There are plenty of benefits to the United MileagePlus Club Card (the name obviously not being one of them). For most folks the most significant benefit is the free United Club membership. And the folks at Chase have been staffing the clubs around the system giving away codes for a first year free offer on the card. Since I’m sitting in the lounge right now I grabbed a stack of the offer codes and I’m doing what I can to help make everyone’s travel better.

So here’s the deal: The offer expires on May 31, 2012. You must complete the application by then. If you cannot do that then don’t claim a code. Other than that, go to and fill in the code to get a year free. Oh, and if you use a code from the list note it in the comments so other folks know, too.

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Finally, as long as you’re here, give a listen to Episode 1 or Episode 2 of the podcast (or both!) and let us know what you think.

That’s all there is to it. And, should anyone be concerned, this isn’t a referral link or anything of the sort. We get nothing from this other than knowing some other folks get the luxury of a free year of lounge access. Enjoy!

Avios, the latest incarnation of points from British Airways and Iberia, certainly have received their fair share of negative reviews since the product launched. For customers who have connections or who have historically enjoyed long-haul, premium cabin awards the pricing can be a bit steep. Oh, and fuel surcharges, too, on most itineraries.

Still, if you’ve got American Express Membership Rewards points and you’re looking to convert to Avios, doing it when there is a transfer bonus in place is the smart move. The current promotion – 50% extra – runs for two more days, so it is time to get on that if you’re going to do it.


Perhaps the best thing about this bonus is that the bonus Avios post when the transaction goes through, not several weeks later. And the transfer from AmEx to Avios is near real-time. If the points are useful to you then this is definitely a good time to make the transfer.

Oh, and if you’re curious just how many Avios an itinerary will cost, something that their site does a horrible job of displaying when there are connections involved, check out the Avios Redemption Calculator. It will show prices across various single connection itineraries for most valid city pairs.

Through May 31, 2012, American Airlines is offering a 30% bonus on miles purchased in their AAdvantage program. In order to receive the bonus one must purchase at least 20,000 points in a single transaction (netting 26K with the bonus). With the bonus applied the price comes in around 2.12 cents/mile. Definitely not the best deal out there, but also not horrible.

Click here to see more.

Additional fine print:

Terms and Conditions: Transactions are nonrefundable and nonreversible. Please allow 72 hours for purchased AAdvantage® miles to post to the designated AAdvantage account. AAdvantage bonus miles will be posted 6-8 weeks following the transaction date. AAdvantage members must purchase 20,000 AAdvantage miles or more in a single transaction from the buyAAmiles® program or giftAAmilesSM program beginning 12:00 am CDT April 2, 2012, to 11:59 pm CDT May 31, 2012, to be eligible for the 30% AAdvantage bonus mile offer. The AAdvantage bonus miles will be posted to the purchasers’ AAdvantage account. buyAAmiles and giftAAmiles transactions are limited to a combined maximum of 40,000 AAdvantage miles per account, per calendar year. AAdvantage bonus miles earned do not count toward the 40,000 buyAAmiles and giftAAmiles annual limit. AAdvantage miles purchased or earned through this promotion do not count toward elite-status qualification or Million MilerSM status.

Ever wonder just what “lifetime” means in the case of an airline program? Someone has taken to federal court to find out. A disgruntled customer has filed suit against United Airlines, claiming that the changes to the lifetime Million Miler program represent a breach of contract and that “United … intends to continue its denial of the Class’s bargained-for benefits.”

I suppose it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The filing, in the Eastern Division of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, is seeking class action status on behalf “thousands of others” who are also affected by the changes in the program.

The actual filing can be read here. Here are a few choice excerpts:

14. The second to top tier in the Mileage Plus Program was the Million Miler
status (sometimes referred to as the “Million Miler Program”).  To obtain this status, a
United customer needed to actually fly one million or more miles on United flights only. 
In other words, unlike programs today, one could not reach the Million Miler status
through any non-flying means, such as an airline credit card, or by flying on any other
“partner” or “code share” airline.
15. The Million Miler Program was not simply a gimmick or give-away product
under which United could change the rules any time it wanted.  It was a bargained-for
program whereby consideration was given – and taken – by both United and the Million
Miler members.

17. The lifetime benefits Million Miler members paid consideration for included:
a. A one-time award of three system-wide upgrades;
b. Two free regional upgrades every year;
c. A 100% bonus on the miles the customer flies every year; and
d. Lifetime Premier Executive status  in United’s Mileage Plus program,
providing extra benefits and priorities such as booking availability,
pre-boarding advantages, upgrade possibilities, and seating priority.

The claims are interesting, to be sure. But they seem to be lacking in a certain amount of fact that is usually required to win a judgment. It seems a lot more like the suit filed claiming that it was illegal to only accept credit cards on board, a claim that was summarily dismissed, than a proper claim to me. Then again, I’m not a judge in the US District Court in Illinois, so clearly my opinion doesn’t really matter.

The British bank is trashing its rewards program, leaving customers just a couple months to redeem the points they have in their accounts. The good news is that apparently not too many people used the program and those who did likely didn’t have many points as earning them was pretty difficult.

Barclaycard scraps loyalty points scheme – Telegraph.

It is thought that the Freedom scheme did not attract sufficient interest from customers, despite substantial investment from Barclaycard, which ran a huge campaign last year to try to increase membership. At launch, the bank said that Freedom was available to “over eight million cardholders”, but in fact only just over a million customers used it.

Unlike popular cashback cards, which offer customers a percentage of their overall spend on the card as cash, the Freedom programme is more restrictive.


Just another reason to remember that diversity in your programs is a smart move. Putting everything in one basket can result in losing everything with little warning.

Hyatt and United have a new summer promotion out which is offering up to 24,500 points in the MileagePlus program when members stay at Hyatt hotels and choose to earn miles for those stays.


The deal isn’t so bad if you’re not in to collecting Hyatt points, but if you’re staying at a Hyatt 11 times between now and August 31st you really should be collecting the Hyatt points. They’ve got a pretty good program and the reward options are solid. Almost certainly better than the 24,500 points earnt, of which 5,500 would have been accrued anyways.

Registration is required (click the image above) if you want to participate in the promotion.

UPDATE: See bottom!

It is not at all uncommon for new routes to have fare sales associated with them to build hype and attract new customers. So it is not much of a surprise that United Airlines is doing exactly that with their new Denver-Tokyo route.  What is somewhat surprising, however, is just how available the deal is.

Rather than booking the sale in one of their lower fare buckets, limiting the number of seats available, the current deal of $980 all-in ($298 r/t base fare) is actually booking in to the B fare class. That’s the second highest fare bucket in the coach cabin and it comes with no co-pays for miles-based upgrades (30K points each way) and it also earns 150% PQMs towards elite status. Oh, and it is basically wide open for availability any day you want to fly.

There was some concern yesterday that the fare was going to be updated and pulled from the system. It was updated, but the update actually wasn’t too huge a deal.


So, no, you can not book to join the inaugural flight on this deal any more, but any other trip in the first three weeks should be just fine. The fare has a 3 day minimum stay as well, so there’s an opportunity to explore Tokyo, too. The fare must be purchased by 24 May 2012, so another 36 hours or so before it vanishes. It certainly isn’t the best mileage run ever, but it is a pretty good deal and there is some 787 novelty value, too. Plus, it makes for a huge chunk of points in one trip.


UPDATE: The fare has been “fixed” now so it is an S fare, not a B fare. That cuts the earning value a bit but it is still a pretty darn good fare for a trip to Tokyo in April. Cherry blossoms anyone??


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Strange days indeed down in Oz as Qantas announces a split of their domestic and international operations into separate companies.

Qantas splits to focus on growth in shock restructure | The Australian.

JETSTAR will put new joint ventures on hold and Qantas will intensify its push to return international flights to profitability as part of a surprise restructure that will see mainline operations split in two.

The change, which sees Qantas international and domestic operations set up as separate business units and the departure of Jetstar group chief executive Bruce Buchanan, is designed to make the airline’s international arm more accountable.