD. Now all the AA flights marketed and operated by AA and American Eagle are eligible for DEQM until January 31st, 2012. Unlike previous promos, there is no need to reticket. All the flights are eligible. You just need to register for the promotion.

American Airlines DEQM

This promotion doesn’t double the elite qualifying points or redeemable miles. Only the base flight miles will be doubled for the elite qualifying purposes. Personally, I would be all over this promotion had I not moved out from the United States earlier this year. [click to continue…]