About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Virgin America Has Stopped Accepting Applications For Their Credit Card

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When airline mergers happen, it’s almost inevitable that changes will also happen with their partnerships. Many airlines have exclusivity agreements with some of their partners, so that’s a detail that has to be hashed out when two airlines join forces.

Typically this comes in the form of the company taking over keeping their agreement, and the company being taken over discontinuing their agreement. However, that’s not always the case. For example, when American took over US Airways, they maintained relationships with both Barclaycard and Citi.

With Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America having closed late last year, and with Alaska recently sharing their vision for the combined airline, it’s clear that not much of the Virgin America brand will survive. I think a lot of us assumed this would be the fate of their co-branded credit card as well, and it looks like that happened sooner rather than later.

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That Was Quick: United Reaches Undisclosed Settlement With Dr. Dao

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Wow, United sure is trying to get the entire “dragging” incident behind them, that’s for sure. Earlier today we learned about the 10 policy changes that United is instituting following the incident they had with Dr. Dao, which they seem pretty serious about. It looks like we won’t see this incident drag out in court either, as it’s being reported that United and Dr. Dao have reached a settlement for an undisclosed amount. Per a statement from United:

“We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411. We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do.”

Meanwhile here’s what Dr. Dao’s lawyer had to say:

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Etihad Guest Has Started Selling Miles

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Buying miles when they’re on sale can be one of the best ways to get a deal on premium cabin travel. Programs like Alaska Mileage Plan, Avianca LifeMiles, etc., are known for the excellent value they provide when buying miles, and have allowed me to have lots of great first & business class travel experiences.

Now Etihad Guest has started selling miles as well, and they use points.com for processing the transactions.

Etihad Guest now lets you buy at most 60,000 miles per transaction (in increments of 1,000), and up to 100,000 miles per account per calendar year. The cost to purchase miles is two cents each, regardless of how many you buy.

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Full Details Of IHG’s Spring 2017 Accelerate Promotion

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For the most couple of years, most of IHG’s global hotel promotions have been customized. Everyone gets some type of offer, but different members get targeted for different versions of the offer. The logic is that hotel loyal programs want to generate incremental business, so they’d rather try to get you to increase the business you’d otherwise give them, rather than just reward you for stays you’d make anyway.

The past several such promotions have been called “Accelerate,” and IHG is now back with their latest version of the offer. IHG has just announced the details of their latest Accelerate offer, valid for stays between May 15 and August 31, 2017.

You can now go to this page to see your IHG Accelerate offer, and register for it. Do note that some people are getting error messages when following the link, as it seems like they haven’t yet loaded the promotion for everyone. If that’s the case for you, try to access the page in an incognito browser, or otherwise change the “us” in the URL to “gb,” as that seems to do the trick. Otherwise log into your IHG account through the above link, and then you should eventually see the offer.

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Score A Fourth Night Free (And More) At Starwood Hotels In Paris This Summer

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If you are a Starwood loyalist and are headed to Paris in the coming months, there’s an offer to be aware of.

Ford has written in the past about Starwood’s Luxury Privileges program, which is the Starwood equivalent of Virtuoso, American Express Fine Hotels & Resort, Four Seasons Preferred Partners, etc. Typically by booking through an advisor who belongs to Luxury Privileges you get a room upgrade based on availability, free breakfast, and some sort of property specific amenity, like a $100 food & beverage or spa credit.

However, at the moment Starwood Luxury Privileges has some generous offers for their three properties in Paris. Specifically, I’m talking about the Price de Galles (Luxury Collection), Westin Vendome, and W Opera.

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Priority Pass Members Can No Longer Bring Guests Into Alaska Lounges

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As I’ve written about in the past, Priority Pass members are increasingly reporting issues with accessing certain lounges. While it’s not the case at most lounges, some of the most popular ones are restricting access to Priority Pass members due to space constraints.

Yesterday I wrote about how the biggest issue is with Alaska Lounges, as they seem to consistently be limiting access to Priority Pass members. There were rumors that some Alaska Lounges would be leaving Priority Pass altogether, though I confirmed with Alaska’s PR department that this wasn’t the case.

This situation is of course frustrating, and it seems like there are two short term solutions here:

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American Is Deferring Delivery Of Their A350s… Again

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It sure seems like American isn’t terribly interested in actually taking delivery of the A350s they have on order.

American is in the process of refreshing their longhaul fleet, which includes taking delivery of Boeing 787-8, 787-9, and 777-300ER aircraft.

American was originally supposed to start taking delivery of A350s in early 2017 — they have a total of 22 A350-900 aircraft on order. Last July American announced that they’d defer delivery of these new planes an average of 26 months, and only start taking delivery of them in late 2018. This was done to decrease capital spending, and also as a response to economic slowdowns abroad.

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The World’s New Longest Flight Is Now On Sale

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As we’ve known for a while now, Qantas will be commencing flights between Perth and London as of 2018, which will be the world’s longest flight. They’ve been drawing out the hype surrounding this new route, and also surrounding their new 787-9, for quite a while.

Well, this flight is now on sale. Qantas will be launching daily nonstop flights between Perth and London as of March 24, 2018. The flight will operate with the following schedule:

QF09 Perth to London departing 6:50PM arriving 5:10AM (+1 day)
QF10 London to Perth departing 1:30PM arriving 1:15PM (+1 day)

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United Reveals 10 Policy Changes Following “Dragging” Incident

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By now, just about everyone has heard of the situation that transpired on a United flight a couple of weeks ago, where Dr. Dao was physically dragged off the plane because they needed his seat. Almost as bad as that was United’s terrible response, which backfired horribly.

Eventually United’s CEO issued a sincere-seeming apology, and also had an interview with Good Morning America in which he apologized again. When Oscar Munoz finally issued an apology, he said that he’s committed to fixing what’s broken, including a thorough review of their current procedures in place. He promised to communicate the results of that review by April 30.

Well, United has just released the findings of their review, a few days ahead of schedule. View from the Wing shares the 11 page report that United issued regarding the incident and how they’re changing their policies. In addition to that, here’s the press release, which I’m sharing in full, as it’s interesting and isn’t that long:

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Want To Buy An Airline? Alitalia Will Shortly Be Up For Sale

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As I wrote about yesterday, Alitalia employees essentially just voted in such a way that the airline will shortly be going out of business (or perhaps the way they see it, they’re calling the bluffs of management and the government and expecting to be bailed out for the umpteenth time).

Alitalia has been in a terrible financial situation for a long time, though it has been especially bad lately. They’ve been on the verge of liquidation, but for political reasons got a new business plan approved by the board that would have kept them alive (see yesterday’s post for more on that).

However, the new business plan being approved was contingent upon layoffs and also employees taking pay cuts, and that’s something employees voted against. As a result, Alitalia is out of luck — their creditors won’t fund their new business plan (or more accurately they don’t have a new business plan, since it was contingent upon employees agreeing to it), the government won’t bail them out, and the airline will run out of cash in the coming weeks.

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Tips For Going Number Two On A Plane With Grace

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I swear I’m not trying to be crass here, but I feel like this is a topic that needs to be addressed. Collectively the blogosphere shares tips for maximizing all aspects of travel, but perhaps there’s no area where some suggestions are more necessary than airplane bathroom etiquette.

I’m the last person who would typically want to discuss this stuff, but I feel like someone’s gotta do it. Last night I was waiting for the single rear lavatory on a plane, and as soon as the guy opened the door I unintentionally gave him a look of pure horror. It smelled like someone had died after an all you can eat Mexican buffet. While I heard him flush, there was still toilet paper and some “residual” excrements in the toilet bowl when I went to use it. In addition to actual chunks of you-know-what, the entire toilet bowl looked like an A380 skidded off a dirt runway during monsoon season. There’s a lesson to be learned here, so let’s get to it.

I don’t think anyone enjoys going number two on a plane, but if you’re going to, there are some basic ways to minimize the impact it has on other passengers.

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Review: United Club Hong Kong Airport

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My flight from Hong Kong arrived shortly before 7PM, while my connecting flight back to San Francisco on Singapore Airlines was at 11:30PM. Upon arrival I tried to find the Singapore Airlines transit desk, since I didn’t yet have a boarding pass for my return flight.

It was quite a trek to the transit desk, though once there, a funny conversation ensued. The Singapore Airlines representative requested my inbound boarding pass, which I handed over without saying anything.

“Sir… you are coming from… San Francisco?”

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Which Hotel Credit Card Offers The Best Annual Free Night Perk?

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There are many reasons to consider picking up a credit card, including a great sign-up bonus, a lucrative return on everyday spend, and also valuable ongoing perks. Hotel credit cards are among the best when it comes to offering perks just for holding onto cards and paying the annual fee. There are even three hotel credit cards that offer an annual free night certificate just for paying your annual fee every year. There’s no spend requirement, and a vast majority of people should be able to get outsized value out of this perk.

In this post I wanted to look at the three credit cards that offer an annual free night certificate each year without any sort of spend requirement, and compare them.

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Uber Is Making Changes To Their Ratings System

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One of the reasons that the Uber experience is typically pretty civilized is because of the ratings system they use. Both riders and drivers rate one another after every ride, and hopefully it encourages a system where everyone is on their best behavior. However, I think both sides are sometimes annoyed when they realize how they’re sometimes rated.

Uber has just announced that they’re making two changes to their ratings system, in an effort to encourage better rider behavior, and also to encourage fairer UberPOOL ratings. Specifically:

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