Monthly Archives: December 2013 - Page 2

United Launches Nonstop Service from Chicago to Kahalui, Maui

United is re-launching nonstop Chicago O’Hare – Kahalui, Maui Saturday-only service beginning April 6th.

Departs O’Hare at 10:30am, arrives 2:24pm.
Departs Maui 4pm, arrives Chicago at (gulp) 5am.

Service is on 777-200 with non-lie-flat business class seats. But don’t worry about that because there’s almost no award availability in either cabin.

Aloha!

Alaska Airlines Credit Card – Now 50,000 Miles

As is being widely reported (and I believe Gary at View from the Wing first posted), Alaska Airlines is now offering a 50,000 mile bonus for their credit card. 25,000 miles on first purchase, 25,000 miles after $1,000 spend. $75 annual fee is not waived. You’ll still get the $118 companion fare certificate. This is the best offer I’ve seen for this card.

Yes, it says it’s targeted but apparently people are getting approved for it. It also says you won’t get the bonus if you’ve had an Alaska Airlines card in the past year, so while these cards are churnable, you’re not going to get the higher bonus if you’ve had a card in the past 12 months.

Application here.

I’ve updated my list of top credit card offers.

Wow, This Is New: An Airline Actually ADDS A Frequent Flyer Benefit

Alaska Airlines just announced that their Mileage Plan members will now earn elite qualifying miles on all of its international partners (previously, I believe you only earned redeemable miles on nearly all – if not all – international partners). This is a really, really nice enhancement to the program, which I have called the “most underrated frequent flyer plan.” (I love when bloggers quote themselves, as if saying the same thing a few times makes it more true.) Alaska, for those who don’t know, allow you to earn and redeem on Delta and American, making it extremely flexible. Plus they have these additional partners:

AeroMexico
Air France
British Airways
Cathay Pacific
Emirates
Era Alaska
Fiji Airways
KLM
Korean
AirLAN
PenAir
Qantas

I don’t think any program comes close in terms of flexibility of earning and redeeming. In fact, if I weren’t a slave to United, I’d fly American & Delta (I live in NY) and post the miles to Alaska.

In any case, given all of the devaluations recently, it’s great to see a program continue to add value for its members.

Monday Roundup: United PS Service, Delta at Love, More

– United announced that it has completed upgrading the interiors on all 15 of its 757-200 PS Service planes. Out goes First Class, in comes lie-flat seating in BusinessFirst.

– Beginning next October, Delta will launch service from Dallas Love to Detroit (3x daily), LaGuardia (5X daily), LA (5X daily), and Minneapolis (3X daily). That’s cute – remember when Delta had a little hub at DFW? Me neither.

– American Airlines is changing its Recife, Salvador, and Brasilia routes in Brazil to be red-eyes in both directions.

– A passenger on a United Express flight from Lafayette, LA, to Houston fell sleep on the plane and awoke to find that everyone was gone and the plane had been locked. Guy can sleep.

– Want another option to get to Tokyo Haneda on Star Alliance? ANA launches its first Canadian route with daily 767-300 service between Vancouver and Haneda.

You Have Until March 30th to Redeem Your US Airways Miles on Star Alliance Carriers

US Airways announced that it will be leaving the Star Alliance on March 30th and joining Oneworld the next day. What does that mean for you?

It means that you may want to grab that last US Airways credit card for 35,000 quick miles since that will disappear at some point when the US Airways name goes away. The good news is that you can use those on Star carriers until March 30th and on Oneworld airlines after that. Keep in mind, though, that that’s a Barclays Card and generally you can only get 1 every six months. So you can decide whether you want to get the Lufthansa 50,000 mile deal (which ends Sunday) or get the 35k US Airways card.

They have not yet announced when they’ll be merging the US Airways and American frequent flyer programs. Starting early next year you’ll be able to earn and redeem reciprocally, but it will likely take months before you’ll be able to combine the miles into one program. Remember that with United and Continental there was a period where you could move the miles back and forth between programs, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they take that approach.

You can book a flight on Star Alliance for after March 30th, you just have to make that booking before March 31st. You should be able to make changes to that award booking without issue (fingers crossed).

Finally, they said that the first of the reciprocal benefits will be announced in January, likely starting with access to both sets of lounges.

Alaska Airlines Fights Back Against Delta, Adds Flights from Salt Lake City

Alaska Airlines announced new flights from Salt Lake City to LA, San Diego, Portland, and Seattle, clearly in retaliation for Delta’s recent announced growth in Seattle (Delta has announced new flights from Seattle to Anchorage, Fairbanks, Vancouver, LA, Portland, San Diego and San Francisco).

Delta’s incursion into Seattle is puzzling: They have a codeshare relationship with Alaska already, I’m not sure why they would add new flights — if their growth there is meant to help feed their international long-haul flights (Amsterdam, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Shanghai and soon to London), surely that could have been accomplished with an Alaska codeshare. Instead, they chose to go after Alaska, adding routes already served by them.

The SLC news is clearly a response to that – it’s only a handful of flights, so it’s more about them making a point. The interesting question is, as a reader wrote me this morning, whether American Airlines looks to boost its relationship with Alaska now that Delta has made it clear that they’re not interested in continuing the tie-up. Seems like it would be a smart move for the new AA, growing out their business in the Northwest and further into Mexico. And while Alaska isn’t looking to be sold right now, in 18-24 months do they become the final piece of the US-AA puzzle? Perhaps…

Still, I have no idea why Delta would have chosen to pick on Alaska up in Seattle…love to hear what people think is going on.

Silvercar Audi A4 Rental for $9 on Weekends

Silvercar is offering a promo code to rent one of their Audi A4s for $9 on weekends at one of their 6 locations (DFW, Dallas Love, Austin, Houston Hobby, LAX, and San Francisco). Rates are normally $59 on weekends ($89 during the week). If you enter code AFF-FTD when you make the booking, it’ll take $50 off the rental, leaving you driving an Audi for $9.

Enjoy!

(Thanks, Slickdeals)

Yes, Apparently You Can Cancel Those Cheap United Tickets You Bought on Wideroe

A week ago I was very excited to read about the deal for very cheap tickets to Europe and the Middle East on United when you purchased through Wideroe. As you’ve no doubt read, they were selling tickets with no fuel surcharges, leading to fares as low as $120 round trip to Milan.

In my case, I was excited about tickets to Dubai for $275. So I checked with my wife, who was swept up in my enthusiasm about the trip, and I purchased 4 tickets for us to go in February. Fantastic.

Then 2 days later my wife had a few not-unreasonable questions about the trip. Questions like:

– Wait, we’re going in coach? (Yes – but I got us in Economy Plus!)
– Wait, how long is the layover in Washington? (Er, 4 hours)
– Wait, how long is the flight? (Um, 14 hours back)
– Wait, what time does the flight leave? (1 o’clock….in the morning)

It went on like that, again – not unreasonably, for a few more questions and it made me realize: hm, I don’t think she wants to go on this trip.

Reading through the thread about this on Flyertalk there appeared to be plenty of people who bought first and asked questions later, hoping their spouse was cool with the whole thing. Good for them.

It was my anniversary on Monday and I decided that my wife has put up with me and 12 years of travel-related stupidity and that as part of her anniversary gift, I would cancel the trip.

Which was a problem, as I didn’t think the trip was cancellable.

I went on Wideroe’s site, used the chat feature and chatted with someone who was very, very quick to offer to cancel the trip when I asked if I could cancel the trip without fees. I don’t know if this is because my confirmation said “refundable” on it (even though I know the fare was not refundable), or whatever. But he canceled the trip late Sunday night and the credit (full) posted to my credit card today.

Which is all to say – if you’re having second thoughts (or your spouse is having second thoughts) about the trip you booked, feel free to Live Chat the fine folks at Wideroe – they may be able to help.

El Al to Launch Budget Airline Called UP

Next March El Al will launch a new budget airline called UP serving Berlin, Larnaca, Kiev, Prague and Budapest from Tel Aviv. Larnaca will be 6X weekly while the other cities will launch with 11x weekly service.

Fares will start at $69 each way to Prague & Budapest with $99 fares to the other cities, with the usual up-charges for seat assignment, food, etc. They’ll offer a 2-cabin product on 737-800s, with 144 coach seats and 36 premium economy-type seats (called Tourist Plus).

A handful of lowfare carriers already serve Tel Aviv, including easyJet, Germanwings, Air Baltic, Wizz Air, Pegasus and Transavia.

New York/Philadelphia United Mileage Run Opportunity: Philadelphia Rail to Las Vegas, $121 Round Trip

Saw this on Flyertalk and thought it worth sharing:

Anyone needing a mileage run on United from Philadelphia or New York:

On December 10, 11 and 17th you can travel on United from Philadelphia 30th Street Train Station (ZFV) to Las Vegas for $121 round trip. You can do a same-day turn, returning on the red-eye nonstop to Newark. Nets around 4,800 EQM if you travel via Houston on the outbound and about 4,400 if you fly nonstop from Newark.

Remember:

– Here’s the deal with the ZFV-EWR leg of the trip. You SHOULD NOT skip that leg if it is at the start of your trip. In other words, if you are traveling ZFV-EWR-LAS, you SHOULD NOT skip ZFV-EWR. They may cancel out the rest of your reservation. If you are traveling LAS-EWR-ZFV, the general consensus is that you are fine skipping EWR-ZFV. These are one way fares, so to be safe you may want to book each leg separately.

– Amtrak legs earn 250 miles, but they DO NOT count toward Elite status (ie, they are NOT EQM).

– If the return flight LAS-EWR is canceled, they MAY put you on a LAS-(ORD/IAH)-PHL flight since United thinks you are going to Philadelphia. Pretty outside chance, but it’s possible.