News and notes from around the interweb:

Effective February 2, Starwood will offer complimentary internet at all hotels to all members as long as reservations are made through an SPG channel.

Non-status members are only entitled to throttled speeds, where applicable. Golds, who can already choose internet as an amenity option, will get high speed internet and can still select a points or beverage amenity.

Starwood is a follower here — IHG Rewards came out with internet for everyone a year ago (though of course most of their hotels already gave it to everyone as a brand standard, only the upper-tier ones did not and in certain regions).

And Marriott announced this two months ago, with a similar restriction of having to book through Marriott channels. (Though of course this doesn’t mean free internet in meeting spaces.)

That leaves Hilton and Hyatt in a tough spot. Hyatt gives free internet to all elites, which means all of its co-brand credit card holders as well. And Hilton gives it to Golds, a benefit provided to their premium cardholders.

Internet charges are an area of frustration, and brands that solve that earn business. At least that’s the view American Express has adopted. It’s long been ironic that the cheaper brands have provided free internet, while higher room rates include less.

The challenges that hotels face are legacy contracts for providing the service, and a small number of buests using the majority of bandwidth, that they don’t have sufficient capacity to provide internet to everyone and so charging not only pays their costs but also rations use — hence even when it’s free, the broadest base of members get throttled speeds, or at least chains allow individual hotels to offer throttled speeds.

It will be interesting to see how long Hyatt (which just extended its room type guarantee to all members) and Hilton can buck the trend, or whether they’ll lose business to Marriott, Starwood, and IHG.

Vanilla Reload cards used to be a widely available and amazing tool. You were basically buying money that could be loaded onto a variety of prepaid card products. And many places took credit cards when purchasing them.

Back when they were sold by office supply stores, many cardholders earned 5 points per dollar. And when they were sold broadly at drugstores like CVS, there were still category bonuses (including 5 less valuable Thank You points per dollar).

The option to purchase Vanilla Reload cards with a credit card ended at CVS back in April. That was sad because of CVS’ reach, and because they were permitting the purchase of $5000 worth of cards each and every day. Some smaller, regional chains or individual stores within chains still allowed it.

According to a notice that American Express sent to Bluebird cardholders that was forwarded to me by Stu:

While many mourned the demise of Vanilla Reload cards long ago (and a few still had access to them), it looks like the product itself may find its way into the dustbin of miles-generation opportunities. There are of course other ways to ‘buy money’. But a moment for the beloved reloads are in order.

The President’s actions on Cuba today don’t yet allow for increased tourism, though that’s the next logical step.

Wednesday’s announcement that the U.S. will move toward restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba will also make it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba and do business with the Cuban people by extending general licenses, officials said. While the more liberal travel restrictions won’t allow for tourism, they will permit greater American travel to the island.

Here are the current changes to policy:

  • The State Department will consider removing Cuba from its list of sponsors of terrorism.
  • The US will expand export of goods and services to Cuba, inc;luding construction materials and communications equipment. (Only 5% of Cubans have access to the internet today, that will eventually change.)
  • US credit and debit cards will be able to be used in Cuba, and travelers will be permitted to mport up to $400 worth of items (including $100 in alcohol and tobacco). There’ll be a run on Cuban cigars, although I ‘understand’ they aren’t as good as they once were.
  • Permitted remittances to Cuban family members will be increased to $2,000 per quarter.

Scott Mayerowitz has an Associated Press piece useful for laying out the volume of existing travel between the US and Cuba. American has the most robust operation already flying 12-14 charter flights a week. JetBlue operates there on a lesser scale predominantly from Fort Lauderdale, and Delta used to fly there but hasn’t in two years.

As far as who can travel there currently, “close relatives of Cubans, academics and people on accredited cultural education programs can visit… [a]bout 170,000 authorized travelers made the trip last year”

For years of course Americans have traveled largely to Mexico but also to Canada and elsewhere as a jumping off point for purchase of separate tickets to Cuba. There have been occasional run-ins with US authorities over this, especially when US financial records show spending dollars in Cuba, but for the most part there’s been lax enforcement.

While Cuba will certainly see a boom in tourism when things open up, much of it will be curiosity factor at first. There’s a whole lot of infrastructure investment that will need to happen before it becomes a world class tourism destination, and there really aren’t top end accommodations presently although as Mayerowitz notes Spanish chain Melia hotels has 26 properties there currently.

I expect that Cuba won’t be an especially good use of miles, as Florida and the Caribbean are not presently most of the time, but being able to travel there freely – eventually, and many now expect (and have expected for some time) – will certainly be a boon to Cubans and to the freedom of Americans.

Here’s a Cuban joke, that today’s changes begin to make obsolete.

I stay connected pretty incessantly while on the road, even on ‘vacation’. I make sure I have internet and phone capability wherever I go. And I do my best to keep the costs reasonable.

I haven’t found a magic solution for that which really makes me happy. There are tradeoffs and downsides to every strategy one can employ — whether cost, too many devices to carry around, or speed.

Here are the tools I’m using so stay well-connected by phone and internet without breaking the bank! Keep reading…

Doctor of Credit finds a short-term offer for the Delta co-brand American Express cards.

Through December 21, American Express is offering a 50,000 mile bonus $1000 spend within three months of account approval. In addition, there’s a $50 statement credit if you make a purchase from Delta within those three months.

The offer is targeted, may not be available to everyone, but is live for both the personal Gold Delta Skymiles Credit Card and the business version of that card as well. There’s a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95, and as with all such things terms and conditions apply.

I’m not on the whole a fan of Skymiles relative to other currencies, but with Delta’s move to revenue-based mileage-earning in 2015, miles earned from credit cards become relatively more important than miles earned from flying.

Fuel surcharges aren’t about fuel.

  • They are a convenient, easy way to raise or lower all fares in a market.
  • Since they are a surcharge rather than part of the fare, they aren’t subject to percentage discounts that may attach to certain contracts.
  • They conveniently are an excuse to charge more for award passengers (in some programs and for travel on some airlines), whose mileage currency can’t be used anywhere a member wants the way cash can.

Airlines have used the price of fuel as the narrative for high costs, and explain surcharges rather than changes in fare as fuel (even though when coded as “YQ” they are ‘miscellaneous’ charges in the fare construction), it’s becoming tough for the storyline that attaches to these fees.

Air Canada solves this by just changing the name of the fee to the empty phrase ‘carrier surcharge.

Skift reports that Japan Airlines is reducing their surcharge February 1. What’s more interesting to me is that Skift gets British Airways’ parent company on the record doing backflips to explain all the reasons that they won’t reduce the fuel surcharges even with lower fuel prices.

“The fuel surcharge has never recovered the rise in our airlines’ fuel costs since the oil price started increasing more than 10 years ago,” said an IAG Spokesperson. “The current decrease in fuel prices does not have an immediate, noticeable impact on our airlines given that we hedge a significant proportion of our fuel. In addition, the US dollar has strengthened recently against the euro and sterling, partly offsetting any savings that the lower prices may provide.”

So it’s never been about the cost of fuel, and we’ve never really made up for higher costs. We bet on commodity markets anyway, so derivatives trading. And currency markets (which we apparently don’t hedge). And stuff. Oh, look, shiny things!

I’ve written about the Ritz-Carlton Rewards co-brand credit card occasionally over the past couple of years.

There have been a couple of really outstanding offers for it, like 70,000 points and no fee the first year, and 140,000 points while paying the steep $395 annual fee even the first year. But I hadn’t seen either of those around in the past few months.

Doctor of Credit finds the 140,000 Ritz-Carlton Rewards card offer available (requires $3000 spend within 3 months).

  • The card comes with Ritz-Carlton Gold status (which is Marriott Rewards Gold) the first year, and then you keep it by spending $10,000 on the card each year.
  • There’s a $300 airline fee credit as well that helps take the sting out of the annual fee.
  • There are also some fairly restrictive club lounge upgrade and $100 folio credits with Ritz-Carlton stays as well.
  • Concierge service that I’ve heard is now handled by the same company which takes care of Palladium card customers (which the President has). Unfortunately that’s a downgrade to the Palladium concierge, rather than an improvement for the Ritz-Carlton card.

You’re supposed to choose whether you want to be a member of Ritz-Carlton Rewards or Marriott Rewards. They don’t want you to be a member of both. The programs are almost identical except for the promotions.

I value Marriott points at a little less than a penny apiece.

On the whole I see these points as well worth the cost though in full disclosure I am not signing up for the offer myself.

News and notes from around the interweb:

Cranky Flier points out that with Delta’s rebranding of their cabins they’re going to be rolling out restrictive ‘basic economy’ fares into more markets.

Last week I wrote about Delta’s cabin rebranding efforts, but I failed to really grasp something that is likely going to become a big issue. The lowest fare, Basic Economy, is going to roll out into more markets and become much more restrictive. It’s structured in a way that virtually guarantees a segment of people who buy it are going to be really pissed off. Those who may not understand what they’re buying have no way to remedy their situation. Not even ultra low cost carriers like Spirit do that, probably because it doesn’t make financial sense to do it that way.

Delta’s ‘Basic Economy’ fares will no longer offer same-day confirmed changes or standby. They already don’t include seat assignments. And elites, regardless of status level, will no longer be able to upgrade on them.

These are fares that started out as a reaction to Spirit Airlines. Delta wanted to offer a product just as bad as Spirit’s. But Spirit lets you pay for a seat assignment. Delta won’t give you a seat assignment at all on these fares.

As I explained,

Delta customers flying routes where the airline competes with Spirit, beware. A Detroit-based flyer doesn’t just have to pay attention on their Florida trips, anymore, since Spirit is flying to Dallas, Houston, and Denver as well. In fairness, Delta does make it clear on their website what sort of fare is being booked.

Delta has minimum revenue requirements for elite status, so presumably customers fly on these fares are doing so only occasionally. Delta sees the customers as profitable enough to reward — just not all the time. A revenue-based program isn’t enough: they need to punish their most loyal flyers on individual trips, too.

What Cranky is saying, though, is that it will no longer just be Spirit routes.

And he points out that customers, especially booking through online travel agencies, may find themselves with these fares ($10 less than otherwise lowest price) without even realizing it.

I just received an email from American AADvantage,

Happy Holidays! Our bonus miles gift to you!

I almost deleted it because, well, that’s what I do when I’m busy. But I also know I need to read this things on the rare off-change that they’re useful, because.. well.. blog.

And it’s free miles for the holidays for being a Citi Executive Card cardholder.

No word yet on whether folks who still have more than one Exective card are getting more than one mileage deposit or not.

The miles are already in my account:

Interestingly another account I manage that also has a Citi Executive card attached does not have the bonus miles deposited, and has not received this email. Both cards have similar spending profiles and both accounts have the same status level.

Presumably Citi thinks the goodwill generated will boost retention, and that 2000 miles now for lots of customers are worth more than a retention bonus when an individual decides to cancel. Although that presupposes a great deal of rationality and calculation on Citi’s part that may not be warranted.

Interesting nonetheless.

I’m about to head off on another trip, which I’m somewhat ambivalent about because of how much I’ve been on the road lately.

But I’ve also done vacation and I’m much happier to share that trip with you in the coming days. It was a return to cities I’ve been to many times, it was visiting with family at the back end on the other side of the world, but it was also some top notch airline products including first class on two A380s (taking an A380 to visit family for the holidays really improves holiday travel). Some great hotels, and amazing meals.

Qantas, Singapore and Cathay First – Oh My!

Late last year I stumbled upon two Qantas A380 first class award seats, Sydney – Los Angeles for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. There’s a trick to booking these award seats…

When United inked a deal with Hertz, giving more bonus miles for Hertz rentals and Hertz status for United elites, Hertz (and its Dollar and Thrifty brands) became United’s exclusive car partner. In other words, the end of United miles for Avis rentals.

But United didn’t get the same level of exclusivity from Hertz, it seems.

Because Hertz has also inked a new deal with Delta.

Here are the benefits of the Delta Hertz status deal:

  • Delta’s Diamond and Platinum members get Hertz President’s Circle status
  • Delta’s Gold members get Hertz Five Star status

Presidents Club is the second-highest level in the Hertz program. It’s what United’s 1K and Platinum members get. United Golds get 5 star, and Delta’s similar elites get it too.

United Silvers also get 5 Star, while Delta silvers do not. And there’s no bonus earning built into the Delta-Hertz relationship.

Still, this is a real benefit for Delta elites. And adds to the hotel status that they get as well.

(HT: Loyalty Lobby)

IHG is acquiring Kimpton hotels for $430 million.

Kimpton has been shopping itself. And they’ve fetched an impressive sum considering their size and earnings. The IHG Kimpton deal is a smaller one than what some had expected — there’s been rumors of an IHG Starwood deal, and a Wyndham IHG combination.

I wasn’t a big fan of Kimpton’s loyalty program changes announced over the summer. Nonetheless, the chain offered a personalized experience and one where they tended to go above and beyond program rules.

In general I find that the smaller hotel programs are the most rewarding. I’ve often said that it doesn’t take much effort to be loyal to Marriott or Hilton. When you turn up in a city you sort of fall into one of their hotels. It takes effort to be loyal to a Hyatt, so Hyatt’s program needs to give you a reason to do so.

Similarly, Kimpton’s program engendered real loyalty among its frequent guests. Top tier members get a free night at each new hotel the chain opens. They even get formal access to the chain’s CEO.

Nothing will happen right away. The transaction will have to close. The chains will initially be run separately. But presumably Kimpton will get folded into the IHG portfolio, and Kimpton’s members will become IHG Rewards Club members.

“I want to be an IHG Rewards Club Platinum” said no Kimpton elite member, ever. For hotel guests this isn’t really a win, although my IHG Rewards Club points did just get a little more valuable.

… In some cases. And that mattters.

Delta says their new program rewards their highest spending customers, but they cap mileage earning at 75,000 miles per ticket. This cap is inclusive of elite and class of service bonuses.

For revenue-based earning that means Delta’s 125,000 mile a year Diamond members will not earn a single additional mile for business class tickets over $6818.18 (in base fare plus fuel surcharges).

So let’s look at the most expensive tickets that different airlines offer, and see which ones will earn more miles (leaving aside for now that American miles are themselves worth more than Delta miles).

If a Delta Diamond 125,000 mile flyer buys a business class ticket (Delta’s top cabin) from New York to Australia for $9280 in fare and fuel surcharges plus taxes, they’re not going to earn the full 11 miles per dollar (102,080 miles). They’re going to earn 75,000 miles.

If an American Executive Platinum buys a business class ticket (American’s top cabin) from New York to Australia, including an American Airlines codeshare flight on Qantas, they’ll earn:

That’s a total of 97,815 miles earned.

So American will offer more miles to the customer buying the most expensive ticket than Delta will.

Delta flyers can get around the cap in order to earn as many miles as American will award here by only buying one-way tickets. Even there the point remains: under Delta’s new revenue-based mileage-earning system, a customer has to game Delta’s system just to break even on mileage-earning. That’s a far cry from the idea Skymiles promotes that their system will award the most miles to the highest paying customers.

And then you bring back in that AAdvantage miles are worth far more than Delta miles.

Lest you think this isn’t a fair comparison, because it includes American’s premium transcon flights between New York and Los Angeles which earn significant bonuses, you can drop those and choose, say, New York – Hong Kong as the market so that for American you fly via Dallas. A top tier AAdvantage elite would still earn 73,557 miles for that trip.

No matter how much you spend on a Delta ticket you can’t earn more than 75,000 miles. But the top premium cabin tickets can earn as many or more miles on American, miles that are considered worth more to most observers, while American isn’t hacking way at the value of everyone else’s earning either.

The mileage-earning comparison won’t hold on all routes. Short-distance, non-stop premium cabin tickets, for instance, may do better with Delta. Say an $800 ticket that’s 400 miles each way. But even there the new American bonus closes the gap. Even in this example, with short distance expensive connecting flights American’s program is more desirable because the new premium cabin bonus applies to each flight segment.

As you get shorter routes that are more expensive, at a variety of points, you’ll earn more miles with Delta than with American. But American’s new 2015 earning promotion closes the gap — and eliminates the narrative that revenue-based programs offer more points-earning to high fare passengers than mileage-based programs do.

The promotion also closes the gap on the earn side so that the value of the miles earned matter. And the value of the elite program. Even for high spenders.

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).

These are the cards offering limited-time, above normal signup bonuses where they may end soon or it’s uncertain how long the offer will last.

So if these are on your radar you may consider signing up now, before they revert to the usual lesser offer.

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.

Yesterday I wrote about the new IHG Rewards Club Set Your Sights promotion set to go live today. The bonus is now up.

    IHG Rewards Club Set Your Sights

The IHG Rewards Club Set Your Sights promotion is structured similarly to 2013’s The Big Win and the copycat ‘Into the Nights’ from fall 2014.

IHG Rewards Club clearly finds .

Of course, complicated promotions can get screwed up and Into the Nights was an IT disaster that most folks have gotten sorted out in their favor.

When you register you’ll see the offer you’re targeted for. You have from Jarnuary 1 thorugh April 30 to complete the promotion. Here’s what I was offered:

IHG Rewards Club Set Your Sights

If I stay 3 nights, at two Holiday Inns, where one is a two-night weekend stay and both are booked directly with IHG I’ll have completed four of the five tasks. Then I just need to download their app, and I should be good to go to earn a total of 50,500 bonus points — enough for 3 free nights, 2 free nights at most of their hotels, or a free night at their priciest properties.

I’d want this to be a little more lucrative in order to do this from scratch with no qualifying stays planned at all, but it’s a pretty generous offer and potentially enough to swing some incremental business.

I’ve got a better offer than many though. They seem to have worked to make the offers for many a little harder than the last iteration and I don’t really blame them. They’re still making the most lucrative offer in the hotel promotion space that we’ve seen of late.

I value IHG Rewards Club points at $0.006 apiece so 50,000 points are worth ~ $300. (You can buy points at $0.007 apiece).

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).

American Express Membership Rewards is offering a 40% transfer bonus to their partner British Airways.

I woke up to a note in my inbox on this, but I believe Miles4More was first to post about it.

American Express transfer bonuses used to be common, they’ve become rarer and focused on their lower value partners this year, so it’s fantastic to see this.

Personally I wouldn’t proactively transfer points to British Airways for the bonus without a clear plan for their use. I value the flexibility to transfer points to any of American Express’ partners enough (option value) to hold onto the points for a future use. And I wouldn’t transfer points out just because I was cancelling a card either, now that there’s a no fee American Express Membership Rewards card whose points transfer to miles.

But British Airways is one of the more useful American Express partners, and a 40% bonus presents the opportunity for real value.

The Short-Distance Non-Stop Solution

I consider short-distance domestic flights to be the best use of Avios. 50,000 points is literally 11 flights between Washington DC and New York LaGuardia on the US Airways shuttle, or any number of other flights on American, US Airways, and Alaska Airlines that are under 650 miles.

These short flights are often expensive – my one-way shuttle flights or DC-Chicago flights can run up near $400. I never expect to get more than 2 cents a point domestically, and I frequently get 7 cents per point when redeeming Avios. And there are no last minute booking fees.

Here’s the award chart showing price per flight based on its distance:

Note that business class is double the price of economy, and first class is triple.

The Elephant in the Room: Fuel Surcharges

There aren’t any fuel surcharges if you redeem your points for US domestic flights, or between the US and South America.

But like most frequent flyer programs based outside North America, British Airways adds fuel surcharges onto the cost of an award ticket — whatever that charge would have been on a similar purchased ticket.

Here’s how to keep the cost down (or even eliminate fuel surcharges entirely) when redeeming awards through British Airways:

  • Fly US domestic economy. It’s what I do most with my Avios, just 4500 points each way on flights 650 miles or less.

  • US – South America flights have no fuel surcharges. Australia domestic is a great deal here, too. Japanese domestic flights can literally have $0 in taxes and fees.

  • The fees are cheap for many destinations in Asia. And remember that business class (not US domestic first class) is just double the cost of economy. On short routes that can be a really good value, especially when it comes with free baggage and lounge access.

  • Open an Iberia Avios account as well. Transfer your British Airways points over to Iberia (one-to-one into an account that’s been open three months and has had some points activity). The fees are de minimis when using Iberia points to fly Iberia. Here’s how. And note that Iberia business class award availability is generally excellent.

  • British Airways partner Aer Lingus (Bsoton and New York to Dublin and Shannon — and beyond) has really low charges.

  • airberlin, a oneworld partner, does not add fuel surcharges onto their fares.

  • Remember to check whether two one-way awards are cheaper than a roundtrip.

  • You can fuel dump an award ticket, adding a segment to make the itinerary extend to a destination beyond where you are going that charges lower fees. But with the British Airways program it will cost you additional miles to do it (since BA charges separately for each flight segment except for UK domestic flights).

Finding Award Space and Booking Your Award

The easiest place to search for availability of all (3) partner airlines for those short haul domestic non-stop flights is the American Airlines ( website. That site isn’t great for most of its partners, but it does cover American, US Airways, and Alaska.

Of course you have to make your booking directly with British Airways. You can search American and US Airways inventory directly on the BA site, but their site won’t search for or book Alaska Airlines flights, you’ll have to call to book Alaska Airlines flights.

For most other awards in the oneworld alliance the British Airways website is quite good for searching space and making initial bookings.

Making changes to awards though has to be done over the phone, by a special department, and then tickets get queued for re-issue and if travel is in the future it can take a week or more for the re-issue to happen. Book one-way awards, cancel them online (it’s cheaper, forfeit the taxes on a domestic award instead of paying a fee), and rebook instead of changing.

Other Ways to Get British Airways Avios

The signup offer for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is 50,000 bonus points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, and the annual fee is now $0 the first year, $95 thereafter (instead of the $95 applying in year one). That’s a lot of points with a low spending requirement to get them Which can be put to great use. And Chase has gotten a lot more generous welcoming back past cardmembers to their card products (and giving out bonuses again).

You can transfer points at ‘full value’ from three programs: Chase, American Express, and Starwood.

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: The Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card offers 50,000 points after $5000 spend within 3 months. The Sapphire Preferred Card is offering 40,000 points after $4000 spend within 3 months plus 5000 points for adding a (no fee) authorized user to the account and making a purchase. These points .
  • American Express Membership Rewards: The Amex Everyday Preferred is probably the strongest Membership Rewards points-earning card, with a minimum earning of 1.5 points per dollar if you use the card 30 times in a month. In the past Membership Rewards has offered transfer bonuses to BA, and the points transfer instantly.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints: Points don’t transfer instantly, but there’s the built-in bonus of 5000 points when you transfer 20,000. The The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has been in my wallet since 2001.

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.

American is introducing new bonus miles earning on top of the current program for purchasing premium cabin tickets.

Already the AAdvantage program awards:

  • Miles based on distance flown
  • Bonus miles for elite frequent flyers
  • Bonus miles for more expensive tickets

In 2015 they will layer on more bonus miles for premium cabin tickets — more bonus miles for longer flights, and bigger bonuses for higher tier elites… up to 12,000 miles per segment, built into the program for the coming year.

No registration is required, and these bonuses can be earned on American or US Airways flights or on codeshares operated by British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qantas.

Instead of going revenue-based like United and Delta are doing, Alaska Airlines is awarding elites and premium cabin fares with more bonus miles. Alaska sees the move by United and Delta to award miles based on ticket price as a strategic opportunity to win business from them.

We already know that American won’t be going revenue-based as they integrate programs with US Airways. But they’re now trumpeting this. Along with this new program to award more miles to premium cabin tickets, AAdvantage President Suzanne Rubin underscores the difference (bolding miine).

As the largest airline in the world, with a global network that spans 54 countries, our frequent flyer program must also be the best in the business. A mile flown continues to be a mile earned in AAdvantage, and now we’re going to reward customers even more when they purchase a First or Business Class ticket.

She’s very clear in this statement: Earning a mile from flying a mile is a key element of being the best frequent flyer program.

Now they’ll provide even more bonus miles for premium fares in 2015 — without immediate changes to the award chart. (And while more miles means higher award prices overall, since all flying only amounts to a third of miles awarded this should be just noise overall for the redemption chart.)

Here’s a Primer on the 2015 American AAdvantage Program, and Merging it With US Airways Dividend Miles.

See also:

And it’s worth noting in this context that next year American increases the mileage bonus for business class fares from 25% to 50%, and also that US Airways Gold and Platinum members will see their elite bonus increase to 100% (from 50% and 75%, respectively). So American is doling out more miles to premium customers and elite frequent flyers, even before this new bonus they’ve just announced.

I just signed up for another American Express Platinum card, — a Business Platinum card — and it’s going to be coming with a benefit I didn’t even know about.

Here’s what American Express is saying about the benefit that will come online soon:

Business Platinum Card Members will soon be able to access 10 complimentary Gogo inflight internet passes each calendar year. Card Members will be able to use each pass for inflight Wi-Fi internet access on any Gogo equipped flight segment.

Accounts will get a fee credit for the first 10 Gogo internet passes charged each calendar year.

That’s unfortunate for me since 10 uses a year won’t be enough to let me give up my Gogo unlimited monthly subscription. And as a statement credit, rather than single use codes, it will be more cumbersom to use the credit towards codes I can simply give away.

American Express must have heavily focus-grouped internet as a key benefit, since this comes on the heels of their adding free unlimited Boingo internet as a benefit to the Platinum cards earlier this year.

See also Inside Gogo Inflight Internet’s All-Access Day.

Update: Doctor of Credit tweets that American Express is making a 100,000 point signup bonus available to many people who call in and ask for it. He mentions this at the bottom of his post on this wifi offer. I expect that this won’t work for everyone, but it will be worth trying for some.

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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.

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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.