Archive for the ‘united airlines’ Category

Venture Card Frequent Flyer Miles – unrestricted but “expensive” to use

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Unless you lost your television you’ve seen the ads for the new Capitol One Venture Card.    They feature Alex Baldwin talking about the benefits of using the Venture miles anytime and on any airline.   If you were among the lucky folks who participated in their initial “billion mile” promotion, you had up to 100,000 existing miles matched by Capitol One, a value of about $1000 for reasons you’ll see if you read on.

Whereas most frequent flyer programs such as United’s Mileage Plus or Delta’s Skymiles have a separate reservation system for you to use to book your frequent flyer tickets, Venture offers that option OR the option of simply purchasing a ticket with real dollars and any system using your Venture Card.    Afterwards you can apply for a rebate of the cost of the ticket using your Venture miles which are valued at a penny each.     For example if my ticket cost $400  I would buy it with dollars and then ask them to credit back my $400 and deduct  40,000 miles from my account.     Neat, right?    Yes, but note how expensive the ticket can be compared to the “old” standards of needing only about 25,000 frequent flyer miles for a round trip.     Complicating matters is the fact that mileage programs – especially Delta Skymiles and American Airlines in my experience – seem to be getting stingier in terms of offering good options for frequent flyers.    Unless you have a lot of flexibility you’ll probably find it hard to get cheap seats using regular miles.     To this extent they are lining up with the Venture style miles – options are good as long as you are willing to use a LOT of miles.

Important DELTA Skymiles Tip:   Sometimes the ONE WAY will cost as many miles as a ROUND TRIP, so in some cases you should simply add a “return” leg to your trip to get a second one way ticket.     Even if you wind up paying a change fee of up to $150 later to change the dates, this is probably worth it.        Delta now seems to offer both the least and most expensive frequent flyers deals with one ways as low as 8500 miles but short term round trips often at 60,000.

The golden rule as always with frequent flyer programs as well as life in general, if you are not rich, then:

BE FLEXIBLE.

United’s iPOD chargers from Panasonic Avionics

Monday, June 16th, 2008

United Airlines is starting to install chargers for iPHONES and iPODS in planes. This appears to be a mild transition to the real power supplies that many laptop users would really benefit from on planes, but it is a good step in the right direction, especially because other airlines are experimenting with onboard WIFI – clearly the holy grail of in-flight services. As much as I enjoyed watching six movies on my recent flight to Hong Kong from San Francisco, I think I would rather have been computing.

In fact a clever approach to in-flight WIFI would bring targeted advertising to travelers for the locations they were approaching. For example if, as I flew to Hong Kong, I had been presented with attractions and restaurant ads this would have had a huge influence on me. This type of targeting would probably more effective on long international flights than short “family travel” experiences, but as an advertising environment it is hard to imagine a richer “win – win” situation than travelers getting relevant information about things to do and see at a location hours before their arrival.

No United Continental Merger

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

CNN is reporting that there will not be a Continental United merger after all. Continental’s CEO told employees today that the airline was better off alone than merged. A United Continental merger would have created the world’s largest airline.