Awards

LifeMiles Adjusts Award Rates To Australia & New Zealand

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Avianca’s LifeMiles program is one of my favorites for premium cabin Star Alliance redemptions, given that they frequently sell miles at a discount. LifeMiles had an award chart devaluation back in 2014, though hasn’t made many major changes to their Star Alliance partner chart since.

Frankly I think they’re at the sweet spot right now, and don’t see them making another big devaluation anytime soon. Following the last devaluation a few years ago we saw that they increased the percent bonus they offered on purchased miles, which suggests to me that demand dropped greatly following the devaluation, causing them to increase the bonuses offered.

However, some occasional minor adjustments in certain regions aren’t surprising, presumably based on data they have of peoples’ redemption patterns.

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Delta’s Latest SkyMiles Devaluation Gets Even Worse

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A bit over a week ago, while they were in the middle of one of their biggest operational meltdowns in recent history, Delta devalued the SkyMiles program once again. Delta doesn’t publish any award charts as of a couple of years ago (“it’s the same as revenue tickets, the price you see is the price you get”), so we never really know when a devaluation is coming. That’s because we find out the hard way, when award costs are suddenly higher than they were before… and Delta hopes no one will notice.

Delta has devalued awards to specific regions a countless number of times in the past, but a bit over a week ago they took it to the next level. Delta raised the costs for virtually all award tickets on partner airlines, at least for travel originating in the US. However, the way they priced award itineraries was a bit odd:

— If you traveled exclusively on partner airlines, award costs increased
— If you traveled exclusively on Delta, or on a combination of Delta and partner airlines, award costs remained the same

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The Incredible Value Of Redeeming Virgin Atlantic Miles For ANA First Class

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Earlier I wrote about how Amex is offering a 30% bonus when you transfer Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles. In general Flying Club is one of my least favorite airline programs. Their redemption rates for travel on their own flights are high, at least in premium cabins, and have hefty carrier imposed surcharges.

They also have lots of partner redemption opportunities, though for the most part they don’t represent a good deal. Virgin Atlantic’s absolute best partner redemption opportunities are for travel on Japan-based All Nippon Airways.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has a distance based award chart for travel on ANA, and the redemption rates are exceptional. The cost is based on the cumulative distance of roundtrip travel. So for example, you could fly from the US to Japan, and then connect from Japan to elsewhere in Asia. Here are the redemption rates:

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Etihad Guest Hugely Devalues Award Redemptions On Brussels Airlines

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Etihad Guest is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest, and I tend to think it’s the all around most valuable loyalty program offered by a Gulf carrier, thanks to their mostly reasonable redemption rates.

Beyond that, they had some great partner redemption opportunities. No doubt the single best partner redemption value they had, and arguably the best award prices offered by any loyalty program, were for travel on Brussels Airlines.

To quote what I said last May:

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Delta Just MASSIVELY Increased Award Costs On Partner Airlines

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With most loyalty programs it’s quite easy to tell definitively if a devaluation happened. With Delta SkyMiles, you can never be sure whether something is a glitch or devaluation. That’s because Delta SkyMiles eliminated award charts in 2015, and now award tickets work the same way as revenue tickets — the price you see online is the price you get.

The problem is that this doesn’t account for how glitchy Delta’s website is, and how it incorrectly prices awards, even by Delta’s logic. However, you can’t reason with agents on the phone when the pricing is wrong, since the price is the price, and there’s nothing else they can reference.

Since Delta eliminated award charts we’ve seen them increase award prices several times, and of course the only way you’d know is if you’re tracking the prices. Just to give a couple of recent examples, they raised the cost of one-way business class awards as follows:

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JetBlue Is Offering 20% Off Award Tickets This Spring

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JetBlue has a revenue based frequent flyer program, meaning the number of points required for a redemption is directly correlated to the revenue cost of a ticket. Therefore there’s not really a best time to redeem points, since you’ll usually get roughly the same amount of value per point.

Well, the one exception is when JetBlue is offering award sales, as they are right now. JetBlue is offering 20% off TrueBlue award tickets that are booked by 11:59PM EST on Saturday, April 8, 2017. The basic terms are as follows:

— Valid for travel between May 2, 2017, and June 7, 2017
— Blackout dates of May 24 through May 30, 2017, apply
— Only valid for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays
— There’s no registration required, and the award prices you’ll see will automatically reflect the discount

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Air France FlyingBlue’s April 2017 Promo Awards

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One of the best uses of Air France/KLM FlyingBlue miles is booking their Promo Awards.

FlyingBlue publishes these every month, and they offer 20-50% 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 promotion somewhat since then, and the discounts are now pretty consistently for 25% off. That’s still good, just not as good.

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You Can Now Redeem Delta SkyMiles On WestJet

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For a few years now, Delta and WestJet have had a partnership, allowing you to earn Delta SkyMiles for travel on WestJet.

WestJet is a “Group 4” SkyMiles partner, which means that you can’t earn Medallion Qualifying Miles or Medallion Qualifying Dollars for travel on WestJet, though you can earn redeemable miles, which is better than nothing.

Well, Delta and WestJet have expanded their partnership, as it’s now possible to redeem Delta SkyMiles for travel on WestJet. Per the SkyMiles News & Updates page:

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Great Deal: Iberia Is Offering 25% Off Award Redemptions

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Iberia Plus is celebrating their 25th anniversary, and they have a great promotion as a result. While we’ve seen some targeted Iberia Avios promotions in the past that offer discounts for select routes, this is the most widely available promotion I’ve seen from them yet.

Iberia is offering 25% off award tickets that are booked by April 11, 2017. There are a few further restrictions:

— Valid for travel through June 15, 2017, or for travel between October 1 and December 15, 2017
— Valid for travel exclusively on Iberia flights, though in all classes of service
— Only valid for travel on off-peak dates

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Air France/KLM FlyingBlue Improves Their Mileage Expiration Policy

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I find the Air France/KLM FlyingBlue program to be pretty useful, especially since the program is transfer partners with all major transferable points currencies. So the points are pretty easy to accrue, and FlyingBlue is reasonably good about opening up Air France and KLM business class award availability for their own members.

Recently FlyingBlue extended how far in advance you can redeem miles — previously you could only redeem miles at most 305 days out, while now they let you redeem miles 360 days out. That’s a great development, especially as the old system made no sense — members of partner airline frequent flyer programs had access to Air France and KLM award seats before the airlines’ own members did.

Well, FlyingBlue has just announced another improvement. It’s fairly minor in the grand scheme of things, though still worth pointing out. As of March 15, 2017, FlyingBlue miles expire after 24 months of inactivity, rather than after 20 months of inactivity.

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Alaska Mileage Plan Cuts JAL Premium Economy Awards

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Alaska Milage Plan is one of my favorite frequent flyer programs, thanks to their unique array of partners, the ability to do a stopover even on a one-way award, and much more.

One of the other things that sets Alaska Mileage Plan apart from many other U.S. frequent flyer programs is that they allow award redemptions in premium economy on many of their partner airlines. Historically American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, and United MileagePlus haven’t allow premium economy redemptions.

Presumably this is because in the past they didn’t offer a premium economy product themselves, and the concept of premium economy has been growing a lot the past several years. Now American and Delta are both introducing premium economy, so it’ll be interesting to see if they allow premium economy redemptions on partner airlines (Delta has already introduced premium economy redemptions on Virgin Atlantic, and perhaps that will be extended to other partners in the future).

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Delta Flash Sale: Save On Award Tickets To Europe ThIs Summer

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Delta SkyMiles has announced a great award sale for travel between the U.S. and Europe. The promotion is valid for travel in both business class and economy class, so it’s a great way to snag a discounted award ticket to Europe this summer and fall.

Through this promotion, roundtrip economy class awards start at just 50,000 miles, while roundtrip business class awards start at just 110,000 miles.

The major terms of the promotion are as follows:

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Singapore KrisFlyer Announces Award Chart Devaluation As Of March 23, 2017

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I love the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program, given that it’s just about the only way to redeem miles for Singapore Airlines longhaul premium cabin flights. They only make most award space available to their own KrisFlyer members, and not to members of partner frequent flyer programs.

On top of that, KrisFlyer is transfer partners with all four major transferable points currencies — Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest — so the points are quite easy to come by.

Well, Singapore KrisFlyer has just announced an award chart devaluation for bookings as of March 23, 2017. The good news is that the devaluation is fairly mild, and even sort of fair. This isn’t some insane devaluation where some award costs are increasing by 100%, as we’ve seen from other airlines over the years.

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Air France FlyingBlue’s March 2017 Promo Awards

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One of the best uses of Air France/KLM FlyingBlue miles is booking their Promo Awards.

FlyingBlue publishes these every month, and they offer 20-50% 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 promotion somewhat since then, and the discounts are now pretty consistently for 25% off. That’s still good, just not as good.

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