Not wanting to become the Dave Carroll of the classical music world, solo cellist Lynn Harrell purchases a second seat for his cello when they travel together. This should keep everyone happy. The airline sells an extra seat to a very quiet and compliant passenger, and Harrell racks up extra frequent flyer miles that he can put toward future travel for his cello. Delta isn’t happy, though: they’ve kicked him out of their frequent-flyer program and banned him from it forever. His crime? Accruing the frequent-flyer miles that the airline granted to his cello.
It was incredibly generous of Wes to use his own frequent flyer miles to upgrade a random stranger’s reservation to Business Class. At least, it would have been if that’s what he had meant to do. He had called up to upgrade his wife’s reservation, and it seems that a typo in the confirmation number meant that someone else got the upgrade, and no one knows how Wes can get his miles back.
If you gaze in admiration upon George Clooney’s character in Up in the Air, hoping that you too can reap enough frequent flyer miles like a pro, you may need to start over from scratch, ditching ineffective habits and replacing them with more efficient practices.
Everyone who signs up for airlines’ frequent flyer programs dreams of cashing in their miles for amazing vacations. Credit card companies are counting on you being so enamored with that vision that you’ll relax your spending discipline in pursuit of the goal.
Sure, you can rack up airline miles the boring way, by flying or using your credit card. But there are more creative methods to build up miles for free trips down the line.
Two days before they were to fly to Arkansas for a family wedding and reunion, American Airlines canceled the flight of five seniors, reports CBS Sacramento. They were handed back the frequent flyer miles they had used to buy the tickets, miles they spent years racking up, and told to find another flight on another airline. The only way to do it was for each of them to buy a $1083.40 last-minute ticket. They feel AA should have found them another flight or should reimburse them for the tickets, but according to both law and policy, they have no recourse.
A United Airlines customer became the first of the airline’s passengers to pile up 10 million frequent flyer miles. He flies so often that United’s customer service reps recognize his voice. He had a Boeing 747-400 named in his honor and received United’s first Titanium United Mileage Plus card, which has perks United refuses to publicize.
After a nearly apocalyptic pull-back in the credit card market, with credit lines slashed to the quick and new credit being denied, banks have decided to let a trickle flow out again. To entice the cream of the credit score crop, they’re dangling a new batch of incentives. Via the Richmond Times-Dispatch, here’s some of the best deals out there right now on credit cards:
One way to build up frequent flyer miles quickly is to apply for several of the credit cards that give bonus miles for signing up. You buy stuff you were going to buy anyway and meet the minimum spend requirement, get the miles and move on. But then a while later you notice that the same credit card is offering even more miles for newer applicants. Curses! Instead of despairing, though, The Frugal Travel Guy Rick Ingersoll says you should call the credit card company and ask them to increase the bonus miles they gave you to the new level.
Marissa says she booked a flight in 2008 before canceling and using the credit to try to buy another flight. But United said she’d waited too long to re-book the flight, so her sunk cost and frequent flyer miles are gone.
If air travel was a multi-player video-game, you would call Southwest’s new “Rapid Rewards” frequent flier program “adjusting the game balance.” In this case, the “Pinstripe” class is getting favorably tweaked at “Joe Sixpack” class’s expense.
Southwest today announced a major revamp of its frequent flyer mile program. Under the new system, travelers will get points based on their airfare amount. There will also be no blackout dates or seat restrictions (existing members will get grandfathered in). The airline also introduced three new fare buckets, “wanna get away,” “anytime,” and “business select” with increasing points per dollar to redeem and total points required for a free flight. So not only are you getting from point A to point B, you’re also polishing valuable math skills. Southwest came out with 3 videos to explain it all:
Lifehacker has some good reminder tips about how to get the most mileage out of your frequent flyer miles. Just like how you book a regular ticket, being flexible about your airports, adding connections, and flying on slow travel days can help you stretch their miles to their max. What frequent flyer mile strategies do you use? Sound off in the comments.
The annual fee for the Starwood American Express card is going up from $45 to $65. Is it worth the price to pay for the right to use a credit card?
Keeping track of your frequent flyer miles, when they’re about to expire and what special rain dance you have to do to actually use them can be a big hassle. Award Wallet a free site that does a bunch of the dirty work for you, operating like a Mint.com for frequent flyer miles.
You know those too-bad-to-be-true mailings that offer to let you turn expiring frequent flyer miles into magazine subscriptions? Turns out that, at least in some cases, they’re even worse than advertised. Google SEO god Matt Cutts had racked up about 15,000 miles on U.S. Airways, and was looking for a way to cash them in before they expired. The magazines seemed like a better deal than just letting the miles turn to vapor, so he went ahead and ordered a bunch, and waited for them to arrive. And waited. And waited.
The CEO of Continental Airlines called up reader Ben personally and fixed his frequent flyer miles for him…