This month China has started issuing visas valid for multiple entry over 10 years to US passport holders for tourism and short-term business visits.

Your passport must be valid for at least a year, and you can continue to use your 10 year visa even when your passport expires and you get a new one. (You carry the old passport with you to prove the visa.)

This makes things a whole lot easier, since the Chinese visa can be expensive and it can be a pain to get, so not having to get one each time you visit is a real boon for travelers.

With the new 10 year China Visas, Allied Passport & Visa is offering View from the Wing readers 50% off service fees for a Chinese visa requested by the end of the year.

When I’ve done visas for China I’ve done them myself, I always found living in DC to be good at least for easy access to the embassies and consulates of many countries. But having someone else do it is easier, of course, and for much of the country – new 10 year validity notwithstanding – it’s still inconvenient to process these yourself.

Now, you’ll still pay China Embassy fees of $140 – $160, and you’ll pay the fee to have Allied FedEx your materials back to you ($22 – $45 depending on the priority you request). But you’ll get 50% off of their service fees.

  • Standard processing (10+ business days), normally $45, with this offer $22.50
  • Expedited processing (4-9 business days), normally $100, with this offer $50
  • Emergency processing (0-3 business days), normally $200, with this offer $100

To qualify for this offer just indicate “ViewFromTheWing” referred you on your Allied Order Form.

For avoidance of doubt, I do not get anything at all for the referral. When i highlighted an offer from Allied in the past, readers had universally positive things to say about the experience. So when China started offering 10 year visas, I decided to reach out to them to see if they’d offer a special discount. They were willing to, so I figured I’d pass the savings opportunity along to readers.

For those of you that make use of it, I’m thrilled, please feel free to share your stories in the comments.

And I’d love to hear from anyone that has used a visa processing service in the past, why did you and how did it go? Or do you prefer to do it yourself, and if so why?

News and notes from around the interweb:

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, and other banks are advertising partners of this site. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

As I told you to expect last week, the spending requirement to earn a signup bonus with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has gone up — but fortunately not by much, just from $3000 within 3 months of account opening to $4000. No other changes have been made at this time.

Fortunately that leaves the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card as the best all-around, most rewarding personal credit card.

It has one of the best signup bonuses, has strong benefits, and is a great card that rewards ongoing spending (because it has flexible points that transfer to a variety of airlines and hotels, and because it earns double points on all travel and dining).

  • Bonus: 40,000 points after $4000 in spending within 3 months plus 5000 more points for adding a free authorized user to the account and making a purchase within that same time frame
  • Valuable points: Chase points are among the two best currencies of any loyalty program. They transfer to United, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Hyatt, Marriott, and more.
  • Strong earning: Double points on travel and dining, useful all over the world with no foreign transaction fees, and Visa acceptance.
  • Good benefits: Like primary collision damage coverage on rental cars.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card in my view continues to be the all-around most lucrative credit card in the market as it has been for the past 3 years. There’s no annual fee the first year, then it has a $95 annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.

Emirates has a lot of Airbus A380s. Those are big planes, with a lot of seats, and they need to send them somewhere. Like Dallas.

Emirates wasn’t selling the bulk of their premium seats when they were flying a Boeing 777 on the route. Now they have even more premium seats.

And they’re facing competition to and through the Middle East from both Eithad (which is an American partner, and that helps a great deal in the Dallas market) and Qatar (which as a oneworld alliance member is an American partner, and that helps a great deal in Dallas).

Unsurprisingly, Emirates A380 first class award space is pretty darned wide open. A booked some seats a couple of weeks ago myself using Alaska Airlines miles.

As a result, Emirates is getting aggressive and generous. Here’s what they are offering folks booking their Dallas flight:

  • If you have American AAdvantage elite status, and buy a ticket for their Dallas – Dubai flight, they’ll give you a status match.

  • If you don’t have elite status with anyone, but buy a premium cabin ticket on their Dallas – Dubai flight, they’ll give you elite status in their Skywards program. (Interesting, it’s not clear that they would take the status away if you refunded the ticket after purchase and tier upgrade.)

Here’s How It Works

From the material for travel agents:

Issue an Emirates ticket and register the customer to the Skywards Program
Send the ticket number and the Skywards member number to
The passenger will receive the Skywards membership card to the mailing address.
Please contact if you have any questions about this promotion.

(HT: Hopwise)

American Express has long offered upscale and luxury hotels through their Fine Hotels and Resorts program — booking through them gets you benefits like a room upgrade if available, late checkout, breakfast, and another benefit like a meal or spa credit.

This is offered to Platinum and to Centurion cardmembers (the Centurion version usually comes with an additional benefit for bookings as well), and reservations made through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts are generally eligible for elite status benefits and stay credit, as well as points-earning in the relevant hotel loyalty program.

American Express now appears to be rolling out a new hotel program The Hotel Collection. This one tells you to “Log in or register your Gold or Platinum Card®” so appears to be available for a broader array of cardmembers.

The benefits they advertise:

  • Room upgrade, if available
  • $75 room folio credit on stays of 2 nights or more

You can book up to 3 rooms and receive benefits for each – you aren’t limited to your own room. And they’re clearly focusing on a less upscale lodging demographic than the Fine Hotels and Resorts program, with a marketing point being that they have hotels that start at $150 per night.

One more site for the arsenal, especially for non-elite members booking rooms at regular price and for everyone in that position staying 2 nights or more.

News and notes from around the interweb:

Last month Virgin America offered an 80% bonus on purchased miles for 8 hours only.

There’s a little bit more time, this time (up through December 12), to take advantage of an ‘up to 70% bonus’ for mileage purchases.

You have to log into your account to see the offer.

Virgin American points normally cost 5.2 cents apiece. This offer, maxed out at the top bonus tier, lets you buy them at ~ 3 cents (last month’s short-term offer was 2.9 cents).

That’s not a good deal for Virgin America flights, where points are worth about 2.2 cents in airfare.

For partner awards, which have award charts rather than pricing awards based on ticket cost, this can make some sense for a subset of folks who will have a specific use right away.

For instance, 30,000 miles is enough for a one-way San Francisco – London award in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic, but that purchase will need to be paired with $600 in taxes and fees.

Still, less than $1500 all-in for a one-way Virgin Atlantic business class flight isn’t bad as far as those things go.

And it can also be useful for short haul Singapore Airlines awards, although note that Virgin America has access to limited Singapore partner inventory and not Singapore’s generous offerings for its own members.

Point purchases are processed by, so to answer a common question about such transactions they do not post as travel or airfare to the credit card used for the purchase (and thus won’t earn applicable category bonuses).

(HT: Frequent Flyer Bonuses)

JetBlue announced on Wednesday that it will add 15 seats to its 150-seat Airbus A320s in 2016. That will reduce average seat pitch from 34.7 inches to 33.1 inches, which is still more generous than the 31 – 32 inch average across the industry.

In addition, JetBlue’s cheapest fares will no longer include first checked bag free.

We don’t know yet which seats JetBlue will be reducing legroom for to accommodate additional seating (reducing their extra legroom seats, or squeezing all seats, or in what proportion a combination of the two). And we don’t know how much JetBlue’s check bag feels will be. But it’s a clear sign that being more generous to customers in economy isn’t a business model that works, which is unfortunate but probably true.

People say they want better seating, but most of them won’t pay for it. Spirit Airlines performs well financially with the least comfortable seats (they don’t even recline, they sit upright, or as Spirit says they are ‘pre-reclined’). There’s a difference between stated preference and revealed preference.

American Airlines tried to give everyone better legroom in the early past of the last decade. It was “More Room Throughout Coach” and everyone got a couple of extra inches of legroom on every aircraft. Customers didn’t choose American over their competitors even at a similar price point. Because revealed preference is that people choose on schedule and price and not comfort. So American killed the plan and put the seats back in.

When planes are full, as they are now, pulling out seats means the airlines have to raise price (to break even, even). And that’s not what consumers want. The point here is that consumers say legroom is what they want, but they don’t actually make decisions that way.

I would love it if the seats in back had more legroom. I hate that American has been adding seats back into aircraft even in 2014 (reducing the number of Main Cabin Extra seats). As an elite member I get these for free, but fewer of them means they’re harder to get. And I’d actually pay a premium for the comfort. But not enough customers will to sustain it throughout the cabin.

And that’s why JetBlue is moving to less comfortable seating, and why they won’t give customers for free the checked bag other airlines charge for. Remember as well that checked bag fees that are not part of a fare are not subject to the federal 7.5% excise tax on domestic airfare. By unbundling the ticket price, even if total revenue doesn’t rise they shield the portion of travel cost that’s categorized as a bag fee from this tax.

United has announced several minor program changes for 2015 — none of them are good, none of them are awful, but they combine to take away real value from United’s elite members and add nothing of value in return. That seems to be the overall deal in the current environment and a consistent message coming from the MileagePlus program.

I’ve already written about United elites losing benefits on Copa Airlines. That’s not United’s fault — Copa is launching their own frequent flyer program, which is great. They’ll no longer be a part of MileagePlus, so United’s members will only get the benefits offered to them as Star Alliance elites.

Here’s what else has changed. See what the changes are, and what they mean to you. And sound off!

Copa Airlines is launching their own frequent flyer program in July and will no longer be part of United’s MileagePlus.

Copa used to be majority-owned by Continental Airlines, and Copa took on a variant of the Continental logo and joined Onepass. Continental started selling their investment in 2005, and by 2006 was down to 10% ownership. The special relationship continued. Now the airline is grown up and moving forward on its own.

As a result, the airline will continue to offer United elites Star Alliance benefits but will not offer United elite members the unique benefits they’ve had as through Copa was an extension of United. But there’s also a big upside in this, a new Star Alliance frequent flyer program is coming — that has a chance to be really valuable for North American members.
I’m actually really excited. Continue reading to see why…

New York City booked 100 rooms at the Radisson JFK .. and didn’t tell the hotel that the rooms were for the homeless.

The hotel is furious and says they won’t rent rooms to the Departmnet of Homeless Services again at any price.

Pierre Merhej, the general manager of the Radisson Hotel on 145th Street in Jamaica, said a representative from the city called his hotel’s sales office last month and said the city would need dozens of rooms at the 385-room hotel for a “government group” in November, he said.

“When you say they have a government group, as hotel people we like government groups,” Merhej said, adding that November is usually a slow month for the hotel, which is a few blocks from John F. Kennedy Airport.

…“It really doesn’t have an impact on our regular guests,” he said.

The hotel apparently allowed DHS to cater outside food and drink, something large groups are frequently forbidden to do. The homeless have since moved out of the hotel.

The piece observes that the hotel is right next to what used to be a homeless shelter, so…

I’m very much not a connoisseur of homeless shelters, but the Radisson JFK has always struck me as likely around the upper range of what most homeless shelters are like. Which is really just saying it’s about average for a hotel near JFK airport.

So here’s the thing:

  • Would it bother you to stay in a hotel where the largest in-house group are homeless?
  • Don’t they have a right to stay on property if the going rate is being paid for their accommodations?

How do you come down, as a guest?

(HT: Alan H.)

Philippine Airlines flies non-stop from North America to Southeast Asia. You don’t hear about them often because they do not have any US frequent flyer partners, and no bank program transfers points to the Mabuhay Miles program.

And yet therein lies an opportunity.

  • Just like Chase transfers to Korean Air open up a world of availability to Asia because there’s very little competition for first class awards on Korean from US members, if you can get access to miles that can be redeemed on Philippine Airlines you’ve got a whole world of availability at your fingertips.
  • Citibank points transfer to Etihad Guest and Eithad’s miles can be used on Philippine Airlines.
  • ANA Mileage Club has a new partnership with Philippine Airlines. American Express Membership Rewards points and Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints transfer to ANA.

Here are the routes that Philippine Airlines flies daily:

  • Manila – Vancouver
  • Manila – San Francisco (plus a second flight once a week)
  • Manila – Los Angeles (plus a second flight four times a week)

Sure, you can try to redeem for United, Asiana, or ANA. But with Philippine Airlines the line is shorter.

Philippine Airlines awards can’t be searched for online that I’m aware of, so you have to call presently (in this case Etihad) to find the space as well as book.

With the ANA partnership I wouldn’t be surprised if Philippine Airlines space becomes bookable (and therefore seaerchable) on their website on or about November 26 when the new relationship takes flight.

    Even the Philippine Airlines website does not have online award search for the carrier’s seats — their members actually have to issue tickets in person!.

The Etihad Option…

The Etihad Guest program prices awards based on distance. For Philippine Airlines awards these flights fall within the 6001 – 8000 mileage band.

That means the price each way is:

  • 70,000 points for economy
  • 124,444 points for business class

Taxes and fees run a little over $250 each way. Awards must be booked at least 14 days prior to travel.

That’s a lot of points. And Philippine Airlines isn’t known for having the single best inflight product. But it’s a way to use Citibank Thank You Points for long haul business class, with very little competition (remember, until recently you could only use the points at a little over a penny apiece towards paid airfare so a business class roundtrip could cost 300,000 – 800,000 points — comparatively speaking this is a bargain!).

And unlike American Express or Chase points, Thank You Points may be transferred t anyone you wish

ANA Mileage Club Saves You Tons of Points

ANA current has a distance-based award chart which will last through mid-April.

Taking the Vancouver or San Francisco non-stops is less than 14,000 miles roundtrip so a business class award would cost just 90,000 miles. Taking the Los Angeles flight roundtrip would be 105,000 miles in business class. And you could tack additional flying beyond Manila on Philippine Airlines – as long as you stay under 18,000 total miles flown – for that same 105,000 miles.

Starting in mid-April ANA will be moving to a zone- or region-based award chart. Under this chart South Asia roundtrip in business class will cost 110,000 miles. ANA does add fuel surcharges to award tickets.

Delta’s new 2015 frequent flyer program is coming closer to fruition.

They’ve improved the award search calendar, though there are still bugs and glitches and it doesn’t support all of their airline partners (but at least the calendar now supports some!).

And as part of the introduction of one-way awards, I I told you to expect that stopovers would no longer be allowed on award tickets without spending additional miles.

If you’re flying New York – Paris – Prague, you can currently book a ticket that lets you stop for a few days in Paris on the way. The website already implemented a change where it charges more for that stopover. That turned out to be a change simply made early, that Delta didn’t plan to reverse, rather than a glitch.

Delta has now confirmed that there will no longer be stopovers allowed without additional miles as part of award tickets starting in 2015.

Delta let me know that they updated their website as follows:

For Award Travel booked prior to January 1, 2015, one stopover is allowed per roundtrip Award Ticket under certain circumstances. A stopover is defined as a stay of more than 4 hours between domestic flights and more than 24 hours between domestic and international or all international flights. The destination city is not considered a stopover. A stopover is allowed, provided there are no more than two connections between the origin and destination including any connections that are made while traveling to/from the stopover point. The stopover city must be located on a valid routing.

Stopovers will no longer be permitted for Award Travel booked on or after January 1, 2015.

This is a way to charge more miles for award tickets, without changing pricing on the award chart.

  • Some airlines like United allow one-way awards, and allow stopvoers when booking a roundtrip.
  • Some airlines like Alaska allow stopovers on one-way awards.

But Delta isn’t alone in this. American doesn’t allow stopovers on their awards, either.

Each program is different, with a varying mix of availability, rules, benefits. Delta was already less generous than its competitors. This is a stealth award price increase.

Starwood is offering up to a 25% discount on purchased points through the end of the year.

  • 10% off 500–9,500 Starpoints
  • 15% off 10,000–14,500 Starpoints
  • 20% off 15,000–19,500 Starpoints
  • 25% off 20,000 Starpoints

This isn’t an uncommon offer — Starwood offered this back in April, last November, and the previous March — but it’s also the biggest discount I’ve seen (it can liekly be taken to be as good an offer as it gets).

The ‘normal’ price on Starpoints is 3.5 cents per point. Ouch. Fortunately, unlike airline miles, you don’t pay an additional tax on top. And there’s not also a ‘processing fee’ like many of the airlines charge.

If you max out on the discount, and buy 20,000 points (which is what you are permitted to buy each year, although each member of a family at the same residential address could buy 20,000 and combine the points into a single account), it would cost you $525… that’s 2.625 cents per point.

Still not compelling, it can be possible to get better than 2.6 cents per point in value from hotel redemptions but only the best redemptions do orders of magnitude better.

Here’s what it opens the door for, though. Most Starwood airline mileage transfer partners are at a 1:1 ratio, and they give you an additional 5000 miles when you transfer 20,000.

You can view buying 20,000 Starpoints as really buying 25,000 airline miles — and then you are buying miles at 2.1 cents apiece.

That’s going to be too rich for most people, but if you need to top off for instance an Alaska Airlines account towards a good specific award then this can be a reasonable way to do it as it’s a lower price than Alaska usually sells miles for even when they’re running promotions.

For most people, this is one to take a pass on, but some will find it strategically useful. It’s unfortunate for those people that the number of points you can purchase per account is so limited. Clearly the idea is to top off an existing balance, rather than to pay for significant stays at a discount.

News and notes from around the interweb:

American Express is opening a new lounge at the Seattle Airport next year. But it won’t be a Centurion lounge as we’ve come to know them. Instead it’s a Centurion Studio.

Here’s what American Express shared with me,

[W]e are opening a new Card Member space in Seattle-Tacoma Airport – it’ll be an extension of the Centurion Lounge but in a smaller footprint. We’ll have the amenities Card Members tell us are most important when they’re on the road: comfortable seating, charging stations, fast and free WiFi, and complimentary healthy snacks and drinks.

There are Centurion Lounge locations currently in:

The Centurion Lounges feature outstanding food and drink, and some locations include showers, kids room, and even a spa.

Access for Centurion and Platinum cardholders is free for the member plus their spouse and children or two guests. Other American Express cardholders may pay $50 per adult with children complimentary.

I asked American Express where this new Seattle lounge would be located and American Express let me know “It’ll be right off the Main terminal towards concourse B, post-security and easily accessible to all terminals.”

I also asked whether the smaller footprint of this lounge is a function of available space, or a smaller cardmember base in Seattle?

They explained,

We’re taking advantage of available space at Sea-Tac. The right space for a lounge isn’t always available but we still want to be where our Card Members are.

Already American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders receive Priority Pass Select membership, which provides unlimited visits to participating lounges for the cardmember (guests ae charged). That includes access to the Alaska Airlines Boardroom in Seattle. So this is simply another option for American Express cardholders at the Seattle airport. Of course once the American Express lounge project is substantially rolled out, it wouldn’t surprise me if they decided the Priority Pass membership was duplicative. It might not last forever.

What I wanted to know from American Express is: do they plan to replicate elsewhere? And I suspect the answer is, it depends on what space they can gain access to at each airport they want to be in.

  • They’ve previously told me that they want to be in all major cities in the U.S.
  • Each lounge will be somewhat different based on available space and also on the travel profile for the airport — LaGuardia for instance isn’t a major international connecting airport, so showers aren’t the first best use of scarce space.

So without a lot of space available that made sense where their location could be accessible to members, but with a desire for a presence in Seattle, they went for a smaller space. Rather than a ‘Studio’ I almost wish American Express had called this “Centurion Lounge Express.” That’s travel-industry speak for fewer frills, right?

I’m really looking forward to the Miami lounge opening in the first half of 2015… and to learning what other locations will come next!

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, and other banks are advertising partners of this site. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

No Annual Fee Chase Freedom®

  • Has a limited-time 20,000 point signup bonus
  • Gives you another 2500 points for an authorized user
  • Can Give You an ‘Extra’ 24,000 Points Per Year, Each Year

This is one of the very best no fee cards.

The limited-time 20,000 point signup bonus after $500 spend within 3 months is an increase over the previous 10,000 point bonus. It’s marketeed as $200 cash back, but the points have better uses as I’ll explain below.

The card also offers 2,500 bonus points (“$25 cash back”) for adding a free authorized user to the account and making a purchase within the same time period.

Even though the Chase Freedom card is a no fee card, it has strong earning because it offers 5 points per dollar in a different set of categories each quarter.

You have to register anew each quarter for the bonus, and then you can earn the 5x offering on up to $1500 in spend for that quarter.

The 5 points categories for the first quarter of 2015, January through March, are: grocery stores, Starbucks, and movie theaters. Grocery stores are easy.

Since this represents an extra 4 points per dollar on top of the standard 1 you’d earn with most cards and in most categories of spending, you pick up an extra 24,000 points per year with Chase Freedom. Which is pretty good on a no annual fee card. (The math is 4 extra points per dollar x $1500 per quarter x 4 quarters, so 4 extra points on $6000 spend or 24,000 points.)

To Get the Most Value from the Freedom Cards, You Need Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus Too

The Freedom Cards are cash back cards only — 1% for normal spend, 5% for the 5x bonuses spend each quarter — unless you have one of the premium Ultimate Rewards cards.

If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (or Ink Plus business card) you can move your points earned with Freedom over to an account with one of these cards.

That makes all of the points transferable to miles with Ultimate Rewards partners.

  • Airlines: United, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Korean Airlines, Southwest, Singapore
  • Hotels: Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, IHG Rewards
  • Ground: Amtrak

That’s because you can transfer the points from your Freedom card to one of the other card accounts that allows transfers to miles and points… so you wind up with transferable points instead of cash back.

Chase Freedom®

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.

Regular readers know that throwaway and hidden city ticketing is a technique that can be used to save thousands of dollars on airfare.

It’s not illegal (and the New York Times “Ethicist” endorses it), but it’s generally against airline rules, and there are some basic practices you need to follow to make sure you or your bags don’t wind up in the wrong city!

  • You’re buying a ticket from A to B to C, where A to C is cheaper than buying A to B, but getting off in B.
  • You can’t check bags or else they will go to C.
  • In the event of weather or cancellations, an airline may want to reroute you to C via a different connecting city (“D”).

Airlines see themselves as selling you a ticket from A to C, rather than a seat on a plane for A-B and also B-C where you have the right not to sit in the B-C seat.

For the last year a website called SkipLagged has been able to automate the process of finding routes for you to book that can save you money through this hidden city technique.

I’m surprised it’s taken this long, but United and Orbitz are now suing the site.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the complaints are based on unauthorized linking to their websites, and unfair business practices.

Among those concerns, according to the complaint, is United’s resultant inability to estimate flight passenger counts which can cause departure delays and affect fuel load computations.

Orbitz, an online travel booking site, and United claim neither of them gave Zaman permission to engage in hidden-city ticketing. Claiming he is unfairly competing against them and creating false associations by linking customers to their websites, they’re seeking a court order halting the conduct.

It would be a fascinating legal argument, although I imagine that with much deeper pockets Orbitz and United are better-positioned to prevail regardless of the merits.

(HT: Alan H.)

Back at the beginning of the year Delta announced half of how their frequent flyer program would work in 2015. They released changes to mileage earning but told us nothing about how miles would be spent.

They explained that miles from flights would be based on spending. We learned that there would be a 5 tier award chart for each of economy and business class — 10 prices rather than the 4 that airlines historically had (and United continues to have) and the 6 that Delta introduced with Low, Medium, and High pricing.

But we needed know what those prices would be, so we were missing a big piece of the puzzle about the value of the 2015 program.

After continually calling Delta out for their ‘secret award chart’ — telling members the program would be great, but not letting members know anything about award pricing — they published their award chart for travel between North America and other parts of the world.

  • We still didn’t know what availability would look like, or more specifically availability at each of the 5 levels. My bet is that even if there’s better availabiltiy in the middle tiers than before, than there won’t be better availability at the traditional saver level.
  • We still didn’t know what prices would be for travel throughout the rest of the world, that didn’t touch North America.

However, the fact that they did release award pricing in advance for travel to or from North America obliterated the fake argument Delta used to make that they were legally required to devalue their program without advance notice to members, claiming to do otherwise would be illegal. (See Delta offers the dumbest excuse from a frequent flyer program, ever?)

So you’d think they’d be willing to share the pricing. Of course, it wasn’t until four years ago that they published award charts for other regions at all.

It turns out that as Delta prepares for 2015, they’ve gone ahead and gotten up their 2015 award charts for travel throughout the world.

For instance, here are the award charts for travel to and from Europe.

To take one example, travel between Europe and the ‘South Asian Subcontinent’ (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territory; India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) was 35,000 miles each way in economy and 40,000 each way in business class at the ‘low’ or ‘saver’ level. That lowest level remains 35,000 in economy and goes up to 42,500 each way in business.

I haven’t yet done a full analysis of worldwide changes, I’m jetlagged off of a long haul flight. But first blush is that there are some price increases but no obliterations. The overwhelming affect of the changes will come from changes to relative availabilty in each of the 5 tiers (compared to 3 tiers today) for travel on Delta, and the extent to which Delta Skymiles will offer its members the same award seats that their partner airlines are offering to their own members and members of other partner frequent flyer programs.

Undoubtedly duct tape is a miracle of modern science.

The Discovery Channel series MythBusters has featured duct tape in a number of myths that involve non-traditional uses. Confirmed myths include suspending a car for a period of time, building a functional cannon, a two-person sailboat, a two-person canoe (with duct tape paddles), wearable shoes, a leak proof water canister, rope, and a hammock which can support the weight of an adult male, and constructing a bridge that spanned the width of a dry dock. In the episode “Duct Tape Plane,” the MythBusters repaired (and eventually replaced) the skin of a lightweight airplane with duct tape and flew it a few meters above a runway.

Reader Dick sends along this photo of a United Express regional jet at O”Hare.

Seeing a plane repaired with what appears to be duct tape makes me think that reading FAA paperwork on aircraft repairs might be more interesting than I had previously imagined.

While this isn’t tape you’d buy in a hardware store, and isn’t at all out of the ordinary, it’s sure a site to see.

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View from the Wing is a project of Miles and Points Consulting, LLC. This site is for entertainment purpose only. The owner of this site is not an investment advisor, financial planner, nor legal or tax professional and articles here are of an opinion and general nature and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances.

Advertiser Disclosure: Many (but not all) of the credit card offers on the site are from banks from which we receive compensation if you are approved. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards other than in banner advertising (we do not currently control the banner advertising on this blog). We don’t include all US credit card offers available on this site. Instead, I write primarily about cards which earn airline miles, hotel points, and some cash back (or have points that can be converted into the same).

Editorial Note: The opinions, analyses, and evaluations here are mine and not provided by any bank including (but not limited to) American Express, Chase, Citibank, US Bank, Barclaycard or any other company. They have not reviewed, approved or endorsed what I have to say.