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Summaries and links for all the posts which appeared on Traveling For Miles this week. This week brought the best Hilton points sale I’ve ever seen, a great points sale from Alaska, news of Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A350-1000, strong suggestions that Qatar Airways will really leave the oneworld alliance, more proof that American Airlines doesn’t value its loyalty program and a lot more.
Click on the headlines to read more
Virgin Atlantic has a solid Premium Economy product, a pretty reasonable Economy Class product (or so I’m told – I haven’t flown it in years) and a truly terrible Business Class product. I tried out the Virgin Atlantic A330 Upper Class (Business Class) seat on an overnight flight not all that long ago and it’s one of the only Business Class seats that has ever made me wish I was back in British Airways Club World. I genuinely have no idea how a modern, European airline gets away with such a bad seat….but deliverance may be on the way.
Last month Akbar Al Baker, the highly excitable CEO of Qatar Airways, announced that he was considering withdrawing his airline from the oneworld alliance because members of the alliance were acting negatively towards Qatar Airways.
Al Baker was specifically unhappy with American Airlines whom he accused of “talking against Qatar Airways” but, at the time, a lot of us thought that he was simply posturing (something he has been known to do in the past).
Well, apparently there may be more to all of this than just simply posturing.
Earlier today I wrote about the fact that Virgin Atlantic will be introducing a new Business Class seat and revamped Premium Economy and Economy Class cabins when it unveils its Airbus A350-1000 aircraft scheduled to be delivered in 2019. At the time of writing that was all the information that was generally available but now we may know a little more.
The news that I (and probably a host of other Angelenos) have been waiting for has finally broken – Qatar Airways will serve Los Angeles with a Qsuite Business Class equipped aircraft from early 2019.
American Airlines has just announced a series of changes to the AAdvantage loyalty program that will come into effect on 1 January 2019. The changes affect how many Elite Qualifying Dollars are required to earn top-tier status, how many elite qualifying miles are earned with select partner airlines and more.
London is one of the most expensive departure points in Europe so when a good Business Class fare comes along it’s worth sitting up and paying attention and when an excellent Business Class fare comes along you’d better have a good excuse not to book it 🙂
If you hold a credit or charge card issued by American Express then you also have access to one of my favorite benefits – Amex Offers. Amex Offers are a great way of boosting your Membership Rewards balance or saving cold hard cash with selected retailers and I like them as a way of offsetting any annual fees I have to pay.
There was a time when the American Airlines AAdvantage program was the clear leader in the airline loyalty sector and when the airline saw it as a genuine asset to its business. Nowadays all of that is rapidly becoming a distant memory as the current leadership team at American Airlines continues to dismantle AAdvantage and with it what little loyalty that is still felt towards the increasingly hard-to-like airline.
You only have to look back a little over a decade to see a time when most transatlantic airlines didn’t offer a Premium Economy cabin and when the likes of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic offered a product that few others did.
Believe it or not Etihad has only just turned 15 years old (it feels like it’s been around a lot longer than that) and the airline is celebrating its Birthday by launching a few Business Class and Economy Class promotional fares out of London and Manchester.
Hilton is back with a new points sale and this one is slightly more interesting than normal.
There are three pieces of good news in this promotion:
The first bit of good news is that Hilton’s latest offer is for bonuses of up to 100% as long as you buy at least 10,000 points – that’s the most generous offer we ever see from Hilton. Unfortunately it looks like this may be a targeted so if you don’t see the full 100% bonus in your account consider yourself unlucky.
United Airlines took delivery of its first 787-10 Boeing Dreamliner on Monday and in one fell swoop became the first U airline to take delivery of this Dreamliner variant and the first airline in the world to operate all three Dreamliner variants (787-8, 787-9 & 787-10).
Alaska’s Mileage Plan program has launched a new mileage sale in which it’s offering members the chance to buy miles with a bonus of up to 50% thrown in. Unfortunately this is a targeted promotion so not everyone will see the 50% bonus in their accounts – the other offers I’ve seen have all been for bonuses of 40% but there may be yet more variations out there.
The schedule currently shows that Virgin Atlantic’s daily flight between London and Newark on 9 September 2019 will be operated by an Airbus A350-1000 aircraft so, despite the fact that all the hints from the airline have suggested that Virgin would first deploy the new aircraft on one of its routes to Asia, the evidence suggests that this where and when we’ll first see the Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 in commercial flight….but this may not actually be the case.
You know that the year is drawing to a close when American Airlines starts sending you emails suggesting that you pay them quite a bit of cash in exchange for a bump up to a status level you probably don’t need (or which offers few worthwhile benefits). Two such emails have recently dropped into the TFM household’s inboxes and, try as I might, I just don’t understand the logic behind them.
I fly between Los Angeles and London a lot so I tend to keep a close watch over what services various airlines are offering on this route. As a fan of the oneworld alliance I keep an especially close eye on what the likes of British Airways and American Airlines have scheduled and I’ve just noticed an unwelcome change.
There have been a lot of changes taking place with Marriott’s loyalty program over the past few months (not least the merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest) and, among those changes, we’ve seen the complete overhaul of the Marriott award chart and the introduction of some new credit cards.