A packed week on the road for business tumbled in Frequent Traveler University Advanced in San Diego (review by Travel With Grant). I am trying in one evening to catch up on two weeks in the miles and points world, no easy feat with some blogs stacking up 150+ in that fortnight.
My travel was covered in prior columns, to recap:
- AA targeted me for Platinum status, to keep this year for reaching 12,000 elite qualifying miles or points by mid-May. That was taken care of on Iberia and British Airways to/from Barcelona for Mobile World Congress.
- Swings through Grand Canary, Cape Verde, and Madeira on the way to Barcelona. A cash ticket on Binter (see my Avios travails on that) and a United Award on TAP Portugal filled in the dots. Since my trip changed several times to the last minute, the ease of the United website and my change fee waivers was great.
- My first-ever flights on US Airways, from San Deigo back to NYC after FTU. Thanks to Gary Leff for saving me the research time in telling me all I needed to know was to check in at the 24-hour mark and select first class seats for free. Easiest transcon upgrade I have had in years.
- My trips to my only nearby red logo store are either going to get more frequent or stop all together. While imperfectly implemented, many cashiers have been told that only customer service can do loads and those are customer service are (mostly) only allowing one $1,000 swipe per person. One of the many costs of my spousal-induced exile in the Tri-State area. Harlan at Out & Out already packed it in. Before I had the thought, Miles to Memories reports that returning to Serve is no longer a worthwhile option as non-Amex credit card loads will soon end and Amex loads do not earn rewards.
- MJ on Travel argues that AA is going a great job at communicating about the merger. Northwest did a great job at that, then once the merger was done and dusted we became subject to the present day of deceptive actions by Delta, generally with no public announcements.
- Lots for me to learn as I dabble in AA. Have never even been to Dallas, first time will be for the upcoming Frequent Traveler University, April 17-19. One Mile at a Time shows us the DFW ‘secret’ Admirals Club with exercise room.
- Cranky Flier digs into the increased complexity of Delta adding Medallion Qualifying Dollars to partner flights. Travel Codex updated the big banana fight with Alaska where Delta dropped them to a Group 4 partner.
- One Mile at a Time reports that Delta’s partners China Airlines, Gol and most recently Aerolineas Argentinas and Garuda can now be booked for awards on Delta’s website. Finally clawing back some nwa.com partner booking functionality. Since many Delta partners are hit with massive fuel surcharges, this is good to filter out the rip-offs.
- Delta’s continuing dishonesty to customers, cataloged by View from the Wing, has been irritating enough that I have not flown them this year despite sitting on 222k MQMs. I did give in and for business pick a Delta-coded AeroMexico flight, I could not resist the much higher mileage earnings than the comparable AA ticket.
- More evidence from One Mile at a Time why I stay away from Air France Flying Blue, no matter how good some values seem. Now closing accounts for searching for awards!
- My wife is interested in a Spousal Harmony Trip to Greece, so good to know via Running With Miles that the United website is currently not displaying Aegean Airlines flights.
- Point Me to the Plane reminds me yet again that I have failed to take advantage of the soon to change values of the ANA program.
- BA is devaluing its Avios program. It doesn’t bother Travel is Free and doesn’t bother me. Hard to work down those balances on 4,500 NYC-Toronto awards.
- Classic Mr Pickles, a massive National Rental Car corporate codes list with the header, “Remember only use codes that you are qualified to use.” Make sure to fully understand your insurance situation with any rental.
- FrequentMiler compares National to Hertz. I learned at FTU that National free rental day certificates can be used for one-way rentals. Hertz allow one-ways on awards at a roughly 50% points premium.
- At FTU I was asked if there is an AutoSlash for hotels. View from the Wing had the room bugged while in flight as he immediately posted on DreamCheaper.
- The Free-quent Flyer picks apart airline companion tickets. I have several Delta going unused and the legacy Citi Prestige one that I haven’t begun to think about how to use.
- The Chase Amtrak card seems to be dead or close to it, according to FrequentMiler. Another on the list I meant to learn the value and never got to it.
- Efficient Asian Man is another convert to the Citi Prestige card. Best premium card to keep.
- I also love the Chase IHG card which is why I don’t churn it: in case they change the card I may not get the same benefits again. Doctor of Credit posts a survey that we out to some Chase customers on possible different versions of the card.
- As Disney park tickets now are $100+, every little bit helps, FrequentMiler’s Bet You Didn’t Know Series has 3 Ways to Earn the Most Points at Disney.