American appears to have at least partially added the ability to book awards online with four more partners: Cathay Pacific, Qatar, SriLankan, and Malaysia Airlines.
Chase shared with me that Ultimate Rewards would no longer partner with Korean Air SkyPass after August 24. You have through August 24 to make these transfers.
American Airlines is a big operator of Boeing 737s, a workhorse of the domestic fleet. But they’re also a big operator of Airbus narrowbodies, including the larger A321 version. There are 121 Legacy US Airways A321s, and there are 98 legacy American Airlines A321s.
The airline also has 100 A321 ‘neo’ or ‘new engine option’ planes on order. And at an employee forum last week American’s management shared their plans for these A321neos, as well as plans to update the interiors of existing A321 aircraft in the fleet.
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Ultimately I’m going to value bonusing dining spend in points that transfer to miles more highly than 4% cash back but that’s largely because I’m also looking to spend my points for premium cabin international redemptions. This is a great new cash back tool for folks who spend heavily in dining and entertainment.
Chase is now waiving the first year fee on the United Explorer Card. (After the $0 first year annual fee it is then $95.)
And for a limited-time the initial bonus is 40,000 bonus miles after $2,000 spend on purchases in the first 3 months plus a $100 statement credit after first purchase. This offer explicitly ends August 15.
In July American Airlines came in 15th in on-time performance for North American. They weren’t just behind Delta, Hawaiian and Alaska but also United and Southwest and even Spirit. Despite a company-wide push to depart exactly on-time over everything else, they don’t seem to be arriving on-time.
This has been an ongoing issue.
American Airlines will move out of terminal 2 in March 2020 and “commence operations in our new Terminal 1 and Boarding Area B”
However Alaska Airlines will not take over the Admirals Club space. The airport wants that for retail. Alaska wants to “leas[e] some of the build-back space for a potential lounge” and may be looking at a two-level club.
This is all good news for corporate customers, especially big customers of United. Outside of change fee and reaccommodation waivers, the benefits largely come at the expense of flyers who are not corporate customers. Luckily the extra juice corporate customers are getting here is very much at the margin, a Platinum member’s upgrade will still trump a Gold member for instance.
More seats that require a fee isn’t surprising, but it does make buying up from United’s uncompetitive basic economy that much less appealing. Non-corporate leisure customers should increasingly consider American, Delta, or Southwest.
Frequent flyer programs create tremendous value for airlines. They’re highly profitable, and have been for years. When United filed for bankruptcy it was said to have to continue flying to support the underlying credit card business. The airline’s first call after seeing the judge each time was to Jamie Dimon.
The issuer of the United co-brand credit card provided debtor-in-possession financing to United, and co-led bankruptcy exit financing. As with other airlines, United received hundreds of millions of dollars in loans backed by future mileage sales to provide liquidity during the financial crisis.