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Posted by on Aug 7, 2015 in Quarterly Updates

August 2015 Airline Update

August 2015 Airline Update

At TRVLVIP we focus on maximizing your airline reward program earning and redemption opportunities to save you time and money. The more you know, the bigger your advantage and the greater the Luxury you’ll enjoy for your Loyalty! We have some great airline updates for you this month!

Alaska Plane

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

We added many great Alaska Airlines updates along with some BIG news this month!

First, yay for Alaska Airlines! Alaska’s Mileage Plan was ranked the top airline rewards program by US News & World Report for 2015-2016! The editors evaluated each loyalty program based on key aspects, such as size, ease of earning free flights, the number of ways to use rewards and the quality of member benefits.

Then, Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, posted second-quarter GAAP net income of $234 million, up 41.8% year-over-year with it’s 25th consecutive quarterly profit and best quarterly result ever! Although we miss the days of free bags and free food, fees as well as lower fuel prices have resulted in great profits for the airline.

And a big win for Mileage Plan members, on October 17, all US Airways flights will become American Airlines flights, which means over 60 additional destinations, 3,000 more flights and a lot more earning and redemption opportunities for Mileage Plan members! And on August 15, Alaska’s Board Room members will enjoy access to all 54 Admirals Club locations worldwide as an expansion of the already robust frequent flyer reciprocity arrangement with American Airlines in place since 1999!

This month we posted a great TRVLVIP Blog post comparing hold, cancel and change policies across the airlines and highlighted Alaska’s free cancellation and change policy for flights if made 60 days or more before travel and the opportunity to make same-day flight changes for only $25! And loyalty really pays for MVP Gold and Gold 75 members who always have free cancellations and changes on paid and award travel!

Here are a few Perk and Tip highlights from the past month:

  • Alaska Airlines recently formed a partnership with China’s Hainan Airlines and is celebrating with double miles on Hainan flights – register before September 30 and fly by October 31, 2015.
  • Fly with Emirates and earn triple Alaska Mileage Plan miles on first class flights or double miles on business and economy flights – register before September 7 and fly by November 30, 2015
  • Don’t forget to register for all of Alaska’s Double Bonus Miles Offers today!
  • Alaska Airlines is offering up to a 40% bonus to buy or gift miles until August 9, 2015, with the biggest savings for Visa Signature card holders.

And be sure to check out all of the current Alaska Perks and the many great Travel Tips!

American Plane

American Airlines AAdvantage

We added some great AAdvantage Perks and Tips for you this month!

First off, October 17 is the BIG day when US Airways will join Continental, TWA, PanAm and other once-dominant high-flyers at that great airline retirement home in the sky. This US Airways retirement party will add over 60 additional destinations to American Airlines and 3,000 more flights!

As a result of this merger, American Airlines is now the world’s largest airline by revenue and posted a GAAP net income of $1.7 billion, up from $864 million year-over-year and its highest quarterly profit in company history. This is amazing considering the airline emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection only 18 months ago! With all of the fees added by the airlines in the last few years and the decrease in fuel prices, this record profit trend isn’t a big surprise.

American Airlines was ranked the #2 airline rewards program by US News & World Report (only behind Alaska Airlines) for 2015-2016! The editors evaluated each loyalty program based on key aspects such as size, ease of earning free flights, the number of ways to use rewards and the quality of member benefits.

American Airlines also announced an expansion of its presence in Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America with eight new routes for all of you heading south of the border.

And in response to the public outcry regarding the beloved Cecil, American Airlines joined Delta and United and many other airlines by banning the shipment of big game trophies worldwide as freight.

Here are a few Perk and Tip highlights from the past month:

Be sure to check out all of the current American Perks and the great Travel Tips!

Delta Plane

Delta Airlines SkyMiles

We have plenty of Delta news to report this month! Delta Air Lines is still going strong reporting $1 billion in adjusted net income during the second quarter, which is 22% higher than Q2 2014. The performance extended a profitable streak of nine straight quarters for the airline. Lower fuel prices and all of those added fees we universally dislike are really paying off for the airlines.

In true Luxury for Loyalty news, Delta is providing a small number of elite frequent fliers the chance to upgrade their commercial flight to a private jet flight within 24 or 48 hours of their scheduled flight. The upgrades will run from $300 to $800.

Delta also announced it will join as a partner in the $4 Billion redevelopment of La Guardia (LGA), which is way overdue for a face-lift!

As a result of the public mourning or Cecil, Delta has decided to ban the shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight, joining United and American and many other airlines. Delta is the domestic carrier with the most flights into and out of Africa so this should have a strong impact.

Delta is certainly keeping us all on our toes with several new SkyMiles announcements in July! Delta removed the award charts from their website earlier this year and many speculated the move was a precursor to pricing award flights by retail price rather than by distance – and they were right! For travel on or after June 1, 2016, the number of miles needed for Delta award flights will be based on destination, demand and other dynamics and award miles needed to upgrade under the Mileage Upgrade Award program will also increase.

We’ve performed several spot checks of award flights prior to and after June 1, 2016, and while the change is still 10 months away, we are seeing a very big increase in the miles required for award flights on several popular routes, in some cases as high as double.

We suggest burning some miles on a fabulous trip prior to June 1, 2016, when Delta awards will certainly be more expensive for long-haul flights. After that point you may only be able to find decent value in Delta’s airline partner awards and Delta’s new discounted (mostly short-haul) awards booked at least 21 days in advance.

Remember the industry pairings between Delta and Starwood and Delta and Virgin Atlantic, which provide great reciprocal benefits! And pay special attention to these very important Tips – Hold, Change & Cancel Policies and Changes to the Way You Earn SkyMiles in 2015!

Be sure to check out all of the current Delta Perks and the many great Travel Tips!

United Plane

United Airlines MileagePlus

We have plenty of United news to report this month! As with most of the domestic carriers, United Continental Holdings (UAL) announced its highest quarterly profit ever with net income of $1.2 billion, up 51% from the same period last year. Lower fuel prices and all of the airline fees we have grown accustomed to but universally dislike have been a big win for the airlines.

In response to the worldwide press regarding the beloved Cecil, United joined Delta and American and many other airlines by banning the shipment of big game trophies worldwide as freight.

Here are a few Perk and Tip highlights from the past month:

  • Through August 20, 2015, TRVLVIP has a special agreement with Golfmiles. Simply sign-up for Golfmiles and book your first tee time at any of over 6,000 golf courses to enjoy 1,200 extra MileagePlus miles in addition to your normal miles earned.
  • One of the easiest ways to earn reward miles is shopping! And with up to 4,000 MileagePlus miles, increased earnings at certain retailers and a BIG giveaway, you have a good incentive to do your back to school shopping before August 12!
  • United Airlines recently introduced a targeted promotion encouraging MileagePlus members to fly and spend more on United and United Express. If targeted, you have a chance to earn up to 200,000 miles!
  • This is good one to bookmark – United Airlines Hold, Change & Cancel Policies. It’s comforting to know your options (all in one spot) if you ever need to change or cancel a flight!

And remember that United and Hertz and United and Marriott (RewardsPlus) have paired up to provide great reciprocal benefits!

Be sure to check out the current United Perks and the great Travel Tips!

We hoped you enjoyed our monthly airline summary! We’d love to have you follow us on Facebook and Twitter and to share TRVLVIP with friends and family who enjoy travel and desire more Luxury for their Loyalty!

And if you haven’t already, sign-up for complimentary alerts so you never miss another important TRVLVIP update! Dreaming is fun, but make that next trip happen!

Happy Loyalty, Happy Travels!

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