Friday, September 30, 2011

Premiere Travel Value Added Services

Airlines continue to "tweak" their frequent flyer programs, deleteing benefits, merging programs, increasing requirements, adding blackouts, increasing fees and co-pays, sprinkling many "ifs and buts" and moving targets for upgrades.

It takes knowledge and understanding of what is offered. Many of our clients have expressed interest in having Premiere Travel navigate these complexities on their behalf.

We are conducting a fee based pilot program for a limited time to assist our clients in claiming mileage awards, upgrades and maximizing the usage of their idle miles.
For details, please contact us at

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Dream is Finally a Reality- Boeing Delivers First Dreamliner

After numerous delays and cost overruns, a ceremony on Monday will end up in the delivery of the first Drealiner 787 jet to All Nippon Airways.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The New United/Continental MileagePlus Program

United Continental Holdings Introduces 2012 MileagePlus Loyalty Program

United Continental today announced the details of its MileagePlus loyalty program for 2012, including new benefits and services for United's and Continental's most-frequent flyers, more options for members to redeem their miles and additional recognition for customers who purchase tickets in premium cabins or at premium economy fare classes.

"With MileagePlus, we are building the world's most-rewarding loyalty program and reaching another important milestone in the merger of United and Continental," said Jeff Foland, United executive vice president and president of Mileage Plus Holdings, LLC. "We will provide a wide range of benefits to our most-loyal and most-valuable members, while offering new redemption opportunities for all of our members."

MileagePlus Premier Levels and Benefits

In 2012, MileagePlus will offer four levels of Premier member status:

•Premier Silver: 25,000 Premier qualifying miles (PQM) or 30 Premier qualifying segments (PQS)
•Premier Gold: 50,000 PQM or 60 PQS
•Premier Platinum: 75,000 PQM or 90 PQS
•Premier 1K: 100,000 PQM or 120 PQS

United will continue to offer Global Services recognition to select members by invitation.

Premier benefits include:

•Upgrades: United will offer an expansive suite of upgrade products, including Global Premier Upgrades, Regional Premier Upgrades and Complimentary Premier Upgrades. United is expanding Complimentary Premier Upgrades to include eligible intra-Asia flights in addition to most flights within North America. Premier members traveling on certain full-fare economy-class tickets will also be eligible for an instant upgrade when available at the time of ticketing.
•Premier Access, checked-baggage allowance and Economy Plus® seating: Premier members will have access to Premier Access airport services, a complimentary standard checked-baggage allowance and extra-legroom Economy Plus seating, among other benefits. Premier Silver members and Star Alliance Silver members will be able to check one bag weighing up to 50 pounds with no fee, and Premier Silver customers will be able to confirm Economy Plus seating at time of check-in. Premier members at all other status levels will be able to check three bags weighing up to 70 pounds with no fee, and will be able to confirm Economy Plus seating, when available, at the time of ticketing.
•Premier bonus award miles: United will offer Premier members bonus miles of up to 100 percent on paid tickets.
•Flexible award redemption: Premier-level frequent flyers may continue to book United Standard Awards, even when redeeming miles for the last available seat on the flight, a benefit United is reserving for Premiers and customers who have the United MileagePlus Explorer Card or an eligible Chase-issued OnePass credit card.
•Additional credit card benefits: Beginning in 2012, Premier members who have the United MileagePlus Explorer Card or an eligible Chase-issued OnePass credit card will also qualify for Complimentary Premier Upgrades on eligible economy-class reward tickets.

Additional Benefits for Premium Cabin and Premium Economy-Fare Customers

United is introducing greater rewards to customers who purchase tickets in premium cabins or at premium economy fare classes. Travelers will earn up to 250 percent of the actual miles flown as award miles when they book first-class tickets, up to 175 percent for business-class tickets and 125 percent for full-fare economy-class tickets.

New Lifetime Benefits Program

United is launching a new Million Miler program with benefits drawn from the existing MileagePlus and OnePass programs, including the very popular spousal benefit. Starting in 2012, United will determine each member's lifetime earnings based on the member's elite qualification miles earned in MileagePlus and OnePass since joining the programs, and will pool miles for members with accounts in both programs. After this one-time adjustment, United will determine future lifetime earnings based on actual flight miles.

Customers who earn one million miles after the one-time adjustment will earn lifetime Premier Gold status for themselves and a spouse or significant other. Customers who earn two million miles will attain Premier Platinum status, those who earn three million miles will attain Premier 1K status, and customers who earn four million miles will attain Global Services status.

New MileagePlus Auctions Site

United will launch MileagePlus Auctions in January, enabling customers to use miles to bid on sports tickets, cultural events and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. United will provide more details later this year.

MileagePlus Auto-Enrollment in the First Quarter of 2012

In June, United announced the OnePass program will end on Dec. 31, 2011. In the first quarter of 2012, United will automatically enroll OnePass members in MileagePlus and deposit into those MileagePlus accounts award miles equal to their OnePass award miles balance.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ready Or Not, Here They Come: $400+ Baggage Fees

Some airlines have started charging extra fees on second or third bags checked in for international flights. A 70-pound extra bag in coach will likely set the passenger back by about $400 or more depending on weight.

Airlines claim this will basically cover their costs. In other words, those airlines have been taking losses all these years covering the costs of extra luggage on these long haul international flights and they are just about ready to close that gap.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Law of Unintended Consequences-Flight Cancellations

When the U.S. Department of Transportation implemented new rules for tarmac delays, airlines reacted by increasing the likelihood and probability of cancelling flights than risking huge penalties for delays over 3 hours.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) put the probabilities of flight cancellations at 24% higher due to the new rules in effect that were intended to protect travelers from long delays.

Given the state of airspace restrictions, congestion, flight controls, bad weather and other factors, it has become increasingly likely that flights may sit in delay modes then cancelled altogether.

With too few seats available, the margin for error is too small to accommodate passengers on other flights as airlines continue to pare down available seats.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2012: A Shrinking Capacity

Many airlines have announced that they intend to make yet additional cuts in capacity in 2012 on top of the reductions already made in 2011.

Delta Airlines which has cut overall capacity by about 2% in 2011 intends to lob an additional 2-3% in 2012. Most of the reductions will be on domestic routes and will eliminate flights to/from smaller unprofitable routes that airlines used to receive subsidies for.

Travel in the Middle East and Asia are expected to grow modestly as wealthier airlines will continue to upgrade their fleets and services to meet growing demand in the Asia Pacific and emerging market regions.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Confusion Air: Multiple Airlines Codesharing One Flight

When the concept of "codesharing" came about in 1989, the idea was simple: two airlines would partner together to sell seats on a flight, whereby the "partners" are responsible for their passengers.

Nothing is simple anymore. The idea evolved into alliances and joint ventures, and a single flight operated by one airline could actually be sold by several airlines, each showing its own airline code and flight number.

Thousands of passengers every day go to the wrong terminal or attempt to check in at "their" airline, only to find out that the operating carrier is a different airline altogether, with different terminal, colors, crew, boarding and baggage policies etc...

To add to the confusion, frequent flyer mileage may be higher, lower or the same depending on the arrangement of the codeshare and the type of partnership the airlines have. When problems happen in route, it becomes confusing who to go to for help.

Travelers should always ask (online web portals may not tell you) who the actual operating airline is, who's rules apply and what the restrictions are.

The "Fly America Act" comes to mind when government funded travel stipulates the use of a "U.S. flag carrier", and a traveler finds himself/herself on a foreign flag carrier.

Your travel consultant at Premiere Travel will help you navigate all these nuances and complexities that may not seem to be too obvious.