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The Freddie Awards—the Oscars of Frequent Flyer Programs—Just Happened

News April 28, 2014

The 2014 Annual Freddie Awards took place last Thursday. The Freddies, if you didn’t know, are kind of like the Oscars but for frequent traveler programs. (In other words, they’re almost nothing like the Oscars.) Established in 1988, the Freddies were named after famed British airline innovator Sir Freddie Laker. The festivities went down at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

There are separate awards for each of three regions: the Americas, Europe and Africa, and the Middle East and Asia/Oceania. In each region, there are various awards for the best airline and hotel rewards programs.

In the Americas region, American Airlines’ AAdvantage Program took home the big “Program of the Year” award for airlines for the third year in a row. Marriott took home the “Program of the Year” award for hotels for the seventh year in a row. Air France/KLM and Virgin Australia cleaned up in the other regions. USA Today has a little detail on how the voting happens if you’re curious.

Here are the full results…

 

The Americas

Airline

Best Customer Service — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
Best Promotion — Avianca – LifeMiles
Best Elite Program — American Airlines – AAdvantage
Best Redemption Ability — Avianca – LifeMiles
Program of the Year — American Airlines – AAdvantage

Hotel

Best Customer Service — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
Best Promotion — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
Best Elite Program — Hyatt – Gold Passport
Best Redemption Ability — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
Program of the Year — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards

Best Affinity Credit Card — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards Premier Card

Europe and Africa

Airline

Best Customer Service — SAS – EuroBonus
Best Promotion — AIR FRANCE/KLM – Flying Blue
Best Elite Program — Lufthansa – Miles & More
Best Redemption Ability — AIR FRANCE/KLM – Flying Blue
Program of the Year — AIR FRANCE/KLM – Flying Blue

Hotel

Best Customer Service — IHG – IHG Rewards Club
Best Promotion — IHG – IHG Rewards Club
Best Elite Program — Starwood – Starwood Preferred Guest
Best Redemption Ability — IHG – IHG Rewards Club
Program of the Year — IHG – IHG Rewards Club

Best Affinity Credit Card — Flying Blue American Express

The Middle East and Asia/Oceania

Airline

Best Customer Service — Virgin Australia – Velocity
Best Promotion — Virgin Australia – Velocity
Best Elite Program— Virgin Australia – Velocity
Best Redemption Ability — Virgin Australia – Velocity
Program of the Year — Virgin Australia – Velocity

Hotel

Best Customer Service — Starwood – Starwood Preferred Guest
Best Promotion — IHG – IHG Rewards Club
Best Elite Program — Hyatt – Gold Passport
Best Redemption Ability — Starwood – Starwood Preferred Guest
Program of the Year — Hyatt – Gold Passport

Best Affinity Credit Card — ADIB Etihad Guest Card

You Can Get Double Miles on 26 Frontier Routes This Summer

Deals and Offers April 25, 2014

Frontier Airlines

Just a PSA for any Frontier flyers out there. Frontier is offering double frequent flyer miles on 26 routes. The offer is available for a month on each route. Here are the routes and dates:

Between Cleveland and Ft. Myers, Atlanta, Orlando, or Phoenix between June 13 and July 13

Between Cleveland and Raleigh/Durham, Seattle, or Tampa between June 15 and July 15

Between Cleveland and Ft. Lauderdale or Ft. Myers between June 14 and July 14

Between Denver and Bakersfield between May 16 and June 16

Between Denver and Idaho Falls between June 12 and July 12

Between Denver and Memphis between March 7 and May 7

Between Denver and Missoula between June 13 and July 13

Between Denver and Sioux City between June 12 and July 12

Between St. Louis and Portland between June 15 and July 15

Between St. Louis and San Francisco between June 13 and July 13

Between Trenton/Princeton and Milwaukee between June 14 and July 14

Between Trenton/Princeton and Minneapolis between June 13 and July 13

Between Trenton/Princeton and St. Louis between June 15 and July 15

Between Trenton/Princeton and Indianapolis between April 29 and May 29

Between Trenton/Princeton and Nashville between April 30 and May 30

Between Trenton/Princeton and St. Augustine between May 2 and June 2

Between Wilmington/Philadelphia and Atlanta between April 29 and May 29

Between Wilmington/Philadelphia and Detroit between April 29 and May 29

Between Chicago-Midway and Harrisburg, PA, between June 13 and July 13

Between Chicago-Midway and Knoxville, TN, between June 15 and July 15

You’re welcome!

Hat tip FrequentFlyer.com. Image from Flickr (CC).

Survey Ranks the Rudest Flight Attendants

Uncategorized April 24, 2014

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By and large, flight attendants do a pretty good job staying polite and civil given that they have to deal with thousands of travelers each day (some of whom—let’s be honest—are pretty difficult). But still, some attendants are more pleasant than others. A recent survey polled 3,400 frequent flyers and asked them which of 14 airlines had the rudest attendants. The results are…

Spirit — 26 %

Air Canada — 14 %

Frontier — 11 %

Virgin America — 9 %

Allegiant — 8 %

United — 7 %

US Airways — 7 %

American — 5 %

AirTran — 3 %

Delta — 3 %

Hawaiian — 3%

JetBlue — 3%

Alaska — 1%

Southwest — 1%

The survey comes from a group called Airfarewatchdog, which doesn’t really look like a professional polling company and who knows about their methodology, but it’s interesting nonetheless. I’m surprised to see JetBlue so high on the list.

Hat tip to the FlyerTalk forums. Image of old-school United Airlines “stewardess” from Flickr (CC).

What Happens to Your Miles When You Die?

Uncategorized April 23, 2014

betty

The CBS affiliate in Philadelphia recently looked into what happens when a loved one (with tons of unused frequent flyer miles) passes away.

So the short answer is: You can probably wrestle the miles back if the account belonged to a family member, but it could be a bureaucratic hassle and it might involve a fee (in the video, a recent widow was charged $150). The easiest thing to do—and this suggestion came from Brian Kelly, the Points Guy—is just share your login info with the people you’re close to and trust so it’s never a problem to just log in as someone else as use their points.

Why Are Airlines Tightening Up Their Frequent Flyer Programs?

Blog April 23, 2014

plane

Last November, Delta Airlines announced it would follow Virgin America, British Airways and Southwest Air by awarding miles based on the price of a ticket rather than the number of miles traveled. According to the new rules, a $400 ticket for a 2,000-mile ticket would earn you 400 frequent flyer miles instead of 2,000. Ouch.

Then, this year, American Airlines and United Airlines both made sweeping changes to their frequent flyer programs that make it harder to earn free flights.

So what’s behind this new stinginess? The Christian Science Monitor asked Gary Leff over at View from the Wing for his analysis:

[Leff] notes that as the economy has improved over the past couple of years, more people are traveling and flights are fuller, which means airlines and hotels don’t need to work as hard to fill unreserved spaces. On average, 84 percent of airline seats are filled with paying customers (up from 82 percent in 2009). The average price of a plane ticket has risen 12 percent over the past five years, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from the Airlines Reporting Corp. For the hotel industry, room occupancy increased 2.4 percent year over year from January 2013 to January 2014 and the average daily rate for a room rose 3 percent, according to HotelNewsNow.

As prices rise, it should be no surprise that the number of points needed would rise along with them.

“Members have accumulated large quantities of miles that can be redeemed only at prices and on terms set by the airline, and increasing the [points] reduces the costs associated with redeeming miles. It improves [the airline’s] bottom line, Mr. Leff says. “More miles are chasing fewer seats, and adjusting the award charts is one way for airlines to balance that.”

So what should you do? Leff recommends using your miles now in case the policies change again and avoiding frequent flyer credit cards. Then again, the market for seats is critically dependent on other factors like the cost of energy, the time of year, technological advances, and even international events, so there’s a certain inherent unpredictability no matter what.

Image from Flickr (CC)

You Can Now Earn Miles by Searching the Internet With Bing

Blog, Uncategorized April 23, 2014

Bing Rewards Frequent Flyer Miles

Do you need some extra miles fast? Do you spend a lot of time on the internet? Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, is now giving away miles and points in exchange for searching the internet.

Bing’s rewards program isn’t new. Users are already able to earn Bing “credits” by searching the internet and trying out new Bing features. Up till now, you could redeem those credits for gift cards for Starbucks, Amazon, and other stores. Yesterday, however, Bing added miles and points to the list of things you can get for your Bing credits.

Starting this week, members can now use their Bing Rewards credits towards points or miles for popular airline and hotel loyalty programs, including American Airlines AAdvantage®, IHG® Rewards Club, US Airways® Dividend Miles® and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club*. 

The going rate right now is 400 Bing credits for 100 miles or points (it’s slightly cheaper if you’re part of Bing Gold, whatever that is). You can get more info and, if you’re not married to Google, sign up over at the Bing Rewards site.

Seats and Tray Tables Up: The FlightNuts Blog Takes Off

Blog, Uncategorized April 23, 2014

flights

Welcome to the new FlightNuts blog.

FlightNuts is geared towards savvy frequent flyers and travelers who want to make the most of their miles and points. So this blog will cover changes to airline rewards programs, tools and tips for earning and using miles and points, and other news that’s relevant to the frequent (and smart, value-conscious) traveler. Feel free to drop us a line in the comments with any thoughts or suggestions for what we should cover.

-The FightNuts Crew

Image from Landings at San Diego Int Airport Nov 23, 2012 by Cy Kuckenbaker.

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