Air France FlyingBlue February/March Promo Awards — Up To 50% Off

KLM-Business-Class-747-57

One of the best uses of Air France/KLM FlyingBlue miles is booking their Promo Awards. FlyingBlue publishes these every month, and they offer 25-50% off select award tickets on Air France and KLM metal. Back in the day Promo Awards would consistently be for 50% off and would have a good number of options in business class, though unfortunately they’ve devalued the program somewhat since then, and the discounts now vary.

However, there are still some great values to be had. FlyingBlue just published their latest Promo Awards. These are valid for bookings made between December 1 and December 31, 2014, and for travel between February 1, 2015 and March 31, 2015. While the January/February Promo Awards were quite impressive, this list is a bit more lackluster (which isn’t really surprising, since March can be a busy month for travel).

For this Promo Award period, there are only three North America destinations that are eligible for discounted awards, as follows:

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Free Points For Joining IHG Rewards Club

IHG-Rewards-Club-New-Member-Bonus

Back in the day it was pretty common for loyalty programs to offer a bonus just for signing up for an account. Unfortunately that’s pretty rare nowadays, though.

IHG Rewards Club is offering 2,000 bonus points to new members with valid email addresses, and mailing addresses registered in the United States or Canada.

The promotion is valid through December 7, 2014, and bonus points will be deposited into the account upon the completion of the promotion.

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Alaska’s Awesome MVP Gold 75K Mileage Bonus

Alaska-737

Yesterday Alex wrote about some changes that Alaska Airlines announced to their mileage earnings structure for the 2015 Mileage Plan program.

The changes were both positive and negative. Most significantly:

The negative change was that Alaska devalued their mileage earning structure for travel on Delta.

This is hardly surprising, given the revenue based 2015 SkyMiles program, as well as the ongoing battle between Alaska and Delta over the Seattle market. Alaska Mileage Plan is already a great program for crediting Delta flights, so it’s hardly surprising that they’re not leaving this huge arbitrage opportunity open.

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US Airways Chairman’s Preferred 2014 Segment Requirements Lowered

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All things considered I’ve been really impressed by the way American and US Airways have been handling their integration. Merging two airlines on completely different reservations systems is no easy task, and I think they’ve done a fairly good job managing expectations.

In particular, they’ve worked hard to “integrate rather than innovate,” which I think makes a lot of sense given the scope of what they’re doing. There’s no area where this has been more evident than with their frequent flyer program. We finally know what the integration of the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles loyalty programs will look like, when the programs merge in the second quarter of 2015.

Overall the changes are quite positive, especially in relation to what we’re seeing at Delta and United.

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British Airways Gold Guest List Requirements Increased

British-Airways-Concorde-Room-London-10

If you think the systems US airlines use for awarding status are complicated, take a look at the systems offered by some non-US airlines.

For example, British Airways uses a “Tier Point” system for awarding status, with Tier Points being being awarded based on the distance of the flight and the class of service you’re flying within certain “tiers.” Beyond that, the number of Tier Points required to qualify for status is dependent upon what country your account is registered in.

British Airways has three “traditional” status levels — Bronze, Silver, and Gold. But they also have some rewards above Gold, for those racking up lots of Tier Points each year.

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Buy Up To US Airways Status For 2015

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As I’ve written about in the past, US Airways has historically had one of the most generous programs when it comes to outright buying status.

US Airways used to offer a buy up to Preferred program, whereby you could outright buy top tier status without having flown a mile. They discontinued that program a couple of months ago, however, as part of their integration with American.

For the past couple of years American AAdvantage has let you buy up to status at the end of the year if you’re not too far from qualifying. AAdvantage published the cost and rules for this year’s offering earlier in the month, though said it would be a couple of weeks until the US Airways version of the offer would be published.

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#Awesomeness: Passengers Push Frozen Plane

Russian-Plane

Via rt.com:

“Freezing temperatures didn’t stop intrepid passengers from “helping out” a Russian plane that couldn’t move, because its wheels were frozen to the ground. The “selfie” won the day in a remote Siberian town beyond the Arctic Circle.

74 passengers, who were on board, offered the seven-member crew and technical staff to help move the frozen Tupolev Tu-134 plane to the takeoff runway on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the UTair company told TASS.”

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Reminder: Register For Small Business Saturday

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Just a quick reminder to register your American Express cards for this year’s Small Business Saturday.

As I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, this is a promotion whereby American Express card members can register to receive a statement credit for purchases made at eligible small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (which this year is November 29, 2014). This year, American Express is offering a $10 statement credit for each qualifying transaction, up to three times per card (potentially for a total of $30 of statement credits per card).

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Qantas A380 First Class Sydney To Los Angeles

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G’day from up top (that is the opposite of down under, right?), mates!

Today my dad and I flew Qantas A380 first class from Sydney to Los Angeles, which I suppose is the beginning of the end of our incredible-beyond-words journey.

As anyone that has looked at award availability trends between the US and Australia knows, Qantas first class award space is really tough to come by. Like, really, really tough. And it only gets tougher when you’re looking for space for two people. That being said, there are some “tricks” to at least maximizing your chances of finding the space, as I’ve written about in the past.

So how good is Qantas first class? Is award space so tough to find simply because of the US to Australia market, because Qantas is the best in the market, or is the product really that damn good? It has been years since I’ve flown Qantas first class, so I was keen to give them another shot.

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Happy Thanksgiving And A Giveaway

Wild turkeys in our neighborhood.  One of these years...

It’s that time of year when we (at least those in the US) take a step back and think about the things for which we are thankful. For me, this Thanksgiving is a time to look back at my accident– which is now 2 months in the rear view mirror– and be thankful for all the people who have helped me start to get back on my feet.

In the miles and points world, it’s perhaps a little harder to find things we are thankful for, especially given the spate of devaluations of the last year. Sure, we can always take the easy way out and just be thankful they aren’t worse — none of the legacies have gone to revenue-based redemptions yet– but there are some brights.

Finally, let’s kick off the holiday season with a giveaway!

In the miles and points world, it’s perhaps a little harder to find things we are thankful for, especially given the spate of devaluations of the last year. Sure, we can always take the easy way out and just be thankful they aren’t worse — none of the legacies have gone to revenue-based redemptions yet– but in reality there are a some bright sports.

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Alaska Flyers Earn More Miles…Unless It’s Delta

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I feel like all I do is write about Alaska Airlines.

Alaska just sent out an email with the heading “What’s in Store for 2015 Mileage Plan Members.” At the bottom of the email is this:

Do you see that shocked look on her face? Well, there’s a good reason behind it, but she shouldn’t necessarily be surprised considering all the changes to the 2015 Delta SkyMiles program.

In 2015, SkyMiles is going completely revenue based on the earning side of the program, whereby redeemable miles earned will be directly tied to the amount spent on tickets, with higher earning based upon Medallion level and whether or not a member has a co-branded SkyMiles American Express credit card. United quickly copied Delta for their 2015 MileagePlus program.

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Alaska Airlines Adds E175s To SkyWest Fleet

Seattle-views

Growing up in Seattle, I remember the days when Alaska Airlines barely flew outside of the west coast. In the early 2000s, they started a few transcontinental routes like Washington National with the addition of newer 737s, but those were exceptions to the network, rather than the norm. Alaska didn’t even start flying to Hawaii until 2007, but now it seems to comprise a majority of their routes.

Over recent years, Alaska has been filling holes in their network, like with the addition of Detroit, New Orleans, and Tampa. Alaska even added a Salt Lake City “focus hub” earlier this year. Exciting, right? ;)

Until 2011, Alaska’s in-house regional carrier, Horizon, operated under its own brand.

Horizon’s brand disappeared in favor of Alaska’s as part of a restructuring to bring their business model in line with the rest of the industry. Now, Alaska does all the “marketing” and pays Horizon to do all the “operating.”

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