80% Bonus On Virgin America Elevate Points Tomorrow

Virgin-America-Elevate-Bonus

Virgin America’s Elevate program is offering an 80% bonus on the purchase of points tomorrow, Tuesday, October 21, 2014. The promotion will last for only eight hours, from 9AM to 5PM EST.

They’re claiming it’s their “Biggest Elevate Points Bonus Ever,” which I guess is technically true, since they’ve never offered a bigger bonus. Though last March they did offer the same 80% bonus.

Virgin America Elevate points ordinarily cost 5.2 cents each to purchase, so through this promotion Virgin America Elevate points can be purchased for ~2.89 cents each. You can purchase up to 20,000 points per account per calendar year, before factoring in the 80% bonus (meaning you can purchase a maximum of ~36,000 points through this promotion).

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IHG Into The Nights Promo Being Honored… Mostly

IHG-Into-The-Nights-10

IHG Rewards Club has one of the most lucrative (and complicated) fall hotel promotions, entitled Into the Nights. It’s valid for stays between September 4 and December 31, 2014, and through the promotion you have to complete various “tasks” in order to earn the highest bonus.

Here’s what my original bonus offer looked like:

However, as I wrote about yesterday, IHG seems to have changed the terms of the promotion for many members mid-promotion.

In my case, for example, the requirement went from having to download the IHG App and make one booking in order to “unlock” that bonus, to having to make five bookings through the app. That’s a huge change, obviously.

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Armchair Inventory Management

American-Fares-5

I’d like to think that for the most part my blog isn’t about drawing conclusions, but rather about starting conversations. For example, earlier I posted about airberlin discontinuing flights between Miami and Berlin. I wasn’t saying it was a bad move, but rather just explained why I found it strange.

This post will be different, as I’m going to draw a conclusion — American’s revenue management got a route wrong. Really, really wrong. Even more so than they got award availability between London and New York wrong last weekend. ;)

As I posted about back in June, American will be adding one daily nonstop flight between Tampa and Los Angeles as of November 6, 2014. Currently Delta operates in the market with two daily nonstop flights. It’s probably not the most lucrative market in the world, but presumably Delta does decently well between passengers traveling to Los Angeles, other parts of California, Asia, and Australia.

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Today Only: 50% Bonus On Choice Privileges Points

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Choice Privileges is offering a flash sale on the purchase of points through 5PM EST today, Monday, October 20, 2014. Through this promotion they’re offering a 50% bonus on the purchase of Choice points.

Ordinarily you can purchase at most 20,000 Choice Privileges points per account per calendar year, though through this promotion that cap is lifted to 50,000 points, plus the 50% bonus, for a total of 75,000 Choice points.

The ordinary cost to purchase Choice Privileges points is $11 per 1,000 points, so that means through this promotion you can purchase points for as little as ~0.73 cents each.

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British Airways AARP Discount Extended

British-Airways-A380-Business-Class

We’ve seen quite a few excellent business class fare sales this year for travel between the US and Europe, often around $2,000 roundtrip.

While that’s a good fare to begin with, if traveling with British Airways there are a couple of ways to knock the fare down even further:

— AARP members receive a $400 discount on roundtrip business class tickets, also valid for travel on their partner airlines
— British Airways Visa Signature Cardmembers receive a 10% discount for travel exclusively on British Airways

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Airberlin Cancels Miami To Berlin Flight — Why?!

airberlin-business-class-A330-27

Airberlin currently operates service to Miami out of both Dusseldorf and Berlin. As it stands, the Miami to Dusseldorf flight is daily, while the Miami to Berlin flight is 5x weekly.

I flew airberlin business class from Miami to Dusseldorf just a few months ago, and quite enjoyed my flight. It’s a great use of oneworld miles for travel to Europe, given that they don’t impose fuel surcharges, regardless of whether you book through American AAdvantage or British Airways Executive Club.

Airberlin’s service to Miami makes sense, given that:

— Miami is a oneworld hub, so there’s lots of connecting traffic on both ends
— Miami is the second most popular US destination for Germans, after New York

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First Qatar Airways A350 Destination: Frankfurt

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Qatar Airways is the launch customer for the Airbus A350, and will soon begin service with the first of 80 A350s that they have on order.

Qatar Airways has just announced their first Airbus A350 route, which will be Doha to Frankfurt as of January 2015. They have twice daily service to Frankfurt, and they should both be operated by the A350 by the end of January.

QR67/68 will first be operated by the A350, with the following schedule:

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Citi AAdvantage Cards Now Have A New Look

Citi-AAdvantage-Cards

American has been going through a major rebranding over the past couple of years, which even predates their announcement to merge with US Airways. I think they’ve been doing a great job with it, given that they’re trying to shake their image as the world’s largest operator of MD-80s, to one that actually flies airplanes built in this century.

For the 2014 program year American introduced new elite cards with a sleeker look, and that look is somewhat reflected in their new co-branded Citi AAdvantage Cards as well.

When you go to Citi’s website and check out their co-branded American Airlines cards, you’ll see the new look:

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Ethiopian Flying Los Angeles to Dublin Starting June 2015!

Ethiopian-Business-Class-787-08

In July I posted about Ethiopian Airlines’ announcement that Los Angeles would become their second US destination as of 2015. At the time they announced that the flight between Addis Ababa and Los Angeles would stop in Dublin, which seemed like an interesting choice. As usual I never trust these airline announcements until the schedules are actually loaded and the flights go on sale.

Well, much to my surprise Ethiopian Airlines has followed through on this.

Ethiopian Airlines will begin 3x weekly Boeing 787-8 flights between Addis Ababa and Los Angeles as of June 3, 2015. The flight will operate westbound on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and eastbound on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

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IHG Into The Nights Promo Terms Changed

InterContinental-Berchtesgaden

In early September I wrote about IHG Rewards Club’s Into The Nights promotion, which is their fall promotion. It’s valid for stays between September 4 and December 31, 2014.

The promotion is unique in that there are different “tasks” you have to complete in order to “unlock” the bonus points or free night certificates. People were targeted with different offers based on their stay patterns. The promotion was structured in such a way that they were trying to generate incremental business, so a lot of people without many recent stays were targeted with great promotions, while many loyal members received laughably bad offers.

I haven’t had a revenue stay with IHG all year, and my promotion looked as follows:

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Do UberX Drivers Actually Make Money?

UberX

It’s no secret that Uber is my one of my favorite innovations for ground transportation. When public transportation in a city isn’t good, I used to get really frustrated by the lack of options and taxi “mafias,” though fortunately Uber has solved that problem in many cities.

Uber Black is the “standard” service and a bit more than a taxi, while they also have UberX, which is usually cheaper than a taxi. And thanks to the instant feedback loop (you rating the driver and the driver rating you), service is excellent across the board, in my experience.

I feel like I understand the economics of Uber Black pretty well. The cost is a bit higher than what you’d pay for a taxi (though flat rates from airports can be a steal, especially internationally), but for that additional fee you’re getting a nicer vehicle, GPS tracking, and the convenience of paying through the app.

UberX, however, is another story.

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Is Detroit Alaska’s Most Elite Heavy Route?

Alaska-737

I might joke that Detroit is Alaska’s most elite heavy route… at least through the end of this month.

As I wrote about back in February, Alaska announced new service to Detroit which started on September 4th, and a double elite qualifying mile (EQM) promotion to go along with it through October 31st, 2014. Just a week later, Delta announced double miles & MQMs for Washington residents through the end of 2014. Tit for tat is great for consumers.

My PointsPros colleague, Alex, emailed me yesterday with something I found interesting. He had a same day mileage run Seattle > Detroit > Seattle to re-qualify for MVP Gold status, and the upgrade list for the outbound flight is nearly identical to the return. 21 names match, to be precise.

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