What’s on your mind? Share it in the comments.

  1. Eric FD said,

    discuss the ‘fuel dumping’ fare tricks often secretly discussed on FT/MilePoint trick-it forums. i hate the secrecy there – can you shed some light?

  2. Eli said,

    Being that many upgrade certs are expiring the end of Feb, I was wondering if anyone had any AA upgrade certs they aren’t planning on using.

    I’m taking my wife on a surprise valentines day trip to Paris from Feb 13- Feb 17th and getting upgraded would just be amazing. Please feel free to contact me at:

    valuefinder001 at gmail

    Thanks in advance!

  3. Derek said,

    Don’t have status on US or UA and trying to figure out where I should credit to this year. Unsure if I will have enough miles for status. The biggest thing is redemption since I really like OW awards and UA is a partner with Chase, however, if US/AA hook up, that presumably means OW in that new program. AA does not serve my home airport…decisions, decisions.

  4. Rich Kerr said,

    KLM denying my status match they gave me prior to changing the terms of the offer. I find it frustrating my mistakes with them cost me fees but they can just say sorry.

  5. Chad said,

    If I have Turkish Airlines Gold Status (Star Alliance Gold), do I qualify for Economy Plus seating on United? Uniteds website won’t allow me to change seats without a fee even if I have my Turkish Airlines gold number in my profile.

  6. Southside said,

    Great that you have this open forum, Gary, as there’s been a question I’ve been meaning to ask. Or should I say, some mystification I’ve been meaning to air. I’ve read multiple threads at Flyertalk and multiple posts at your and other bloggers’ sites discussing Vanilla Reloads, using debit and gift cards to indirectly accumulate miles and points (and/or meeting spending targets for bonuses), etc. But it all sounds very complicated and to involve multiple stages. I’m interested in learning how I can use these systems to accumulate miles or points to pay my mortgage and other uses where I can’t use my credit cards. Is there a site or a post you could direct me to that clearly, carefully explains these processes and assumes no prior knowledge or any of this stuff on the reader’s part? Thanks.

  7. jay said,

    brimming with excitement about the upcoming FTU in april… any news of when the agenda will be out?

  8. Michael A said,

    The 250 miles per purchase Avianca mileage thing is on my mind. They haven’t paid out any of the miles yet, and people are fighting them.

    Have you heard anything on your end?

  9. Raffles said,

    Do you have some sort of contractual obligation now to post something daily, however busy you are with your other stuff? :-)

  10. Lantean said,

    I wonder what will happen if many of the FF programs change… will we have to fly coach and pay for fares? I would hate that to happen… what if they change the game so much that we won’t be able to adapt?

  11. john said,

    I have an upcoming trip to MLE on CX using AA award. I’m having a hard time getting excited as the HKG to CMB leg is in old school regional business class and arrives in CMB at 23:00. There is a 9 hour layover in CMB before the morning flight to MLE. What do you do in CMB with a 9 hour layover in CMB? I wish there was a better way to get to MLE.

  12. ed said,

    Mostly a warning: Foolishly I credited a UA trip to Aegean, not realizing only USAir’s cheapest fare flights credit 1:1 to Aegean. United only credits at 1/2 for the lowest bucket, plus for some reason only the outbound legs are showing credited. Pretty sure you covered that, but I missed it. Quite a hassle flying this one too as UA did not seem to permit two FF#s (one for benefits, one for credits). Probably that was my fault? As UA Silver, the result was that E+ bookable 24 hours in advance but only worked when I set FF# to UA and then set back to Aegean. Annoying, because those UA miles would otherwise have been bonus’d and are instead cut in half. Need to find some US ex-DCA flights — I want lounge access domestically!

  13. ed said,

    I also second the Avianca debacle. I’ve taken no action so far, but keep watching the FT thread here:

  14. Chris B. said,

    Value is an individual trait.

    While many in the points and miles hobby try to maximize value by spending points on Business and First class seats on international travel, there are other great options that may be more valuable on a family level.

    This weekend, our family secured two low-level (25k) Delta tickets on an Alaska Airline codeshare from Portland to Anaheim. While the cash ticket we bought was ~$250, that is $500 we didn’t need to spend out of pocket (providing an acceptable $0.01/mile rebate)!

    Maybe not a lot in comparison to many redemptions, but a solid WIN for our family, especially since 45k of those miles were from a sign-up bonus. Add to this the free night in the Orange County Hyatt Regency due to the Hyatt card signup bonus, and we have one happy wife, and when momma’s happy, everyone is happy.

    The important thing is the idea of personal value, where a free ticket to see grandma or to a long weekend destination is just as valuable as inspirational travel to Bora Bora. Sometimes, the small things matter most.

  15. Jon said,

    Anyone know of any great point redemption opportunities in the Caribbean/Mexico area for a honeymoon? Looking to book a week or so in the first week of May. Would actually prefer all-inclusive, but willing to consider other options.

  16. caveman said,

    My flight to BKK arrives at 1am in the morning. Is it worth checking in at a hotel at 2am or stay somewhere at the airport till morning instead of wasting one hotel night. I have three nights stay at Intercontinental without status with priority club points. We are a party of 3, myself, wife and a teenage daughter.

  17. Grant said,

    Staying at Marriott In Heidelberg Germany. Category 5 hotel normally costs 25K points per night but during the winter season, rooms are only 18,750 points per night. Great views and food in the executive lounge.

  18. Eli said,

    Being that many upgrade certs are expiring the end of Feb, I was wondering if anyone had any AA upgrade certs they aren’t planning on using.

    I’m taking my wife on a surprise valentines day trip to Paris from Feb 13- Feb 17th and getting upgraded would just be amazing. Please feel free to contact me at:

    valuefinder001 at gmail

    Thanks in advance!

  19. The Ninja said,

    Whats on my mind? I still have no idea how to use my AMEX points to it’s fullest potential. It’s hard to book on Delta and none of the other airlines fly out of my home city.

  20. Chris B. said,

    As for a question or future blog post: how does an airline decide which financial company they should form an alliance?

    If US and AA do merge, I’m curious which bank (Citi or Barclays) would win the relationship, how they would be involved in financing the merge, how the relationship affects both companies, and how it may effect the credit card offers.

    There is much chatter regarding the relationship between AMEX and Delta, and how much Delta receives from their co-branded credit card fees, miles, and services, and whether it is enough income to warrant the new Medallion Qualification Dollars requirement, or if AMEX just “asked” to be in on the deal.

    Also, the relationship between Chase and United Airlines seems to be locked solid, to the point where Chase has exclusive rights to all things United (such as credit card and lounge agreements). With the Chase Sapphire Preferred giving the same or more UA miles than UA’s co-branded cards, I wonder how much sway Chase holds over United, at least for these transactions.

    Some Bank-Airline relationships seem fairly superficial, while others are deeply woven. How do you see the relationship between airlines and financial institutions, how long will they last, and how might this play out with a potential merger of US/AA as well as effect the non-legacy airlines (like WN, B6, etc)?

  21. work2fly said,

    Wondering if we’ll get one more hotel bonus/gift miles churn out of US? Travel booked for the year, but with the right combo of bonuses, I’d be in for one more round…

  22. Allen said,

    Why do the policies for purchasing Vanilla Reload Cards vary so much within a store chain? (CVS, Walgreens)

  23. Jeff said,

    With all of Delta’s remarketing cookie data being shown to us in the open last week, are you surprised they only focused on the “positive” aspects of their relationship with us? For example, I was surprised there wasn’t a variable about how often we complain about flights, our twitter handles, etc.

    I guess that this data is not really influential in their targeting us with offers, but I would be really curious to see what type of information they keep on each of us, and how readily accessible it is across the system.

  24. bluecat said,

    Anyone hit yet with the CC surcharge at a major chain as a direct result of yesterday’s law going into effect?

  25. DJP_707 said,

    Gary, I don’ think you ever commented on the video of “United Breaks Guitars”. Somehow I missed it too until this weekend. I thought it was a pretty funny video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9Zwa0ViNhqo

  26. Raj Panjabi said,

    Gary..I am a ELITE (gold *A member) with Turkish Airlines as well as Silver with Virgin Atlantic and Silver with Cathy Pacific. I would like to stick to one international airline program but cant decide which to keep. Of course TA program is 2 year and you can purchase 10K miles towards elite status. With VS, it is based on tier point but I do have the Black Amex VS credit card where I can achieve tier point. With CX, they are with One world which is also good like *Alliance. Can you guide me and let which is best for elite benefits and also for mileage award levels.

    I will await your reply.


  27. AdamH said,

    Want to go to Asia in May, from SF, but need to be in NYC the following weekend. Was trying to find some way to route via the Atlantic but was not looking promising so far.

  28. daniel said,

    Darius is a total DB

  29. Corey said,

    trying to find cheapest way to Tokyo in the next few months from Vancouver
    it’s actually cheaper to go to Fukuoka with a nice layover in Hawaii. but I really need to get to Tokyo because I have things in storage that need to be taken out
    how can I get there the cheapest because I don’t have sugficient miles right now

  30. Jimmy said,

    I am contemplating going the mileage run route for status on Delta or United…I fly only domestic leisure abt 10 times a yr (once international),but
    I have the ability to accumulate a lot of miles thru CC spending(300K+) should I just bite the bullet and always just book 1st class? ( I missed the CO prez plat CC sign up and don’t want to spend $450 on the DL resv)

    I only true benefit I see from status is free cancel on booked award/pay flights and the better availability of saver awards on UA..thank you

  31. Martin said,

    Are there any alternatives to VR cards for racking up points that your willing to share?

    Also if traveling to Asia on a United award ticket how do I route it so that I can do an open jaw/stopover in Hawaii?

  32. BBD said,

    When are you going to publish fuel dump city pairs you know about?

  33. Jimmy said,

    reply to bluecat…CC surcharge are not permitted in 10 states and any business doing business in those states and another state will be barred from surcharges, so I think the major chains will be unable to surcharge….

    also any merchant that also accepts Amex is not permitted to surcharges…it really will be a non-factor except for small mom and pops

  34. AlohaDaveKennedy said,

    Ditto #12 Caveman – also arriving early AM in BKK. Just a party of one headed on to Laos in the late AM. Seems if you leave you get taxed and the nearby walk to hotel is pretty steep for a few hours nap.

  35. Gary said,

    How about doing an article on the best credit cards to have that provide elite status just having the card.

  36. Vinny V said,

    Trying to move from KC to a bigger city. Is living in a big city with reliable public transportation like Chicago, SF or New York? Worth it? Or would something like Miami, LA, Dallas or Phoenix be more realistic?

    Interested in stories from those that moved to bigger cities for jobs/opportunities.

  37. Sam said,

    Wondering if you and the other FTU organizers would like a presentation on “wallet loyalty: using priceline to save on hotels”.

  38. Gary Steiger said,

    I am considering a tour of Moracco leaving from Fez on October 4 and ending at Marrakech October 18 of this year. But finding flights to and from the tour is proving to be quite challenging. Stopovers in interesting places like Paris and/or Madrid would be nice.

    I can find no airline flying to Fez for which I can use miles to get a ticket. Frustrating, since I have a zillion miles in all alliances. I see Royal Air Maroc flights to Fez from Paris for over $200, but getting to Paris from San Francisco is challenging. Air France has a non stop, but apparently Delta won’t book in on miles, and Delta won’t allow one way tickets at half the miles.

    I see flights from Marrakech to Los Angeles via Madrid on Iberia, probably available on American miles, but American won’t allow a stopover in Madrid. Getting from LAX to SFO should be easy on American. I can Avios to Iberia from Membership Rewards points via British Air, but I don’t yet know if Iberia uses the same distance based award prices as does British Air.

    Currently I have just looked for flights. But I would also insist on Business Class or better on the longer flights. I have always been able to get what I want to anywhere I want to go, but this one may be my undoing.

    Anyway, getting an award seat can be frustrating, but I enjoy the challenge and the learning experience.

    That’s what’s on my mind today.

  39. Becky said,

    Vinny V- I just moved from St. Louis to Chicago. I love it but I am a big city girl. The public transportation is so wonderful and convenient. The city is also more expensive and the crime rate is higher. I thought I would be flying UA out of O’Hare more often. Surprisingly, I have been on AA and SWA my 3 trips this year. Also, I don’t think Miami and Dallas (or Phoenix) really get to be on a list for reliable public transportation.

  40. Jeff said,

    So because of mechanical issues USAir bumps me from FC to coach on 3 out of 4 legs this past weekend. Tickets purchased with CITI Rewards, outbound to DCA canceled, prepaid hotel night lost, put on Saturday am flight, return from DCA delayed, missed connecting, put in last row against lavatory. What should I expect from them?

  41. Nick said,

    @Gary United flies SFO-CDG direct. Ryan Air may not be your first choice but they seem to fly lots of places in Europe.

  42. wfb said,


    Please use your business knowledge & your lucid prose to explain the economics of hotel chains. For example, how many hotels does Hilton own & how many are franchises? Are elite benefits more likely to be honored at Hilton-owned properties than at franchised ones?

    Thanks in advance.

  43. Gavin said,

    I’ve always been curious how partner airlines get reimbursed for their award seats. As in the recent Delta/Air France speculation where Air France award was not available to Delta because Delta had to pony up too much money for their seats, how does US Airways (also known as the consolidator of cheap *A business flights) get away with selling business class seats for 1.8 cents per mile?

  44. Nick said,

    My new strategy with hotels may just be to do one Platinum level challenge after another (I know some of them have lifetime limits but there are ways around that). It always seems the place you want to travel next doesn’t have the property have you have status at, or the property you have status at is a dump compared to the one you want to stay at. Maintaining high level status in a few chains maximizes chances of actually benefiting from it. And it seems in general the smaller the chain the greater the benefit to having the status.

    Which got me thinking perhaps these companies should actually just be better at recognizing who their potentially better customers are anyway (even if they stay at competitors). Seems like most of them don’t really have much intelligence in this regard or much real social media savvy in general.

  45. Charles said,

    Any idea or guess if/wnen we might see an AX Membership Rewards bonus for conversion to Delta SkyMiles. I am sitting on 120000, do not need anything instantly (I have over 1 million SkyMiles in my account) and just waiting

  46. Con-man said,

    Why won’t TurboTax 2012 work with Mac OS 10.5?! Discuss!

  47. nbdona said,

    What is the proper way to get cash conpensation for BA flight delays. UK Rule 241 explained on Wikipedia.

  48. TravelBloggerBuzz said,

    I have a lot in my mind. After reading so many comments here…I am not going to add to your burden;-)

    By the way, I loved the simplicity of this post, giving readers the floor!

  49. JL100 said,

    Just got two first class tickets for friends from Charlotte to Vegas for 50k miles each on American. Probably not the best use of the miles, but economy was the same number of miles, so I went for it. Hopefully my friends will enjoy the first class and Vegas!

  50. Kathy said,

    Want to take a cruise out of Europe-several pot options wondering what airlines to use for booking, ie US Air, Taca, etc and which airlines for actual flight. Want 1st class, great experience. Thanks!

  51. Kathy said,

    Oops…”Port” not pot

  52. Michael said,

    Can you discuss the economics of cashing out your points and investing as opposed to hoarding for an award or over a stretch of time? Everyone talks about “devaluing” of points and miles but wouldn’t investing completely work around devaluations?

  53. Truthiness said,

    Hey if I’m delayed an hour (will likely be hour 15 min) on an American Airlines flight because there’s no crew, can I get compensation?

  54. Glenn said,


    You might want to blog about the great transfer rate from Le Club Accor to iBeria Plus right now (2:5 vs. 2:1 for BA) since you can apparently combine your Avios after the transfer and end up with 5,000 BA Miles for 2,000 Club Accor points. Especially since a lot of people might have 2,000 Club Accor points after the recent 4-week hotels on a map contest Accor ran…

    Saw it posted here:

    Apparently its going to end Feb 28th. So get your transfer requests or accumulate your points now!

  55. Robert said,

    I have two free Hyatt nights anywhere in the world coming to me via the Hyatt Chase Visa. Where should I take them? Maldives are out. The transfer fees are dissuasive. Paris is effectively home which eliminates Vendome. The Andaz 5th Ave in New York is a candidate, perhaps the Churchill in London, or the property in Amsterdam. What would you suggest, particularly further afield?

    And the same question could be posed for the 2 suite upgrades, although for that I am looking for cheaper but worthy properties, perhaps in Turkey or Asia. A trip to India and SIN next Christmas is at least imaginable.

  56. LIH Prem said,

    Do you think it’s ok for a reporter to cite his own report of an event based on other sources when reporting on a follow-up story? Doesn’t it imply that he was the original source of the story?

  57. Tracy T. said,

    I have a flight on Turkish Air in a couple weeks on which I’ll earn ~14,000 miles. Should I credit them to US or UA? I currently have about 2,500 miles w/ UA and 0 w/ US. (Been flying mostly AA &WN. live in DC.) Eventually would like to use them (after earning more) to fly to Asia.

  58. LIH Prem said,

    What would the travel blogosphere look like without credit card referral fees? (compared to the way it is today.)


  59. Raj Panjabi said,

    Has anyone flown with Air Canada internationally? I am flying them from LA to LHR via Canada in economy and wanted to get any feedback or experience from people that have flown with them recently. Of course with my Gold *A through Turkish Airlines, I can take 3 bags and also get lounge access. Just wanted to find out how their on board service being that won the best International Airline in North America 3 years running.

    Will await replies back.

  60. Kalboz said,

    What would the travel world looks like without credit card sign up bonuses, VR/BB cards, or coins from the mint?

  61. Glenn said,

    BTW Gary, if you’re going to post about the Accor to IBeria thing, post #183 in this thread on FlyerTalk:


    Explains a quick way to get the transfer to post.

  62. Black Void said,

    I have a bunch of Hyatt Suite Upgrades that are going to expire at the end of February. Any way to extend these? Trade them for something useful?

  63. Greg said,

    I just got my annual Amendments to Your Cardmember Agreement from barclaycard (USAirways). Buried way down is a section on “Cash Equivalent”. Basically it says they will treat travelers checks, lottery tickets, money orders, gambling chips, etc, all the usual stuff as a cash advance. But they also say “the use of your account to … transfer value to a stored value card at a location or through a merchant other than a financial institution…” will be treated as a cash advance. Is it the opinion of folks here that this means Barclay is going to start treating VR’s like cash advances, like Citi does?

  64. Jamison @ Points Summary said,

    Is Gary going to answer all of these comments??

  65. Peter said,

    What would I find in the Flyertalk OMNI forum? I’ve been reading FT for more than two years now, but I rarely post and haven’t qualified to view those threads. Is there a lot of useful information that I’m missing out on?

  66. Ezra said,

    Was just checking availability on BA to use companion voucher. Not having the best of luck. Itching to use my passport again (And soon!)

  67. Hamurabi2008 said,

    Finding a good fare for NYC hotels over the Easter weekend…

    Several good promotions (especially the Any Weekend Anywhere rate from Hilton for the Conrad NY) available. But as a first time visitor (from Europe) I am lost where to stay…

  68. DanR said,

    Vanilla reloads, Worth the trouble ?

  69. Answering Reader Questions: The Mystery Surrounding “Fuel Dumps” - View from the Wing said,

    […] Subscribe by Email Recent CommentsDanR on Monday Open Threadspkg on Are Airports What’s Wrong With Travel — And A Symbol of What’s Wrong […]

  70. John said,

    What is a credit card referral worth to a blogger? For example, for any of the Chase cards or the Amex Platinum.

  71. SamOH said,

    What is the single most threat to this game/hobby of collecting and redeeming miles and points ?

  72. nbdona said,

    EZRA, We just completed a BA trip from USA to South Africa, finding last-minute award tickets through Bookmyaward.com.

  73. Andrew said,

    If a Starwood hotel wants to do me the favor of giving me an almost complimentary stay credit, can they, and would it be at a large cost to them? Perhaps I can talk them into giving me a few slow season nights
    For ten dollars a night, a custom rate just for me, if they owe me a favor. While I would stay in the room, a major part of the goal would be to get a stay credit. Could they provide the stay credit, and does it cost them somehow?

  74. Jim L said,

    Why does everything seem to go wrong in the office the day before I am leaving on a trip?

  75. Scott H said,

    How about publicizing the “Outlaw resort fees” petition:


  76. John said,

    What can I do to spend $750 without Amazon Payments (too complicated to verify a user), Kiva (already given), or Vanilla Reloads (not in US right now) in the next 48 hours?

  77. Brad said,

    Hi Gary,

    Any chance you can do a blog post on the best international first class awards currently available? Where are the gems?


  78. Gary said,

    @Brad I think I did a pretty extensive post on first class availability – complete with calendar views — of Asiana first class from Chicago and Los Angeles and Air China first class from San Francisco and Los Angeles (so also Star Alliance)

  79. David LAX said,

    Hey Gary:

    I’ve got an long international flight coming up, and I’m wondering if it’s “worth it” to apply to a status challenge from American. I understand that I can obtain Gold status for obtaining 5,000 EQP’s over a 3 month period with a co-pay of about $100-$120. My flight should get me just above 5,000 EQP’s so that part is a slam dunk if I decide to go for it. But I don’t travel terribly often, and when I do, I’m not particularly loyal to any one airline. Any thoughts on whether Gold status is “worth” $100-120 for someone that may only fly American a few times between obtaining the status and when it expires (flight is in April)? Thanks, David

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