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Executive Travel : Miles, Points and Upgrades

November 17, 1994

Frequent Flyer magazine sorted out the new frequent-traveler promotions in its November issue, picking out what it considered the best. Here's an excerpt from its suggestions for the best ways to beef up your mileage accounts:

Airlines

United Shuttle Offer: United Airlines launched its West Coast Shuttle by United in October with a special offer for passengers: MileagePlus members who take eight Shuttle round trips in 12 months can earn a Shuttle Saver award flight for just 6,000 miles. Program members earn 500 miles per trip through February, then actual miles beginning in March.

AA Miles Buy Hotel Nights: Now through March 31, members of American's AAdvantage program can trade miles for hotel stays with partner chains. The price for one free night ranges from 10,000 miles at selected Forte, Hilton, Hilton International and Wyndham hotels to 15,000 at Inter-Continental and Marriott hotels to 20,000 at two Wyndham resorts.

Air France Introduces Frequence Plus: The program lets travelers earn miles not only on Air France flights, but also on the French domestic carrier Air Inter, Avis and Hertz car rentals and Meridien hotel stays. Through Dec. 31, new U.S. members earn a 5,000-mile bonus for signing up and another 5,000 miles for their first transatlantic flight on Air France after joining. Business class earns a double-mileage premium, and first class and Concorde award 2 1/2 times the mileage flown.

Delta Rewards Avis Renters: Through December, Delta program members who rent Avis cars in conjunction with their flights will earn the usual 1,000 miles per rental, but with each fourth rental they'll get a 5,000-mile bonus. Delta has also added Hertz as a partner.

New Telephone Connections: This past summer, America West Airlines started a tie-in with Sprint, the long-distance phone company, awarding five miles for each dollar spent. Continental Airlines connected with MCI in October, its first affiliation with a long-distance telephone carrier.

British Airways, USAir Allow Mileage Swaps: British Airways has extended through Dec. 31, 1995, mileage transfer rights for members of its and USAir's programs, permitting them to switch up to 100,000 miles from one account to the other. In addition, Gold Tier members of British Airways' Executive Club program now earn a 100% mileage bonus on all USAir and British Airways flights--up from 25%. British Airways fliers can also collect mileage on Qantas.

Car Rentals

Double Mileage on Avis and Hertz: As part of its recent partnership affiliation with United's MileagePlus program, Avis will allow program members to earn 1,000 miles for each rental through the end of November--up from 500 miles. Through Jan. 31, 1995, Hertz is offering leisure renters double airline mileage--1,000 miles per rental--to frequent-flier members of Alaska Airlines, Northwest, United and USAir.

Free Flights and Rental Discounts: Now through Dec. 15, five Budget rentals at any U.S. or Canadian location will earn a free round-trip ticket on American Airlines, provided the rentals are for compact or larger vehicles and payment is made with an American Express card.

Hotels

Hilton Sweetens HHonors: While already allowing members to "double dip"--collect both hotel points and airline miles--Hilton now lets them exchange HHonors points for miles and vice versa. The minimum miles-to-points swap is 5,000 air miles for 10,000 HHonors points. A reverse swap, on the other hand, converts a minimum of 10,000 HHonors points to 1,500 air miles.

Westin Revives Triple Miles: Any Westin guest who logs at least two hotel stays between Oct. 1, 1994, and March 31, 1995, and pays with an American Express card can earn 1,500 miles (instead of the usual 500) in the Alaska, America West, Northwest, United, USAir or Air Canada frequent-flier programs--and there's no need to fly the selected airline on a given trip to collect the mileage credits. Members of Westin's Premier frequent-stay plan can also double dip, earning 1,000 program points per hotel stay.

Inter-Continental Extends Double Miles: The chain's Worldwide Global Business Options program has been extended through Dec. 31. The offer gives guests a choice of double airline mileage (with American, Canadian, Delta, TWA, United and several foreign carriers) or a selection of other perks.

Flexible Rules at Radisson: In a recent revision of its frequent-flier affiliation program, Radisson Hotels International decided that flying on the selected airline is no longer required to earn miles in that airline's program.

Credit, Charge Cards

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