News And Notes For Thursday, January 3rd

Don’t forget to enter my contests for a free roundtrip ticket on American Airlines and/or 25,000 United MileagePlus miles or Hyatt Gold Passport points!  You don’t have to comment on that post specifically, just any post over the next 13 days.  Comment as much as you like, each comment earns one entry.

What’s going on in the word of travel, miles and points?

View From the Wing has an early scoop on purchasing status from American Airlines if you fell short in 2012.  American is my preferred airline, and I found Platinum status to be fairly rewarding when I was at that level a number of years ago, mostly because not every elite receives unlimited complimentary upgrades, so my upgrade percentage was quite high.  The price for Platinum is between $619 and $769 depending on how many miles you flew with AA last year.  If you plan any sort of meaningful flying on AA this year I’ve got to think it’s worth it as you’d spend much more on mileage runs.  Platinum earns a 100% bonus on miles flown, so that alone takes care of some of the cost of the buy-back.  The only downside is you’re buying the status, not the EQMs to achieve the status, so you’ll still need to fly the appropriate number of miles or segments in 2013 to maintain status.  As Gary points out, AA won’t let you take AAdvantage of this offer if you took advantage of the same offer last year.

Loyalty Lobby has info on a Marriott promo where you can earn 1,000 miles with Delta or US Airways per stay.  I’m not a big fan of Marriott, but they have a large loyal following and 1,000 miles is nothing to sneeze at.  It’s also likely that this is stackable with Marriott’s 2013 1st quarter promotion.

Speaking of Marriott, I’ve been meaning to write about their changes to lifetime status.  One Mile At a Time has the scoop here.  They removed the requirement that you be a member of the program for 12 years and lowered the total number of nights required to achieve lifetime status.  Since I’m not a big fan, I couldn’t imagine staying in Marriott properties 750 nights to earn top-tier status when their top-tier compares so poorly to SPG and Hyatt.  But, in an age where miles and points are consistently devalued over time, I would have expected a program like Marriott to move the goalposts further back.  So, kudos to them for improving this.  For those trying to achieve these levels, things just got a bit easier.

Thanks to Mommy Points for putting together a quick update on Ultimate Rewards shopping portal bonuses.  It still shocks me how high some of these bonuses can be for purchases you intend to make from everyday merchants for things like office supplies and toilet paper.  You’re not maximizing your earning if you’re not focusing some attention on shopping portals.

The Street has a really nice timeline that details the 10-year saga of US Airways pilots.  While there’s no new info here, it’s a great summary for those not completely familiar with the whole story or for those who don’t recall all the salient details after a decade of controversy.  While the likelihood of a merger keeps increasing there are also a small (but growing) number of AA pilots with some skepticism that they can all get along.


    1. Ketan, I think almost certainly the AA lifetime status levels will stay in place. 2 reasons, first it’s highly likely AAdvantage will be the surviving program and they’ve just gone through re-working lifetime status. Second, there’s likely to be a honeymoon period after a merger where they won’t make drastic changes. And, with some more time I think there are other areas of the program they’ll tackle for cost savings. Keep in mind with the recent changes to lifetime status on AA, from once the most generous lifetime status offering in terms of allowing miles from all sources to one that’s more middle of the pack, it’s likely that the number of lifetime members will shrink on their own accord over the next few years absent a merger.

    1. Kyle, the combined airline will almost certainly stay in OW. British Airways’ parent had contemplated putting money into AA in order to keep them in OW, and I think that AA in Star Alliance could lead to governments being persnickety about competition.

  1. I hope USAirways does NOT end up in ONEWorld……. With 60,000 DividendMiles I can go coach from IAH to FRU…that’s Bishkek,Kyrgyzstan…. on StarAlliance. It’s usually easy to book, even with “folksy” USAirways booking agents. There are definitely “sweet” spots in USAir awards chart! I’ve been to Bishkek 3 times in 2012 and will go back 2 more in 2013……booked already…..with USAirways miles!

    1. Michael,
      Unfortunately, I think US in OW is the eventuality. Believe me, I still think I prefer leaving things the way they are and letting US and AA remain independent.

  2. Thanks for the reference to Mommy Points. From her post I found an awesome UR point chart that I will be using in the future!

  3. If the 1,000 mile bonus with Marriott IS stackable, then why not do it? I do wish there were more airlines participating, though,

  4. I’m going to be losing my lowly gold status on American but I don’t think buying it back makes a lot of sense for me. Benefits not worth the cost.

    1. Eddy, I don’t think it’s anywhere near as worth it to buy back Gold as it is to buy back Platinum. Plats on AA actually fare pretty well for upgrades, so that benefit alone could be worth the buyback.

      Regards, Edward Pizzarello

  5. I see myself flying a lot more on AA this year than in the past. I hope they do not merge with USA. Less competition = bad for all of us.

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