Is it a birthday or an anniversary? I’m not so sure what the proper term is but either way the PointsHoarder podcast is celebrating one year of random banter and the occasionally useful discussion of points, miles and travel information. As part of the celebration we’re giving a present – a Northface recon backpack courtesy of the Producer, great for short trips or as a carry-on for longer trips – away to one of our listeners; read down to the bottom for details on the giveaway. It isn’t just a party on the recording this week, however. We also have a full complement (and then some) of news, rules changes and other fun to discuss.
On the downgrade side of the ledger, United Airlines has apparently altered the rules for award trips between the USA and South Asia when traveling via the Atlantic Ocean. Passengers are now limited to 4 segments on a one-way award or 5 segments each way on a round-trip award. That’s definitely a downgrade from the old rules, though it isn’t entirely clear just how many people were abusing the very loose routing rules and how this will affect the overall program. Still, unpublished downgrades are always disappointing and this seems to be one for UA.
On the upgrade side of things, there are several more stories to discuss. Delta is now just days away from having their extension to T4 at JFK opening up. Our whole crew met up at their pop-up model of the site in Lower Manhattan the other day to have lunch and get a feel for what the new lounges will feel like. Also, they’re giving away free passport holders, insulated cups and other cool toys and they have $4 lunch boxes available; I ate three of them so I could properly rate them for our listeners. The turkey & avocado sandwich is, not surprisingly, the best.
Also, American Airlines is giving away day-passes for the Admirals Club if you’ve got Klout. I have no use for this personally and they’re not the first to try this promo (Cathay did at SFO a while back) but it is a nice marketing effort.
Fozz has a bit of a trip report comparing AA’s 77W service with seat & meals on Air Canada and also with the in-flight wifi on United’s A320s. Sadly for him, none of them came away a pure winner, though AA mostly seems to be leading. Fozz also got to use the TSA PreCheck on his international itinerary, a new feature which only came into action in the past 10 days or so. Big win for travelers.
United announced more details on their plans to retrofit the seats on their Airbus planes and the news is mixed. On the plus side, they didn’t pick the crappiest option available for the Recaro Slimline model being installed. On the down side, no more channel 9 as there will no longer be any in-seat IFE on the planes.
And the 787s are back in the air. Ethiopian is flying already, United is putting them on the schedule for Monday and others are also updating their schedules.
Finally, as promised, details about how to win the Northface Recon backpack. There are two ways to enter the contest and each person is limited to two entries, one from each method. First up, leave a comment here and tell us what your favorite moment of our first year was. I’m guessing for many of you it will be when we decided to give you something for free, but maybe you’ve got something else in mind. It doesn’t actually matter what you write but it’d be nice to have something more than a generic “me, too” comment so try to be a bit creative. The second way to enter is to follow @PointsHoarder on twitter and include the phrase “Happy anniversary @Pointshoarder” in a tweet. You can add some other text, too, up to the 140 character limit, but that phrase has to be included. The contest is open from 1pm ET on 16 May 2013 until 11:59pm ET on 23 May 2013. At some point after that we’ll pick one winner randomly from all eligible entries and notify the winner. There may be some additional prizes too, depending on what I can find to give away in my box o’ airline toys. Good luck.