Monthly Archives

Monthly Archives for July 2011.

Most Airline Ticket Taxes Still Suspended, Who Gains and Who Loses?

On Friday I wrote a long post explaining the reasons for the logjam in Congress over re-authorizing the FAA, and what it would mean for airline ticket taxes. At the time, I suggested that any tax savings would be very short-lived for consumers. Besides, an elementary understanding of tax incidence theory suggests that people are paying roughly what they’re willing to pay in airfare now. One would expect prices to rise much of the way to compensate for removal of taxes. Contra Rick Seaney, I would expect any savings – were taxes to go uncollected — to quickly fall, prices rise, and the difference in price would be far less than his projected 13%. I did flag, however, that [N]ew fares aren’t filed in real-time, so even if airfares do adjust that will happen over…

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More Changes to the Combined United-Continental Frequent Flyer Program

The sheer volume of changes that have to move forward to integrate the United and Continental frequent flyer programs are staggering, I’ve provided updates recently here and here on some of what we now know. In the past few days several other minor progress items and changes have revealed themselves. United Systemwide upgrades (upgrades which can be used on any United flight, including internationally, provided you buy a W coach fare or higher; given primarily to 100,000-mile flyers) can now be used on Continental. Continental Onepass members get to keep their current 8 character account numbers. Presumably United members keep their 11-digit numbers. Unclear is which number members will keep when they have both a United and Continental number and accounts are merged. (US Airways and America West members kept their own numbers with that…

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Changes Coming to Hyatt Gold Passport

Last night Milepoint member chanp posted an email from his Private Line Representative saying that 43 hotels would be changing award categories on August 4 — 25 will require more points, and 18 will require fewer points. So this is how it works… If you currently have a reservation at a hotel that is going up in points, it will not change how you have booked it, even if your stay is after 8/4. If you currently have a reservation at a hotel that is going down, and your stay is after 8/4, GP will be refunding you the difference in points. If you need to change your dates, you will get the better option of the two, however anything changed after 9/3 (30 days later) will have to adhere to the new point chart.…

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The Freddie Awards Will Return in 2012!

The Freddie Awards were the airline, hotel, and credit card loyalty program awards. Running from 1988 through 2009, hundreds of thousands of program members cast their ballots for the most rewarding efforts in miles and points during the previous year. They created a meaningful way to answer the question of which program was actually the best, as determined by the members of the programs themselves. Randy Petersen discontinued the awards after the 2009 ceremony, and a group of frequent travelers got together to found a replacement, the Frequent Traveler Awards. The idea was that it’s important to recognize what’s good in miles, points, and loyalty. Doing so actually nudges the programs themselves at the margin to do better for members, and highlights those things which frequent flyers most value. It gives voice to the frequent…

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Starwood American Express 30,000 Point Signup Bonus is Here!

There’s been quite a bit of buzz over the past week or so about the return of the Starwood American Express 30,000 point signup bonus. Trick was that you had to be referred by an existing cardholder to get it (and the person doing the referring would get some points as well). That restriction is no longer in effect, and the 30,000 point bonus offer is available to everyone. The offer is 10,000 points after first purchase and 20,000 more points after spending $4500 within the first three months of cardmembership. That’s better than the ‘standard’ good offer of 10,000 points after first purchase and 15,000 more points after spending $15,000 within six months — the new current offer is both more points (30,000 vs. 25,000) and has a lower spend requirement to earn those…

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67% Bonus on Transfers from American Express to Delta

Via The Points Guy, Delta and American Express are effectively offering a 40% rebate on Membership Rewards points transfers through September 30th (registration required). For every 50,000 points you transfer from Amex to Delta Skymiles, you’ll receive an electronic certificate to deposit 20,000 Amex points back into your account. Only 50,000 mile increments count, so if you transfer smaller amounts that total more than 50,000 points you’re out of luck. A 60,000 mile transfer and a 90,000 mile transfer won’t get (3) 20,000 point rebates, just two. The rebate doesn’t come right away, but rather 6-8 weeks “following registration in promotion” (which I assume is an error in the terms and conditions, and that they actually mean either 6-8 weeks from making the transfer or 6-8 weeks from the end of the promotion). That means…

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US Airways Mastercard 40,000 Mile Signup Bonus and Fee Waived First Year

The best offer I had been aware of previously was a 35,000 mile offer. This new offer is 40,000 miles with first purchase, no fee the first year, and 10,000 miles with each account anniversary (i.e. you incur an annual fee and get the bonus miles, though presumably those would post while you could still get your fee back). As with other offers, it comes with a lounge pass per year; the ability to earn 10,000 elite qualifying miles based on spend; a $99 companion ticket for use with up to two companions as long as you meet the minimum spend requirement on the paid ticket; a 5000 mile discount when redeeming awards solely on US Airways flights; and zone 2 boarding privileges. So it’s actually a fairly rich credit card for those who fly…

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Rental Car Discounts and Mileage Bonuses

Throughout 2010, my favorite car rental bonus was 3000 US Airways miles on a 3-day (or longer) Avis car rental. And even when American had a similar offer, I stuck with the US Airways bonus because it overlapped with their ‘Grand Slam’ promotion, so each Avis rental also counted towards their 100,000-mile offer. The offer was originally scheduled to run through March 31, 2011 but it was extended through March 31, 2012. The offer says it’s intended for US Airways Dividend Miles elite members, but I’m not one and can confirm that it works for anyone. You just have to use coupon code MUAA044 and provide your Dividend Miles number with the reservation. The promo also promotes the US Airways ‘discount code’ (AWD) but you do not need to use this in order to get…

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36% Discount on Travelocity Hotel Stays By Stacking Discounts

Travelocity is offering 20% off a minimum $800 hotel purchase using promo code AMEX20H (purchase by August 16 for travel through December 31). Price is reduced instantly. Then, if you’re traveling by September 30, the American Express Link, Like, Love promotion can get you another 20% off in the form of a statement credit. (Minimum $350 spend and 3 nights. This can only be used once per cardmember.) These two combine for a 36% discount. Sadly, I don’t believe that the Travelocity American Express is eligible for the Amex Link, Like, Love promotion (because the card is issued by Barclays), or else you could get another 10% rebate on your actual spend. Wow. But without that, an $800 3-night stay consumed by September 30th will cost you $512. Not bad.

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500 Free Hawaiian Airlines Miles

They’re offering 500 miles for connecting your Hawaiian Miles account with your Twitter handle. I figure that since you can now earn 2 Hawaiian Airlines miles per dollar spent at Amazon, for some of you every Hawaiian mile now counts. (HT: toddreg on Milepoint.)

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