United Airlines Bonus Offer for Transatlantic Travel: Up To 50K Bonus per Round-trip

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United is the last carrier to announce their bonus offer for fall/winter 2012 transatlantic trips between the United States and London Heathrow. There are identical offers from American Airlines, British Airways, and Delta.

united-airlines-transatlantic-fall-winter-2012-bonus

This offer is valid for tickets issued after October 4th for travel between October 4 and January 31, 2012. You need to register for this promotion prior to your travel. Only first, business, and flexible economy class fares are eligible for these bonus miles.

Bonus miles earned

1. 1st trip = 15K bonus miles

2. 2nd trip = 35K bonus miles

3. 3rd and subsequent trips = 50K bonus miles per trip

If you haven’t been ticketed in first or business class, you have to be very careful about the booking class that for economy must be either Y or B.

Conclusion

The transatlantic carriers are offering very attractive mileage promotions for first, business, and high economy fares at the moment. Is the traffic becoming soft?

Here are the terms and conditions of this United offer:

  • To qualify, register on united.com before travel, then purchase and complete paid qualifying roundtrips between the U.S. and London Heathrow on flights marketed and operated by United.
  • Offer valid on paid qualifying roundtrips in United Global First, United BusinessFirst and full-fare Economy fares (F, A, J, C, D, Z, P, Y and B booking classes).
  • Offer valid on tickets purchased between October 4, 2012, and January 31, 2013, with travel completed between October 4, 2012, and January 31, 2013.
  • MileagePlus members can earn 15,000 bonus award miles for the first qualifying roundtrip, 35,000 bonus award miles for the second qualifying roundtrip and 50,000 bonus award miles for each additional roundtrip.
  • There is no limit to the number of bonus miles that may be earned with this promotion.
  • Bonus award miles do not count toward Premier® status, and do not apply to class-of-service, Premier bonus miles or promotional Premier qualifying miles.
  • Offer is not valid on United-marketed codeshare flights operated by other carriers.
  • Offer is not valid on government fares.
  • Roundtrip is defined as travel from an origin city to a destination city with return travel beginning in the destination city back to the origin city. Open jaw and circle trip itineraries do not qualify.
  • Bonus is not combinable with other non-combinable bonus offers.
  • Bonus will be posted to the member’s MileagePlus account six to eight weeks after the end of the promotion period.
  • Electronic ticket purchase is required. Tickets purchased in the U.S. through United Reservations are subject to a $25 ticketing fee and tickets purchased at airport ticket counters are subject to a $30 ticketing fee. Fees are subject to change.
  • Offer is subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply.
  • Miles accrued, awards issued and bonus offers are subject to the rules of the United MileagePlus program. For complete details about the program, visit united.com/mileageplus.

Marriott Travel Packages

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Marriott Travel Packages are the best way to use Marriott Rewards points IF you need some airlines miles as well. These packages consists of 7 nights stay at a chosen category or tier (Ritz-Carlton & Marriott Vacation Club) hotel and set number of miles at various airline programs. You will also get a 25% coupon for Hertz rental that I have never been able to use as rates that are not discount eligible have always been a better deal.

marriott-travel-packages

The reason why these are such a good deal is that you will get a nice chunk of airline miles in the process. You can collect airline miles on your Marriott stays but it is far better just continue crediting towards Marriott points and take advantage of MegaBonuses. Then, when you have enough points in your account to redeem for a Marriott Travel Package, you just issue one.

Marriott Travel Packages Levels
Marriott Travel Packages Levels

You can essentially “transfer” Marriott Rewards points at 1 to 1 level for airlines like United, US Airways, and British Airways.

Here’s an example of redeeming for cat 1 to 5 travel package + 120K airline miles

If we assume that you would use the 7 nights at category 5 property, it would cost you 25K per night but you would get the 4th night free. The number of points required would be 150K.

marriott-travel-packages-airline-miles-levels

The travel package at category 1 to 5 costs you 270K Marriott Rewards points. If we deduct the point value of the room part (150k), you “transfer” the 120K Marriott Rewards points to 120K airline miles.

Choosing the number of airline miles level

Each of the travel packages has four level for number of airline miles you would earn by redeeming a travel package. I would suggest that you go for the highest level if possible.

Upgrading the hotel category part of the travel package

If you redeem for a category 1 to 5 package and would later want to stay at the category 6 property, you can do this by paying the difference in points that is 30K. You need to call Marriott Rewards customer service and they can do it instantly.

Downgrading the hotel category part of the travel package

I always suggest that you should issue the travel package at the lowest category first if you are not sure how you are going to use it. You can always upgrade it.

But if you issued the package at the higher level that is required for your stay, you can always call the Marriott Rewards customer service and request them to downgrade it and get the difference in points deposited to your account.

Extending the hotel certificate

The hotel certificate that is deposited to your Marriott Rewards account is valid for 12 months after issuance. I have personally, however, been able to extend these more than twice. You need to contact the Marriott Rewards customer service to achieve this. I cannot guarantee that it will work for you, but it has for me.

Unable to use the hotel award

Try extending the award certificate. I have managed to do this few times. If they are not willing to do it, consider giving it away as the number of points you get back is not a lot. If you issued it higher than the lowest category level, downgrade it to the lowest level and get some points back to your account.

If you are not able to use it or give it away, you will get some points back for unused certificate and it is dependent and what mileage level you originally issued it.

Here are some values that you can expect to get back IF you need to redeposit unused hotel certificate from the travel package

Travel package with highest number of miles redeemed:
Cat. 1-5 : 10K points
Cat. 6 : 25K points
Cat. 7 : 40K points

Travel package with lowest number of miles redeemed:
Cat. 1-5 : 40K points
Cat. 6 : 55K points
Cat. 7 : 75K points

When to redeem

Some airlines like US Airways and American Airlines, which used to be a Marriott partner, tend to run promotions once in a while for transfer from hotel programs. They might give you a 35% to 50% bonus for miles transferred in. This is the time to redeem. I redeemed 3 or 4 travel packages when the partnership with American Airlines was ending and AA was offering bonus for points transfers. I made my first Million Miles status with AA with the help of Marriott.

Few of other tips

– You can use the ward certificate for less than 7 nights but you won’t receive any points back. Just do a reservation online for 7 nights and leave early. Otherwise, you can contact the Marriott Rewards and have them to make the reservation for you

– If there is a day in between that is not available for points, you can pay for it in cash. You need to arrange this with the Marriott Rewards customer service i.e. you stay at the hotel for 10 nights and use travel package for nights 1 to 3 and 7 to 10. You can pay for nights 4 to 6.

Marriott Travel Package: Hotel + Air Package 1

marriott-travel-package-1

Note that you will receive 50K, 70K, 100K or 120K miles in any of the participating airlines: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways or Virgin Atlantic

Marriott Travel Package: Hotel + Air Package 2

marriott-travel-package-2

Note that you will receive 35K, 50K, 70K or 85K miles in any of the participating airlines:

Aeroflot, airberlin, Air China, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Avianca-TACA LifeMiles, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, China Southern, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, LAN, Lufthansa Miles & More, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines  or TAP Air Portugal

Marriott Travel Package: Hotel + Air Package 3

marriott-travel-package-3

This package is reserved entire for Southwest. You will receive 50K, 70K, 100K, or 120K Rapid Reward points that are COMPASSION PASS QUALIFYING. If you redeem the highest package and deposit the points to Southwest, you receive a Southwest Companion Pass for a year.

Marriott Travel Package: Hotel + Air Package 4

marriott-travel-package-4

This package is for JetBlue TruBlue and Virgin America Elevate members. You will receive 25K, 35K, 50K, or 60K points.

Conclusion

IMHO this IS really the best way to use Marriott points IF you prefer getting a lot airline miles along the way. There are some drawbacks to this as well that I listed above and workarounds like extending the certificate for a year.

Here are the short terms and conditions of this award:

To redeem for a Hotel, Air & Car Package reward:
Contact the airline you will use as your carrier.  (You must be a member of their frequent flyer program.)  Inquire about the number of miles needed to travel from departure location to your destination and remember to take into account the number of people traveling in your party.

Once you know the number of miles needed, call
1-800-MARRIOTT to make your hotel reservation.  Make sure to inform the reservation agent that you are using a Travel Package Reward.

After your reservation is confirmed, you can complete the reward order over the phone or order online.

Reward Delivery Information

  1. Hotel certificate will be issued electronically and will be available at the hotel upon check-in.
  2. Airline miles will automatically be sent to your frequent flyer account.Please allow approximately 6 weeks for your miles to be posted to your frequent flyer account or contact your local Marriott Rewards office to inquire about express service (may include a fee).

    Miles will automatically transfer into the frequent flyer mileage account that matches the name on your Marriott Rewards account.  Once processed, airline miles cannot be transferred back to your Marriott Rewards account.

  3. You will receive a paper certificate for your Hertz rental.Please allow 10 business days for US delivery, 4 weeks for delivery outside the US, or contact your local
    Marriott Rewards office to inquire about express service (may include a fee).

Expert Mode Returns to United.com

There was a huge uproar earlier this month when United disabled fare bucket, award, and upgrade availability display on United.com claiming that this information was confusing users. Quite the contrary. This information was essential for being able to purchase fares that are instantly upgradeable using confirmable upgrade instruments.

United Expert Mode Relaunch
United Expert Mode Relaunch

Later, United announced that they would reintroduce these functions but that the customer would need to enable the mode first on their preferences.

United Expert Mode Sign Up
United Expert Mode Sign Up

There is a rather long disclaimer for this availability and a note that the agents are NOT supposed to manually clear upgrades when the upgrade space is available.

United.com Expert Mode

Expert Mode is a fare class availability feature designed to help our most experienced travelers with the planning process. This feature is intended for informational purposes only, and may not always match our exact availability or reflect the stages of our upgrade processes.

Please keep the following considerations in mind when using Expert Mode:

  • This is not a forecasting tool. Availability levels in certain fare classes should not be interpreted as indicating that we will make other fare classes available.
  • The presence of a particular fare class does not mean that there is a fare associated with it. For example, we may offer availability in a discounted fare class, but that does not necessarily mean we have published a fare that corresponds to it.
  • Not all upgrades are cleared in real time. Our process of clearing upgrades varies based on the type of upgrade and when the upgrade inventory becomes available. Upgrades that are not able to be cleared in advance will be managed at the departure gate, subject to availability and in priority order.
    • Complimentary Premier Upgrades (CPUs): As a Premier member awaiting a CPU, you may see upgrade availability and still not be cleared. This is because the process for clearing CPUs runs at 24-hour intervals before the departure date based on the eligibility window for your Premier status. Inside of 24 hours, the process will run more frequently. When these processes run, they take into consideration all customers awaiting an upgrade at that time and clear them in priority order.
    • All other MileagePlus upgrades: For all other MileagePlus upgrades, waitlists are cleared in real time except during the 24-hour period before trip departure. Inside this 24-hour window, upgrades requested for flights in CPU-eligible regions will be cleared using the same automated system that processes CPUs. For all other flights, upgrade clearance inside of 24 hours will be managed at the departure gate in priority order.
  • Our phone agents will not clear pending upgrades. Our representatives do not have complete visibility into the upgrade priority order for a given flight. Because we would not want to potentially clear customers in the wrong order, upgrades are only processed by our automated system, or at the gate prior to departure. You can view the status of your pending upgrade through Manage Reservations on united.com
  • Availability changes frequently. Availability for specific fare classes changes frequently, and sometimes the fare class information we provide in Expert Mode may not be completely up to date. While this is rare for United- and United Express-operated flights, it is not uncommon with flights operated by our codeshare partners and other airlines. Due to these potential discrepancies, we are not able to honor availability based on what is displayed in Expert Mode.

United Airlines reserves the right to limit access to this feature at its sole discretion.

United Expert Mode Results
United Expert Mode Results

The award, upgrade, and fare buckets are now again visible.

Conclusion

It is good that United returned the ability to see various fare buckets. It is not so good if clearing upgrades ability is withdrawn from United’s agents as the upgrade processing is apparently not working as it should.

July Air Travel Consumer Report Is Out and United Is Still Dead Last

DOT (Department of Transportation) just released their latest Air Travel Consumer Report that covers 2012 up to the end of July. The United Airlines numbers are still as dismal as they were last month. You can access the full report on DOT’s website here.

DOT Flight Operations Canceled

United cancelled 2.4% of their scheduled flights. The next worse American Airlines canceled 1.2% of their scheduled flights.

DOT Mishandled Package
DOT Mishandled Package

The numbers for mishandled package (4.84 reports per 1000 passengers) are worst of the major carriers as well.

DOT Consumer Complaints
DOT Consumer Complaints

Where United really shines are the complaints to DOT. United received almost half of all the complaints of the US airlines. United received 995 complaints in the month of July and the total number of complaints received by the DOT was 2057.

DOT Complaints per Enplanements
DOT Complaints per Enplanements

But when you look at the complaint number per enplanements are four times the second worst US Airways.

Conclusion

It is somewhat surprising that United appears to have done nothing to get their customer service up and running after the merger with Continental and the systems integration that happened on March this year. At some point these dismal figures must have an effect on revenue coming in as well. Passengers will put op only so much before their move their business to other airlines.

United Airlines Targeted Offer for 50% Bonus on Premier Qualifying Miles

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United Airlines sent an email out yesterday for a 50% bonus on Premier qualifying miles (PQM’s or EQM’s as I would rather call them). You can try to see if this offer is open for you as well. My account was not targeted.

united-arlines-double-pqm-offer

The thing to note here is that this offer is valid for new ticket purchases made between September 13 to December 7, 2012, and for travel completed by December 7,2012.

The headline of this offer is misleading “Earn up to double Premier qualifying miles”. Higher fare classes already earn 50% bonus and combining with this offer, you can earn 200% PQM bonus first class, business class and high economy class fares. It is quite surprising that they are offering the 50% PQM bonus even for the lowest economy fare buckets.

Conclusion

united-airlines-dpqm-decline

You can always check to see if your account is targeted for this offer. If not, you will see a message saying that your account is not eligible.

Here are terms and conditions of this offer:

  1. Offer valid for members originally targeted, including original recipients of the email invitation.
  2. To qualify for the offer, register on united.com, then purchase and complete paid qualifying trips anywhere United flies.
  3. Offer valid for tickets purchased between September 13, 2012 and December 7, 2012 for travel completed between September 13, 2012 and December 7, 2012.
  4. On paid qualifying flights members can earn 50% additional bonus PQM for tickets purchased in United Global First, United First, United BusinessFirst, United Business and full-fare United Economy (F, A, J, C, D, Z, P, Y and B booking classes), and 50% bonus PQM for tickets purchased in discounted United Economy (M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, G, N and K booking classes).
  5. This offer does not apply to Premier qualifying segments, class-of-service bonus miles, class-of-service PQM, Premier bonus miles, redeemable bonus miles or other promotional PQM.
  6. PQM cannot be redeemed for award travel.
  7. Offer is not valid on United-marketed code-share flights operated by other carriers.
  8. Offer is not valid on government fares.
  9. Offer is not combinable and can be earned an unlimited number of times.
  10. Bonus will be posted to the member’s MileagePlus account at the end of the promotion period, and by December 31, 2012.
  11. E-Ticket® purchase is required. Tickets purchased in the U.S. through United Reservations are subject to a $25 ticketing fee and tickets purchased at airport ticket counters are subject to a $30 ticketing fee. Fees are subject to change.
  12. Flight activity must be posted to the member’s account by December 15, 2012 in order to qualify for this promotion.
  13. Offer is subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply.
  14. Miles accrued, awards issued and bonus offers are subject to the rules of the United MileagePlus program. For complete details about the program, visit united.com/mileageplus.

Promotion code TB4M54

United Airlines Mileage Plus – Buy or Gift Miles at 40% Discount

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United just emailed me an offer (same as last month) for buying miles at 40% when you buy more than 30000 miles at a time. This offer is valid until September 19 11:59PM CDT. Although the wording of the email indicates that this offer is targeted, it should be open for anyone using the link. The price of a mile bought under this offer including the tax is 2.26 cents each.

united-mileage-plus-buy-miles-september-2012-offer

The maximum number of miles that you can buy per year per account is capped at 100000. The way around is to open an account for all household members.

Does it make sense to buy United Mileage Plus miles at 2.26 cents each?

you are using your miles for international business and first class travel on Star Alliance partner airlines and don’t otherwise have easy access to earning miles, the answer is most likely yes. I personally value my United miles highly due to rather lax routing, double open jaw and a stopover rules.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

Offer details:

  • To take advantage of this offer, you must use the order links on this page.
  • For a limited time, save 20% off the regular price on purchases of less than 30,000 award miles, save 40% off the regular price on purchases of 30,000 award miles or more
  • Buy Personal Miles or Give Miles for less – only $28 per 1,000 miles when buying less than 30,000 award miles or only $21 per 1,000 miles when buying 30,000 or more award miles (normally $35 per 1,000 miles) plus a 7.5% excise tax for a limited time
  • 2,000 mile minimum purchase required and after that miles are available in increments of 1,000
  • Discount can be used multiple times while the promotion is valid
  • Promotional offer valid until 11:59 p.m. CDT on September 19, 2012
  • Purchase up to 100,000 MileagePlus Personal miles or Give Miles per account per calendar year
  • Credit card will be billed immediately for purchase
  • Program fees and mileage rates subject to change
  • Discounted pricing will automatically display when using the links on this page
  • Allow 48 hours for miles to post to MileagePlus® account
  • Personal Miles and Give Miles are non-refundable
  • These miles can only be used for awards and do not count toward Premier® status
  • If you have questions or concerns about this offer, please email custserv@ualmiles.com for assistance
  • All MileagePlus Program Rules and terms and conditions apply

(TB4485/TB4489)

Last Call for Awards on Qatar Airways Using United Mileage Plus

United partners are dropping like flies. First Emirates was gone, then was Virgin Atlantic’s turn earlier this year, and now it is a final couple of days to redeem awards on Qatar Airways. United gave heads up of this change on June 1st.

United Qatar Announcement
United Qatar Announcement

You can still continue booking awards that have Qatar legs until and on 14th of this month. Theoretically you should be able to do this over the phone as well, but you may encounter uninformed agents that tell you that the partnership has already ended when, in fact, it has not.

United Qatar BCN PER via DOH
United Qatar BCN PER via DOH

I have flown quite a bit on Qatar this year and have come to like their business class product and often empty cabins. Most often than not I have the entire two seat sections just for myself. I am not a huge fan, however, of the Qatar transit experience and the premium terminal that is at capacity often during the flight banks.

Qatar Plenty of Space
Qatar Plenty of Space

Conclusion

If you are contemplating using United miles on award tickets on Qatar, this is the last choice. The Qatar’s business class product is fantastic compared to United.

United Removes Flight Bucket and Upgrade Inventory Availability from United.com & Gone From Experflyer As Well

United made an announcement late on Friday about discontinuance of award, upgrade space, and fare bucket availability from United.com. Later in the day this information was no longer available using ExpertFlyer either. This information was useful when one was searching for flights based on GPU (Global Premier Upgrade) or RPU availability (Regional Premier Upgrade).

United Announcement About Removal of Availability Display
United Announcement About Removal of Availability Display

Later United clarified their position:

United Announcement Clarification
United Announcement Clarification

This information used to be available using ExpertFlyer as well but as of today the information is no longer available:

united-expertflyer-award-availability-gone

You still have access to the regular fare bucket availability using ExpertFlyer:

united-expertflyer-flight-availability

American Airlines still continues to publish this information via GDS that ExpertFlyer can access:

american-airlines-availability-expertflyer

Conclusion

Unlike American Airlines, United requires you to buy a W fare or higher in order to use their upgrade GPU instrument on long haul international flights. W fare costs hundreds of dollars more than discounted coach and it is wise only to book flights that one can confirm to business or first class at the time of ticketing, if one wishes to use upgrade instrument. Now, this information has been withdrawn from United.com.

The United spokesperson was referring for confusion that displaying this information has lead. I really would like to believe their spokesperson, but she just doesn’t make any sense. How booking a flight that has upgrade space available and then using one of the upgrade instruments can lead to confusion?

2000 United Airlines Mileage Plus Miles + 2000 Hyatt Gold Passport Points + GoGo Pass for $59 Is Back

On August 8th, I wrote about an offer from MilePoint, a Flyertalk clone but without the traffic. You can get 2000 United Mileage Plus miles and 2000 Hyatt Gold Passport points + number of other worthwhile offers for signing up MilePoint Platinum membership at $59 per year. Even if you have no interest about MilePoint, but are member of Hyatt & United, it makes sense to sign up.

milepoint-offer

Here’s a list of benefits. I have marked in RED the ones that I find useful. You can access this offer here once you have signed up for the MilePoint.

milepoint-offer-list

Conclusion

As was the case last month, I found this offer to be useful just for the Hyatt points and United miles alone.

United’s Computer Problems on August 28th

United has had quite a few problems with its computer systems since integration to the ones Continental used on March this year.

I was checking my account earlier today at a time when there was a message that the online system is down but that the phone would be able to help. I happened to be at the Guarulhos airport in Sao Paulo and few meters from the United’s ticketing desk.

united-flightstats

Apparently the airport systems were down as well but getting up at the time. At least for the domestic flights, United can just simply use “pen and paper” to check customers in. This doesn’t, however, work for international flights where United is required to transit the passenger manifest to US authorities certain number of minutes before the flight is scheduled to depart for clearance. This must have led to significant delays.

Now the fun part!

fake-united

There was the above conversation on Twitter between a fake Jeff Smisek and AA’s Twitter team that gave me a good laugh.

United Airlines Mileage Plus Buy or Gift Miles at 40% Discount

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United just emailed me an offer of 40% discount on the price of buying or gifting Mileage Plus miles. This offer is valid through 11:59PM CDT on August 22nd, 2012. The price of a mile bought under this offer including the exercise tax is 2.26 cents. You need to access this offer through a special link.

united-mileage-plus-buy-miles-august-2012-offer

You can buy or gift up to 100000 miles per calendar year per account. If you have more than one family member, they can all participate to this offer.

Does it make sense to buy United Mileage Plus miles at 2.26 cents each?

It really depends. If you are using your miles for international business and first class travel on Star Alliance partner airlines and don’t otherwise have easy access to earning miles, the answer is most likely yes. I personally value my United miles highly due to rather lax routing, double open jaw and a stopover rules.

Here’s the small print of this offer:

       To take advantage of this offer, you must use the order links on this page.

For a limited time, buy Personal Miles or Give Miles for less – only $21.00 per 1,000 miles (normally $35 per 1,000 miles) plus a 7.5% excise tax

15,000 mile minimum purchase required for this discounted rate and after that miles are available in increments of 1,000

Offer ends 11:59PM (Central Time) August 22, 2012

Purchase up to 100,000 MileagePlus Personal miles or Give Miles per account per calendar year

Credit card will be billed immediately for purchase

Mileage rates and other applicable fees are subject to change

Discounted pricing will automatically display when using the links on this page

Allow 48 hours for miles to post to MileagePlus account

Personal Miles and Give Miles are non-refundable

Purchased miles do not count toward Premier® qualification

If you have questions or concerns about this offer, please email custserv@ualmiles.com for assistance

All MileagePlus Program Rules and terms and conditions apply

(TB4483/TB4484)

What’s Happening with United Airlines?

The U.S. Department of Transportation just released their August Air Travel Consumer Report for the month of June, 2012. I have been following these reports to see if United has had any improvement when it comes to delays & complaints. The United’s numbers on the latest report are downright ugly compared to other legacies in the United States.

You can access the August Air Travel Consumer Report here.

Flights Arriving on Time

DOT Report Flights Arriving on Time
DOT Report Flights Arriving on Time

Compared to the first quarter of 2012 when United’s flights arrived on time 80.9% the June figure of 70.1% is bad. It is also the dead last compared to major legacies and regional carriers.

Flight Cancellations

DOT Report Cancellations
DOT Report Cancellations

United was third as of percentage of operations cancelled at 1.6%. In June United canceled total number of 727 flights. This number doesn’t include cancellations by United Express carriers.

Mishandled Bags

DOT Report Mishandled Baggage
DOT Report Mishandled Baggage

United has, again, the highest number of mishandled bags at 4.9 per 1000 enplanements. Compared to June 2011 the number is 15.6% higher.

Denied Boardings

Airlines maximize their revenue by overbooking their flights. There is no incentive neither for full fare/flexible ticket holders nor restricted ones to actually cancel their travel arrangements even if they are not making their flight(s).

In a case of overbooking, airlines tend to try finding volunteers first by offering them future travel credits and confirmed space on later flights. If there are no volunteers, the airlines then start involuntarily deny passengers.

DOT Report Denied Boardings
DOT Report Denied Boardings

Compared to April to June 2011 to 2012 period United’s number of involuntarily denied boarding compared to number of passengers enplaned, has more than doubled from 0.93 to 2.11 per 10000 passengers.

United is dead last on legacy carriers on this measurement as well. Your likelihood of getting involuntarily bumped on Delta is about one sixth compared to United.

Consumer Complaints

Filing a complaint with the DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division is normally the last resort if the carrier has not resolved the issue using other communication channels.

DOT Report Complaints June 2012
DOT Report Complaints June 2012

The number of complaints that United has received is more than double per 100000 enplanements to compared to second last which is US Airways. For comparison, Southwest had more enplanements than United but only received 19 complaints compared to United’s 585.

Compared to June 2011 the number of consumer complaints that DOT received in June 2012 is 169% higher when adjusted for number of enplanements.

Of all the 1353 complaints that the DOT received against the airlines operating in the United States (excluding foreign) ones, United’s share of 585 complaints represents 43%.

Conclusion

Obviously the operational merger with United Airlines and Continental Airlines has not gone as expected. The DOT operational and complaint figures doesn’t paint a very rosy picture of the current state of the airline.

I have flown more than a million mile with United and Continental combined and went through the difficult bankruptcy time as a United frequent flier member in the early 2000’s. It is sad to see that merger hasn’t worked anywhere near as expected from the consumer’s point of view. These DOT statistics are just horrific.

2000 United Airlines Mileage Plus Miles + 2000 Hyatt Gold Passport Points + GoGo Pass for $59

3 Comments

Milepoint is apparently having a premium membership drive and offering a nice package just for $59.

milepoint-offer

Here is a list of benefits & discounts that you will receive for $59.

milepoint-offer-list

Let’s say that if you value your Hyatt and United points at 1.5 cents each then the value of these two is greater than the price of $59 that Milepoint charges for their Premium membership. I have circled in red the benefits & discounts that I have found to be useful.

Conclusion

This is a very good offer that I will take advantage of as well. Buying 2000 Hyatt Gold Passport points and United Mileage Plus miles for just $59 is a very good deal.

Milepoint is a Flyertalk clone that was (surprisingly) founded by the founder of FlyerTalk (after selling the latter to Internet Brands).  For frequent traveler related information I have found the FlyerTalk to be far more useful than the Milepoint.

United’s “Map Your Dreams” Promotion Fiasco

This past spring United had a targeted promotion for bonus miles that were dependent how many round trips you were buying and flying on United Airlines between certain dates.

united-map-your-dreams

Yesterday, United made a following announcement on FlyerTalk regarding the promotion:

united-ft-map-your-dreams-announcement

Apparently United had been more relaxed with the ticketing dates and round trip requirement than what they had on their terms and conditions. Many FlyerTalk members reported that they had received bonus miles for flights that weren’t exactly per the terms and conditions of this promotion, and then made further plans to get the last one or two trips before the deadline to qualify for the full bonus.

Quite often companies like United have restrictive terms and conditions, and what actually posts as bonus miles or points can be quite different. United has multiple times in the past foregone the ticketing date requirement from the promos and the requirement of an exact round trip to make open jaw round trips eligible as well.

But this time United just withdraw all the awarded miles from Mileage Plus members. According to the release on FlyerTalk and the email received by participants of this promotion, the United will recalculate the miles earned from this promotion and will post them to qualified accounts sometime in July.

map-your-dreams-email

Conclusion

It is very interesting that United has so much time on their hands to recalculate some bonus miles, when people are continuously having problems with getting correct mileage posted to their accounts for the United and partner airlines flown. It is very bad form for United to withdraw miles that were already awarded.

If I had participated to this promotion and trusted United to calculate the bonus miles correctly, I would be fuming at this point.

Here are terms & conditions that United apparently didn’t follow when posting the bonus miles:

1. Offer valid only for original recipients of email or direct mail invitation.

2. To qualify, register for the offer before travel, then purchase and complete paid qualifying roundtrips to any destination worldwide on United or United Express® operated flights.

3. Ticketing period: 04/15/12 through 07/15/12.

4. Travel period: 04/15/12 through 07/15/12, excluding 07/03/12-07/05/12.

5. On specific number of paid qualifying roundtrip flights (as outlined in the offer) members can earn 5,000 bonus award miles, 10,000 bonus award miles or up to a maximum of 25,000 bonus award miles.

6. Bonus award miles do not count toward Premier® status and do not apply to class-of-service, Premier bonus miles or promotional Premier qualifying miles (PQM).

7. Offer is not valid on United-marketed codeshare flights operated by other carriers.

8. Offer is not valid on government fares.

9. A roundtrip is defined as travel from an origin city to a destination city with return travel beginning in the destination city back to the origin city.

10. Offer is not combinable and can be earned a maximum of one time. Bonus is credited 6-8 weeks after promotion end date of 07/15/12.

11. E-Ticket® purchase required. Tickets purchased in the US through United Reservations are subject to a $25 ticketing fee, and tickets purchased at airport ticket counters are subject to a $30 ticketing fee. Fees subject to change.

12. Flight activity must be posted to the member’s MileagePlus account in order to qualify for this offer.

13. Offer is subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply.

14. Miles accrued, awards issued and bonus offers are subject to the rules of the United MileagePlus program. For complete details about the MileagePlus program, go to united.com.

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