Send Money Free With a PIN-enabled Gift Card, Emirates Denying Lounge Access on Awards and EPA to Monitor Your Shower Use?

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • The story about the EPA wanting to monitor how much water you use in the shower is really just a $15,000 grant to the University of Tulsa. Considering most universities take nearly half of grant money off the top for overhead, that doesn’t leave a whole lot to sneak a peak at your morning water-wasting routines. More concerning are low flow toilets that clog and low flow shower heads that won’t give a decent shower… (HT: Alan H.)

  • @SamFromQueens tweets that he was denied lounge access in New York when flying Emirates because he was on an Alaska-issued award ticket. Agents in Dubai were unsure whether I should have access to the first class lounge there on an Alaska ticket a few weeks ago, looked it up, and admitted me. I’d love to hear other experiences.

  • Facebook messenger will let you send money to friends for free using a debit card. Could be a great way to liquidate Visa and MasterCard pin-enabled gift cards. (HT: @matt_pierson)

  • Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza interviews himself (err.. he’s interviewed by a reporter puppet) and it’s kind of awesome. I’m looking forward to moderating a panel next month with Baldanza as well as the interim CEO of Starwood and more. (HT: Brian Sumers who points out that you really need to read the news ticker at the bottom.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. So will we be soon seeing tweets between Ben and that stupid Spirit Airlines robot, aka Autopilot?

  2. As a customer I dislike Spirit as much as the next person. But my nephew, who works as a lead mechanic for Spirit, has nothing but good things to say about how the company is run and how well the employees are treated. So I guess Baldanza are doing something right.

  3. Not sure about the Facebook thing. I was reading quite a bit about it last night and (can’t find the article right now) I saw that it talked about verifying the card with the bank. Similar to other places online for verification purposes.

  4. That Alaska/Emirates news is certainly a cold shower.

    However water-conserving toilets are a great invention. I recently bought a Champion Max 4 and it’s amazing. Just 1.28 gallons rocketing through there in what seems a blink of the eye. If they made a shower like this it would take your skin off. Quite and advance for a product that’s 150 years old.

  5. Had no problem entering the Emirates 1st class lounge in DXB on Feb 23rd. – On a AS award ticket.

  6. Last year, I was initially denied access to First class lounge at DXB on AS F award. A supervisor then looked at booking again and allowed entry.

  7. That’s a great project at Univ. of Tulsa. Kind of like a Kill-a-Watt for showers. Meanwhile, the “navy shower” (wet/stop water/lather/rinse) is a great way for all of us to significantly cut back our water usage. For years I used to never give a second thought about how much I was using (esp. on the road) until I went to Sao Paulo last fall and they are talking about running out of water. They already have periodic water outages in parts of the city.

  8. We were denied lounge access in Mauritus with an F award ticket booked thru AS – though no problems in DXB.

  9. I was in DXB on an Alaska award ticket on March 15th. The agent at the entry to the first class lounge asked/mentioned that we were on an AS award ticket and we said yes, we were. She then allowed us into the lounge without further comment.

    It felt awkward.

  10. Gary, the question — unanswered — is WHY AS award F tickets on EK are denied lounge access?

  11. I’m hoping we get DXB access in a couple weeks.

    Having been thinking about the upcoming cigar for a few months, I’m bummed about this post. It leaves me wondering what else they will try to squeeze out, leaving a meager subset of purchased ticket value.

    First no limo, then no lounge… what next? No shower?

  12. Hi Gary,
    I wish your posts were all separate, making a particular topic of very high interest not bunched with other zero interest topics. Just keep the News and Notes individual.

  13. The Emirates Skywards Frequent Flyer Programme Rules section 6.2 says: “Members travelling on Emirates Codeshare Flights operated by other carriers will not be eligible to access the Emirates Lounge, excluding members travelling on Qantas codeshare flights.”

    Alaska award Emirates tickets are Emirates flights, not code shares, right? Our Alaska Confirmation Letter shows Emirate flight numbers.

    Like scottb says, we would like to know WHY. If, on an award ticket, there are too many deletions from the Emirates First Class experience then at some point it’s not really Emirates First Class anymore.

  14. @John T – these are not codeshares operated by another carrier, these are Emirates flights operated by Emirates with tickets issued by their partner Alaska

  15. @John T – it just feels to me like these items are minor notes, not quite enough of their own for a post. At least with the amount I’m writing on them.

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