There’s been all this great speculation about the new airline and the frequent flyer program, but I actually think the best part of the merger so far continues on One Mile at a Time’srecentposts regarding music (hold music specifically in his case). Now, this isn’t hold music, but the music in this video, extolling the virtues of the combined airline, is pretty awesome, in my opinion.
I might have already spent a lot of time listening to this song on loop…
For that matter, I’m a sucker for catchy music, so I might’ve also spent a lot of times listening to all the good and awful songs Lucky posted as well…
Cranky Flier (quickly becoming my favorite read) has put out a post about Virgin America’s latest quarterly report. Basically, they don’t sound like they’re doing that well. Virgin American rolled out the red carpet for those of us that attended the KivaDo back in February (for which I have a draft post that still has never been completed…), and I think most people generally like the airline. Unfortunately, their loyalty program leaves a lot to be desired. And apparently, so does their financial performance.
Virgin attributes their losses to their rapid growth, but this contrasts with another recent CF article about Southwest Airlines, where SWA managed to grow rapidly and pay their staff well without hemorrhaging money. Well, hopefully VX can turn it around. They’re more innovative and edgy with their airplanes and business philosophy with other airlines, and it’s nice to see their influence in the market bringing down fares in certain markets/on certain routes.
I unfortunately didn’t get around to posting this earlier, but as has been reported inseveral places, United recent announced layoffs in the Houston area because the city approved allowing Southwest to build an international terminal at Houston’s Hobby airport, and being international service. Now, for those of you who follow Southwest, their international destinations are likely going to be Mexico and the Caribbean. They won’t be flying to Australia or Asia or any of that, most likely. However, United made this sound like the end of the world, and in addition to the layoffs, they even cancelled their proposed upcoming Houston-Auckland (New Zealand) service on 787s.
I agree with Cranky Flier on this one (who award United his “Cranky Jackass” award). These were probably planned or needed layoffs, which are typical after a merger, and United is trying to win some points by blaming these layoffs on what the city of Houston has decided to do. Sure they will face some more competition as a result of the vote, but I highly doubt thinks like Houston to Auckland would be affected by that (plus Southwest will not even be flying out of Hobby internationally for several years). I think United overplayed their hand on this one…
The Points Guy recently posted a list of links to all of the major airlines’ award charts (showing how many miles you will in each frequent flyer program to book the award ticket you want). This is an excellent resource. I recommend all frequent flyers bookmark this page. I certainly will.
I’ve got a backlog of interesting things I ran across and wanted to post, but never did. I’ve been working on some websites keeping me busy (which weren’t in WordPress, which would’ve saved me a lot of time), but I’m winding those up now, and hopefully I’ll be able to post regularly again!
Anyway, I started following Cranky Flier at some point, and just wanted to post a couple of articles I read on his site. The first was an article about some of the intricacies of airlines and change planes on the same flight number, among other things. What I really like about Cranky Flier’s posts is that when he runs across something funny, it’s not just a half-baked, superficial treatment of the topic with a link to the article (like the posts that guy Frequent Flyer Collector makes :-P), but it usually involves a history of the topic, and how things came to be. That particular article talks about how the current convoluted flight number systems “evolved” from marketing strategies.
Another article he wrote was about Delta’s purchase of a refinery. Great analysis, and a quick primer to how the oil/refining market works, and what was going through Delta’s head when they made this move. I highly recommend reading those two articles and following Crank Flier’s blog as well, for many interesting, well-researched articles.
I recommend reading the full post for details, but the gist of doing this is that, sometimes, booking a ticket that terminates in a non-hub city is much cheaper than booking a ticket that terminates in the hub city itself, so if your final destination is the hub city, you can book the cheaper fare that flies through the hub to some other city, but just throw away the last segment to that other city.
There’s a bunch of logistic issues to consider, for example not having any checked luggage and or making sure and making sure your carry-on luggage is either with you on the plane or checked to your intermediate (hub) destination rather than the final, non-hub, destination. Additionally, you have to do this only for the last segment of your flight, otherwise you risk the airline cancelling the rest of your itinerary.
To be honest, when I’ve run across this concept, it has resulted poorly for the person/people involved. The cases I’ve heard are where people have a round trip ticket to a certain destination, but they decide to skip one of the legs on the way to their destination and take alternate transport to the destination. Since you’ve “missed” one of the flights in the itinerary, the airline takes the liberty of cancelling the rest of your trip. Which usually results in some last minute scrambling as well as expenditure to book a return ticket home! Be careful about skipping legs of your itinerary! If you’re doing it for convenience or because you have alternate transportation to replace a leg, definitely check with the airline to see if it is ok with them so that they do not cancel your entire itinerary…however if you’re intentionally throwing away a ticket at the end of your trip, then there isn’t as much a need to talk to the airline.
As New Girl in the Air points out, it’s good to act on this now because signup bonuses for loyalty programs come and go. Also, while 500-2000 miles/points might not seem worth much (you certainly can’t book a room or flight for that amount), getting a few hundred miles here and there can add up over time (and lead to free travel). Additionally, if a lucrative promotion for a program comes along, it saves you a step if you already have an account.
There’s been a plethora of posts by various people over the past few days. This seems like a natural time to assess the past year if you’ve been in the game, and to plan out next year’s strategy (or in some of your cases, first plunge). Generally, everyone has focused on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card, and the AMEX SPG card as part of their past and future strategies. Enjoy the links below, they all contain very useful and valuable information! As always, with any of these promotions and/or credit cards, do your research, and feel free to send me questions or post on flyertalk/milepoint in the appropriate places.
Mommy Points with a post about maximizing your regular credit card spend, aimed at those of us who don’t have tons of business-related/reimbursable expenses to put on credit cards, but only our regular income.
Wow I think that’s it…I didn’t quite realize how many links there would be to post. I think with all the information being generated, the main message is to review all of the credit cards and spending strategies that are popular now, and then to start applying and get in the game! It’s a New Year’s resolution for all of you without one thus far 🙂
There’s been a couple of posts by other bloggers about 2012 predictions. They’re interesting reads, so I wanted to link them here.
Lucky of One Mile At a Time has posted his predictions…interesting stuff, particularly about what AA might do in bankruptcy with their systemwide upgrades (rats, just as I am planning to go for EXP) and hotel promotions.