IMPORTANT: This post is simply a collection of notes from a recent flurry of activity using miles programs. It may NOT represent the general experience for frequent flyer programs at United, American, or Delta. If you’ve had different experiences please feel free to comment below, and if you are an industry representative also feel free to guest post or comment.
Frequent Flyer programs: You’ve got to love them for allowing you free or very cheap flying options, but the logistics are often intimidating even for experienced travelers. Until this past week *thought* I was pretty familiar with the basics of the frequent flyer game but … no. Due to a sudden illness in the family I’ve been arranging last minute trips back and forth from Oregon to Minnesota using the frequent flyer miles my wife and I had on three airlines: United, Delta, and American Airlines. I also just booked four paid tickets to Virginia on Delta’s very compromised online booking system which I learned (the HARD way) is not yet compatible with Google’s Chrome browser.
More on that later but the tip of the day is “for Delta Airlines bookings, don’t use Google Chrome yet!”
Frequent Flyer tips from this experience learned:
United Airlines Frequent Flyer System was great
1. Kudos to United Airlines who came through with an excellent online booking system and excellent ticket availability without gauging me in miles. If you are in a rural area like me, you may find your miles won’t work from your regional airport. Here at MFR Medford in Oregon both Delta and United allow me to travel to and from here, but for American Airlines I need to drive to tt cities served by American which in our case are Sacramento, California and Portland, Oregon – both about 4 1/2 hours from home. For me during this experience, United was the big winner by providing one way trips to Minnesota at the last minute for only 12,500 miles with only a $5 processing charge.
Delta’s Frequent Flyer System was expensive and somewhat confusing. Delta Assist Twitter help was great.
The quirky tip I learned from Delta’s excellent online twitter help was that sometimes (always?) the cost in miles of a ONE WAY is the SAME as a Round Trip! I was getting charged 40,000 miles for a last minute one way home for my wife, but thanks to the @DeltaAssist I learned I could book a return for no extra miles.
Watch for Credit Card Miles offers that can be worth thousands of dollars in free tickets:
Watch out for sneaky tricks that aren’t worth the money for the miles:
Here’s a sneaky trick from Delta disguised as an “offer” (!)
Transfer Miles: Limited-time Offer
Bring your friends and family with you on your next vacation. Transfer miles to that special someone between May 1 and June 30, 2011 and we’ll give them a 50% mileage bonus.1
To be continued….