What Is A Fifth Freedom Flight?

Singapore-Business-Class

Fifth freedom flights have always interested me, and I’ve made a point to fly as many of these flights as possible over the past several years.

Some have been interesting, like flying New York to Frankfurt on Singapore Airlines with the “First Lady” of Zimbabwe. Others have been terrifying… you may recall my experience on Royal Jordanian from Bangkok to Hong Kong.

A “fifth freedom” flight is one where an airline from one country has the right to fly between two different countries. An example of this is India’s Jet Airways, which operates fifth freedom flights between Toronto and Brussels.

These aren’t to be confused with “second freedom” flights, which allow an airline the right to stop for maintenance or fuel without disembarking passengers or cargo.

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AMAZING DEAL: $1,400 Business Class To Europe Next Summer

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On Tuesday I wrote about the incredible business class fares being offered between the west coast and Europe. SkyTeam was publishing fares of $1,500+ out of Portland and San Francisco, and you could fly on Air France, Alitalia, Delta, or KLM.

The fare died that same day, though some business class fares are back again… and they’re even better!

SkyTeam is publishing ~$1,400(!!!!) business class fares between Los Angeles and Madrid through the end of the schedule.

I have never in my life seen such a cheap non-mistake fare between the west coast and Europe. Never.

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Routes With SAS New Business Class

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Back in May, SAS announced the new business class product they’d install throughout their longhaul fleet starting in 2015.

Not only will they install it on their existing A330/A340 aircraft, but they’ll also install it on the four A330s they’ll be taking delivery of over the next two years, as well as the A350s they’ll begin taking delivery of in 2018.

At the time the announcement was made, SAS said that the first plane with the new business class should be in service in early 2015, and that the reconfigurations should be completed within 12 months.

Anyway, up until recently we didn’t have an exact timeline of when the new product would be flying, though Henning at BonusFeber did some digging, and it appears as if SAS has updated the seatmaps with the new product as of early next year.

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Royal Jordanian 787 Flights To The US

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Back in the day, redeeming American AAdvantage miles to the Middle East was really tough. The only airline partner that American had in the Middle East was Royal Jordanian, which in terms of quality certainly isn’t in the same league as the “big three” Gulf carriers (Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar).

Over the past few years American miles have gone from being among the least valuable for travel to the Middle East, to being among the most valuable:

— In 2011, American started a partnership with Etihad Airways, whereby American flyers could redeem miles on them
— In 2013, Qatar Airways joined the oneworld alliance, meaning AAdvantage members could redeem miles on them

That means you can now redeem American miles for travel on two of the “big three” Gulf carriers.

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Review: Le Meridien Cairo Airport

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My Cairo layover was a bit interesting. I was landing from Abu Dhabi at 3AM, and was departing the next afternoon at 1PM. So I had 34 hours in Cairo total.

I decided it made the most sense to book Le Meridien Cairo Airport, since it looked gorgeous, and was reasonably priced. I had aspirations of seeing things, though when I landed at 3AM my top priority was being close to the hotel, rather than having to deal with a transfer to the city.

As a result, Le Meridien Cairo Airport was an obvious choice, and at ~$110USD per night, it was quite a deal as well. Since the revolution, tourism in Egypt has more or less ceased to be a thing, so hotel prices are pretty low across the board.

I decided to book the hotel for two nights (including the night before I arrived), because I wanted to be sure I could check in upon my arrival at the hotel.

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Delta SkyMiles Award Sale Through November 2, 2014

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Delta SkyMiles is offering an award sale for tickets booked by November 2, 2014.

The promotion is valid for travel in select markets between December 3, 2014, and February 18, 2015.

Through this promotion you can receive discounts of up to 10,000 miles on roundtrip economy award tickets within the US, or between the US and the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Here’s how many miles you can save through this promotion:

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American Adds Second Daily Los Angeles To London Flight

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As a general rule of thumb, the tougher upgrades are on a route, the higher yield the route is. It’s not a science, but generally it’s true. And when it comes to American Airlines, there’s no denying that Los Angeles to London Heathrow is one of the toughest upgrades in the system, even for top tier Executive Platinum members.

So I guess it really shouldn’t come as as surprise that American is doubling capacity on their metal in the market.

American will start a second daily Boeing 777-300ER flight between Los Angeles and London Heathrow as of March 28, 2015.

This complements the twice daily A380 service by their joint venture partner, British Airways.

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Maximizing American Miles With Credit Card Bonuses

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Earlier in the week we learned about the next step of the integration between American AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles. AAdvantage is more or less staying the same, while Dividend Miles will be merged into AAdvantage in the second quarter of next year.

Compared to what’s going on in the rest of the industry, the lack of change is great news. I was expecting an award chart devaluation and wouldn’t have been surprised by a revenue requirement for status, though it looks like for the time being we’ve been spared. As the President of AAdvantage explained when I spoke to her earlier in the week, they’re focused on integration and not innovation, which is a smart move given what a big task it is to merge the two airlines.

So while I previously thought AAdvantage would publish a new award chart for early next year, I think it’s much more likely we’ll see a new award chart later next year or in early 2016. That means we have more time to redeem through AAdvantage and Dividend Miles at the current rates, which are among the best in the industry.

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Free Wifi For All Marriott Rewards Members Starting In 2015

Marriott-Free-Wifi

Marriott made a pretty major announcement today, which we should all be excited about.

As of January 15, 2015, Marriott Rewards members will receive complimentary standard wifi as long as they make their reservation directly with Marriott (be it online, over the phone, or at a hotel). That’s a really smart move on the part of Marriott, as it further encourages people to book directly with Marriott rather than through a third party.

This benefit will be available at over 3,800 properties, spanning their different brands. Free wifi is being added at Marriott Hotels, JW Marriott, Renaissance, Gaylord Hotels, Autograph Collection, AC Hotels by Marriott, Marriott Executive Apartments, and Ritz-Carlton.

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Review: Etihad Airways Business Class A320 Abu Dhabi to Cairo

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Even though I’ve flown Etihad quite a bit, this was my first time on one of their regional aircraft.

Etihad’s A320 business class consists of a total of 16 seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2 configuration.

The color scheme of the cabin is a bit, erm, bright, at least for a flight departing at 1AM. Though I didn’t totally hate it. It kind of matched the motif of most Florida homes built in the early 90s.

The legroom in the cabin is generous. Seats have ~49″ of pitch, which is quite a bit more than you’d get in domestic first class within the US, though quite a bit less than you’d get in business class on a longhaul flight. So for a roughly four hour flight, it was more than enough.

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Answers To Your Questions About The US Airways Preferred Trial

US-Airways-Trial

On Tuesday I wrote about the US Airways Trial Preferred program, which is hands down the best way to earn top tier status with US Airways (and now by connection, with the new American).

It’s one of the few “shortcuts” to top tier elite status, so understandably there were many questions.

Many, many, questions. ;)

Between the original post, Ask Lucky, Twitter, Facebook, and my email, I’ve received literally hundreds of questions clarifying how the program works, so I thought it would be helpful to consolidate everything into one place.

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Huge Vancouver Hotel Discounts With beVancouver

Vancouver

beVancouver.com is back with another amazing promotion on Vancouver hotels for this winter, similar to the promotion they ran last year.

beVancouver is offering a $50-$125 gift card for each booking at one of their qualifying hotels, even for one night stays. This can be a great way to book Vancouver hotels this winter for next to nothing. The gift cards are issued by American Express and can be used however you’d like — they don’t have to be used during your stay.

The basic terms are as follows:

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