Friday, May 30, 2014

Prosper Loan and United MileagePlus Miles Promotion

Earn 1 mile fore every $1 loaned, up to 35,000 miles; no prepayment penalties either.  I was interested in taking out a loan, paying it back the next day and pocketing 35,000 for a negligible interest expense.  Then I looked at the fees page and saw a loan origination fee of 2% to 5%.  Yikes, I'm not paying 2c to 5c a mile, never mind.
Let This Offer Fly By

Thursday, May 29, 2014

United DC-8 Model

This is what travel on United was like back in the days of the original Hawaii Five-0.  The Wings Over The Rockies Museum had this and other cool models and some full size planes too.

Boeing Store Free Shipping Code

Use the code SYMBOL14 for free shipping at the Boeing Store.  The code expires today.  It's great for small value orders, like 59c luggage tags, $6 party kits, or t-shirts.  The Boeing Store has sales every few weeks.  If you are looking to buy an expensive model, wait for their 20% promotions. It would also be great if the Airbus Shop has free shipping because they ship from Germany.
1:1 Size 737 Model

Saturday, May 24, 2014

US Airways Store Sale

Get an additional 20% off your entire order plus free shipping on all orders over $75.* Here's how:    
  • Shop for gifts online May 23 - 26, 2014
  • Enter discount code SUMMER after you add the first item to your cart
  • Your 20% discount will be taken off your order
Grab Your US Airways Gear While It Lasts

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Personalized Video Message for You

Etihad sent me an email with a personalized video message.  I clicked through to watch and the landing page was broken.  I'll never know what was on offer, maybe they'll call with a personalized phone message.
Not an Ideal Marketing Campaign

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New British Airways Benefit

British Airways will offer members $75 off flights in exchange for 7,500 miles.  I don't like this offer for three reasons.  First, I expected the discount to be in British Pounds rather than US Dollars.  Second, a penny per point is a lousy point value, cash back cards offer twice that value in cash.  Third, 7,500 miles is a free one way flight up to 1150 miles long. British Airways miles are a great value for short point to point trips. 
I'l Keep Saving For A Trip On The 787

Monday, May 19, 2014

Star Alliance Cut Round The World Ticket Prices

The Star Alliance Round the World booking tool is one of the best day dream distractions on the internet.  I haven't booked a ticket yet, but now I am tempted because Star Alliance just lowered the fare prices and added a new short business class route. The ticket requires circling the globe and making 3 to 15 stops.  There are some tricks to maximizing value, like starting your trip at a major US gateway (positioning flights in the US are cheap) and you just have to start and end in the same country to save distance (start in LA and end in New York).  Also the Cook Islands are hardly out of the way when going from LA to New Zealand.
SWISS AVRO100 in Star Alliance Colors
I did book the Star Alliance Europe Airpass a few years ago and bounced around the continent for two weeks,  It is priced per segment, so I avoided connections and kept the costs very low.  It's a flat rate based on segment length, an outstanding value verses buying the flights at market rates.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Looking For A Cheap United Fare

United's new status requirements include a spend and mileage (or segments) requirement.  The spend requirement is 10c per mile, too expensive to buy status outright, so I thought cheap fare flying would be over for me.  Work trips have been my only flights so far this year and they are averaging 16c a mile, so I want to balance out the ratio with a few cheap flights.  Unfortunately flights aren't that cheap out of Denver right now, so I'm grounded for the moment.  I'll keep searching and it will keep the miles and points game fun too. 
I'm Willing to Fly Regional Jets or Props if the Fare Is Low

Friday, May 16, 2014

EBACE 2014

The European Business Aviation Convention & Exposition (EBACE) is next week, but I am unable to attend.  I thoroughly enjoyed the conference last year and have few photos from it that I haven't used yet.  Enjoy a fun Friday picture of a Gulfstream IV used by PPG; the jet wasn't part of the conference, just one of the many private aircraft at GVA.
PPG's Gulfstream IV N827GA at GVA

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Antonov 124 at IAH

I spotted an Antonov 124 (I think) in Houston.  A rare sighting for me, so I thought I should share.
Antonov 124

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Budapest Airshow & WIZZ AIR Flyover

The Budapest airshow goes right down the Danube in the center of town and WIZZ AIR's A320 did a cool low lever fly by.  Enjoy some pictures and video from WIZZ AIR.
Photo from WIZZ AIR
Photo from WIZZ AIR
Photo from WIZZ AIR
Photo from WIZZ AIR
Photo from WIZZ AIR
And a video:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spirit Airlines Educates Potential Customers

Spirit Airlines just launched an outstanding marketing campaign focused on educating potential customers about how flying Spirit is different than other carriers.  The campaign called Spirit101 is a response to their industry leading (though still rather small) complaint count.  Spirit explains the unbundled fare idea to better set expectations for first time Spirit customers.  Only a cramped seat and a small personal item are included in the ticket price, so customers need to expect fees for optional extras.  Setting this expectation well in advance will change customers' mindsets and should reduce complaints while providing an experience that meets expectations.  Enjoy the video below and learn something about Spirit Airlines too.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Best and Worst Airlines for Spending Frequent Flier Points Observations

Southwest and Air Berlin have the best award seat availability and US Airways and Avianca the worst according to a study published in the Wall Street Journal.  This study is meaningless for point and mile collectors because the survey methodology is flawed.  The study “looked for two seats on each airline's 10 busiest long routes and 10 busiest short routes on 14 different round-trip dates between June and October.”  For example, Southwest’s busiest short route is Dallas to Houston, but they run 46 flights a day between the two cities, so an open seat is likely to be found, though not always at a preferred time.  The study assumes simple point to point awards, so connections are disregarded even though they are more difficult to book and more useful to passengers because it increases redemption options.  The study also does not factor in awards with partners, a valuable and often used feature of frequent flyer programs.
US Airways Does Better Than It Looks
The study also doesn’t factor in point value.  Southwest does great in this study because it will sell you any available seat for points.  The value received could be atrocious though because Southwest charges a fixed multiple of the cash fare.  Most other carriers charge a flat rate for domestic flights, regardless of distance, connections, or cash fare prices.  The flat rate model could be of great value to customers because it can multiply the value of their miles.  Airlines also have to limit flat rate award seat availability to maximize revenue, lowering their ranking in this study even if it increases value received by customers.
Partner Awards Add Flexibility And Value
The final flaw is assuming two coach seats on the same flight in the peak summer travel season.  Miles are most valuable (cash price of award / miles price of award) for international premium cabin awards.  This study also overlooks the intangible benefits of miles, like bringing the unattainable into reach.  Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal experience would only be available to most people with Star Alliance airline frequent flyer miles, so there is no value equation if the numerator is priceless.
Go Anywhere With Miles

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Marriott Plus Points Social Rewards

Spam your friends for 2,000 Marriott or 500 United points each month.  Sign up for Marriott's new Plus Points program and earn points for posting about Marriott. Participants can earn up to 2,000 Marriott points per month.  Marriott points can be transferred 4:1 to United miles with the Rewards Plus program discount, the ratio improves the more points are transferred.  Marriott rewards points have a poor value, so I will be transferring my points to United, but waiting for the price breaks.
Earning Methods

Monday, May 5, 2014

100% Bonus US Airways Purchased Miles - Again

US Airways is offering 100% bonus on purchased miles this month.  They run this promotion every other month because it does really well.  They collect money up front in exchange for something later.  I trust their redemption costs are less than the miles price they quote, plus they benefit from the float on the cash.  People can buy a business class ticket to Europe or Asia (100,000 miles) for $1,750 plus taxes and fees.  That's a good price compared to advertised prices for US Airways and their oneworld partners.  I recommend against putting down money without a plan to use the miles quickly because US Airways runs this promotion all the time and award price changes can happen at any time without notice and reduce the value of the miles.
US Airways' Airbus Collection at CLT

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Southwest AirTran Miles Program Merger Update

Rapid Rewards will be the single frequent flyer program for the merged AirTran and Southwest (the 737 will be the single aircraft and Southwest will be the single brand too).  The AirTran A+ program's final day will be November 1, 2014.  To ease the IT transition, AirTran is sending emails offering 750 Rapid Rewards points (about $10.71 in flight value) to confirm their guess at what your AirTran and Southwest numbers are.  Keep you eyes peeled for the email and free points.
Southwest And AirTran Moving Closer

Friday, May 2, 2014

Window Seats - From 9 to 4

Good luck grabbing a window seat for your flight. The Boeing 787 has only four windows for the flight deck, the older MD-80 has nine. Just an interesting comparison for Friday.
4 Flight Deck Windows on the 787
9 Flight Deck Windows on the MD-80