Angela won a “Wish List” contest from American Express, which let her buy a $100 JetBlue gift card for $70. JetBlue managed to wipe out that $30 savings and any good will Angela might have felt by making her waste 129 minutes trying to redeem the card–and then charging her $15 for the service. At the end of her letter to AmEx and JetBlue, Angela writes, “I don’t know about other AmEx cardholders, but spending almost two hours on hold in order to be able to use something you’ve already paid for is not on my Wish List.” [More]
Could this be a sign of thawing in the hearts of United Airlines? They announced yesterday that after four months of crediting Mileage Plus members with actual miles flown instead of a minimum of 500, the airline will reinstate the old program for “elite” members.
Michael writes, ” I was just reserving a budget rental car, and for some reason decided to actually read some of the fine print.” Buried in the text was something called an “FTP Surcharge,” which basically amounts to a participation fee for any frequent flyer promotion they offer their customers.
How to join that crazy club of airline mileage runners who take flights simply for the frequent flier miles and perks. [Gadling]
A reader has forwarded us an obnoxious notice from US Airways that explains how they “reward” their frequent flyer program members: by charging them $25 if they’re not active enough. So what are the best ways to remain active without spending $25 or making an unnecessary ticket purchase?
Why bother with frequent flier miles when you can donate them to charity?
The donations are tax-deductible, making them an attractive alternative to the Sisyphean challenge of ferreting out an eligible seat.
Many non-profit organizations have frequent flier mileage donation packages, and several major air carriers have developed charitable programs using earned miles. Some are exclusive partnerships geared to one or two specific charities, while others have multiple organizations with quarterly or monthly rotations, allowing all the participating charities equal time to receive miles.
Peter Greenberg lists several charities that accept miles as donations, from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, to Save The Dogs, an Italian non-profit committed to rescuing stray dogs in Romania. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
So here it is: PointMaven.com now shows the hotels and promotions on Google Maps. It currently supports 3 programs (Marriott, InterContinental Priority Club, Starwood Preferred Guest), and the others will be phased in.
If there is anything we like, it’s fast, responsive customer service. If you’re planning on booking a hotel anytime soon, give PointMaven.com another look. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
The makers of MileMaven.com, a utility to compare airline reward offers, have expanded their offerings to include PointMaven.com, a utility to compare hotel reward offers. PointMaven displays offers from several conspicuously named hotel reward programs, including the Best Western Gold Crown Club, Choice Privileges, Hyatt Gold Passport, and Intercontinental Hotels Priority Club. Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and TripRewards are in beta testing, and compatibility with Hilton HHonors and Radisson Gold Points Plus is “coming soon.”
American Airlines and United Airlines, followed by Continental and Northwest.
An impassioned plea, sent weeks ago to our tips box. A certain level of confused hysteria is evident. “If I have a credit card with reward points, should I convert them into miles? When? How to tell whether I’m getting a good rate? Help!”