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Frequent Flier Miles

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TRAVEL
December 25, 2011 | By Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times
Question: When are airline tickets that are paid for with frequent flier miles not free? Answer: Almost never, but some tickets, booked on certain carriers, are almost as expensive as a trip to the North Pole. This question, a composite of three recent letters, including one in today's Letters column, highlights a growing concern among travelers who pay for tickets with awards points: They do the work to accumulate enough for a ticket, and when they book it, they discover some amazingly high fees, sometimes under the label of a fuel surcharge.
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SPORTS
March 15, 2014 | Chris Dufresne
The seventh-seeded team got shot to seventh heaven Saturday night when Cal Poly defeated Cal State Northridge, 61-59, to win the Big West tournament championship at Honda Center. The Mustangs (13-19) lost nine of their last 11 regular-season games before winning three straight in Anaheim to earn the school's first NCAA tournament bid. In three days, Cal Poly defeated No. 2 UC Santa Barbara, No. 1 UC Irvine and No. 5 Northridge to become the lowest-seeded Big West team to win the conference tournament.
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TRAVEL
September 2, 2012 | By Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times Travel editor
Question: On Aug. 1, I tried to book a round-trip flight on American Airlines between San Diego and Philadelphia for Oct. 1 using my frequent-flier miles. I thought a two-month lead would facilitate the reservation. There were no seats available for 25,000 miles for October. I paid $25 to speak to a human. She tried her best but with the same result. If I were willing to expend 50,000 miles, there were plenty of seats. How far ahead does AA release its frequent-flier seats? Is this bait and switch?
BUSINESS
October 30, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Airlines still make most of their money flying you from point A to point B. But a bigger share of that revenue now comes from selling you food, drinks and entertainment during the trip. Airlines worldwide are expected to collect $42.6 billion from passenger fees, the sale of frequent flier miles and other sources in 2013, an 18% increase from last year. The forecast by Wisconsin-based IdeaWorksCompany , a consultant to the airline industry, also shows that such fees and commissions have become a bigger part of the airline industry's revenue stream.
TRAVEL
February 27, 2011 | By Terry Gardner, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Frequent-flier miles are both a boon (to the vacationer who scores the award ticket) and a bane (to the person who has the miles but can't seem to score the ticket). That's where the commonality ends. Each program is different, with its own elite designations for very frequent fliers. Here's a comparison of seven plans for U.S.-based carriers. These are mileage plans (as opposed to points) unless otherwise noted. Alaska Pros: No fee to use miles to upgrade from coach; Alaska's MVP, MVP Gold and Gold 75K also receive a bundle of special elite benefits on Delta through a marketing alliance.
TRAVEL
May 23, 2010
Are you losing frequent-flier miles because you don't know when they expire? Traxo.com, which was largely a social networking site, has a new Loyalty Tracker that makes keeping track of airline, hotel and car rental points easier than spending them. What's hot: I wasn't convinced I needed this service until I saw the Loyalty Tracker feature. It keeps track of your mileage points (by taking your login/password information) and shows you, on a single page, when they're about to expire.
BUSINESS
January 24, 2012 | David Lazarus
Frequent-flier miles clearly have value — why else would people want them? But do they also represent taxable income? Citibank seems to think so. It's sending tax forms to people who received thousands of miles as a reward for opening a checking or savings account. Those forms value each mile at about 2.5 cents and list the total dollar amount as miscellaneous income. This is news to tax pros. "I've been practicing for 25 years and I've never had an instance where miles have been treated as taxable," said Gregg Wind, a West Los Angeles certified public accountant.
TRAVEL
January 22, 2012
A traveler who uses frequent flier miles and used American Airilnes and Japan Airlines on a round-the-world trip asks: What is the point of the airlines "stressing out" the loyal customer? Regarding "Not Feeling the Reward of Frequent Flier Miles" by Catharine Hamm [On the Spot, Dec. 25]: Recently, I returned from a round-the-world business and pleasure trip. I used a combination of frequent flier miles and revenue for ticketing 14 flights. As Hamm's article stated, it is getting increasingly more difficult to use frequent flier miles whether it's one carrier (American and Delta are my preferred airlines)
TRAVEL
December 19, 2010
Always best to use a travel agent Regarding On the Spot ["Waves of Doubt," Dec. 5] by Catharine Hamm: The simple answer for the traveler who had booking problems with her Carnival cruise should have been to use a travel agent. As an agent who specializes in cruise travel, I can assure you that the traveler would never have had the problem she encountered if she'd used an agency. We are the travelers' advocates. For those who prefer to search the Internet for bargains, or who think that going direct to the vendor will get them a better deal, do your research, then call us. By booking through us or agencies like ours, you will almost always get a better deal with less hassle, no extra cost and a travel professional to assist them should problems arise.
TRAVEL
July 31, 2011
Feeling guilty because you're not reading your frequent-flier membership emails and hotel loyalty program correspondence? Here's a site that stores your info and alerts you to deals and bonuses. Name: UsingMiles.com What it does: Stores your travel loyalty reward programs and lets you search and book travel using your debit/credit card, award flights or reward points. If you choose to book an award flight, it takes you straight to the airline website, for example, signs you in automatically and presents you with your options.
SPORTS
October 12, 2013 | Chris Foster
UCLA is a week away from playing No. 5 Stanford. First, though, a 1-4 California team visits the Rose Bowl. Staff writer Chris Foster examines the story lines. The junior rivalry UCLA has USC. California has Stanford. But the Bruins-Bears rivalry has some juice as well. Just ask any Cal band member, who will go on and on about UCLA stealing their fight song. UCLA dominated for a time, winning 18 consecutive games from 1972 to '89. Since 2000, the series has had clear boundaries.
SPORTS
September 27, 2013 | By David Wharton
Now that Alex Ovechkin has been named the first official torch bearer for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, he can look forward to a whirlwind trip. And a lot of frequent-flier miles. The Washington Capitals captain was selected by Russian officials to take part in a ceremony lighting the flame at the Temple of Hera in Greece on Sunday. "I'm extremely humbled and honored to be the first Russian to carry the Olympic torch," he told reporters. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and something I will never forget.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 6, 2013 | By Maeve Reston, Harriet Ryan and Rong-Gong Lin II
SAN FRANCISCO -- Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, had been scheduled to be on the Asiana Airlines plane that crashed at San Francisco International Airport but switched flights at the last moment. Sandberg said on her Facebook page that she was originally scheduled to fly on Asiana Airlines from Seoul to San Francisco, but decided to change flights to United Airlines so she could use frequent-flier miles for the tickets for her family, who were accompanying her. “Taking a minute to be thankful,” Sandberg wrote.
TRAVEL
March 17, 2013
A fascinating underwater trip I would like to compliment Nancy Baron for her incredible, gutsy and courageous underwater trip ["Blue Magic," March 10], which fascinated me. (I'm a former Italian navy frogman.) In her description of the underwater exploration, she made it look like an easy hobby. Scuba diving is very difficult and requires hard training and a very healthy body. John Rosati Simi Valley Kudos to Amtrak My husband, 10-year-old granddaughter Alyssa and I returned home Feb. 26 from a trip to the Bay Area on Amtrak Train No. 1. On Friday of that week, my daughter Chris received a call from her children's school in Ventura.
TRAVEL
March 3, 2013 | By Brian Kelly
You keep hearing about people who take these fabulous trips (see story) and they don't pay a penny - or very many pennies. You have miles, but you don't seem to be getting much, well, mileage out of them. For the last seven years, my life has been all about points. I quit my recruiting job on Wall Street, for which I traveled more than 150,000 miles a year (and collected numerous corporate credit card points), and founded ThePointsGuy.com , a website that's all about maximizing frequent-flier miles and credit card points.
NEWS
January 15, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
SuperShuttle launched a winter sale for those who need an extra incentive not to drive to the airport. The national shuttle service takes 10% off fares for shared van rides to and from airports nationwide and gives travelers frequent-flier miles or points too. The deal: The sale is good at SuperShuttle locations nationwide, including airports in Los Angeles , Burbank , Long Beach and Santa Ana ( John Wayne Airport)....
TRAVEL
March 17, 2013
A fascinating underwater trip I would like to compliment Nancy Baron for her incredible, gutsy and courageous underwater trip ["Blue Magic," March 10], which fascinated me. (I'm a former Italian navy frogman.) In her description of the underwater exploration, she made it look like an easy hobby. Scuba diving is very difficult and requires hard training and a very healthy body. John Rosati Simi Valley Kudos to Amtrak My husband, 10-year-old granddaughter Alyssa and I returned home Feb. 26 from a trip to the Bay Area on Amtrak Train No. 1. On Friday of that week, my daughter Chris received a call from her children's school in Ventura.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 27, 2012 | By Donna Perlmutter
Loud grumbles can be heard by travelers at this busy time of year under normal circumstances, but what is that noise going on with itinerant virtuosos carrying on board million-dollar-plus Strads and Guarneris on their way to concert dates? It's the sound of bureaucracy. And it's overtaking what used to be a well-understood, mutually respectful transaction - between cellists (mostly) and the industry that transports them and their treasured instruments. Cellists have been bearing the brunt because their cargo is too precious to check as regular baggage but so large that it requires an extra cabin seat.
TRAVEL
September 2, 2012 | By Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times Travel editor
Question: On Aug. 1, I tried to book a round-trip flight on American Airlines between San Diego and Philadelphia for Oct. 1 using my frequent-flier miles. I thought a two-month lead would facilitate the reservation. There were no seats available for 25,000 miles for October. I paid $25 to speak to a human. She tried her best but with the same result. If I were willing to expend 50,000 miles, there were plenty of seats. How far ahead does AA release its frequent-flier seats? Is this bait and switch?
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