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Frequent Flier Programs

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BUSINESS
May 20, 2006 | James Gilden, Special to The Times
It was 25 years ago this month that American Airlines introduced the first frequent-flier program. Since then, earning miles toward free flights and upgrades has become wildly popular among business and leisure travelers alike -- and surprisingly profitable for the airlines. But frequent-flier programs are starting to show their age. Some travelers are becoming frustrated by the difficulty they're having cashing in their miles as the airline industry struggles to stay aloft.
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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.
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BUSINESS
July 15, 1993 | MICHAEL SCHRAGE, Michael Schrage is a writer, consultant and research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He writes this column independently for The Times. He can be reached by electronic mail at schrage@media-lab.media.mit.edu on the Internet
If Henry Higgins had been a frequent-flying management consultant instead of an Edwardian misogynist, he would no doubt be asking, "Why can't an airline be more like a bank?" Sure, the airlines are in the transportation business. But--in these turbulent days of price wars and billion-dollar industry losses--the Americans, Uniteds and Deltas increasingly depend on their frequent-flier plans to lock in their best and most profitable accounts.
BUSINESS
February 18, 2013 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
In the wake of the deal to merge American Airlines and US Airways, many business travelers are asking themselves the same question: What does this mean for me? Change is the only certain answer. And change, according to some airline experts, is not good for business travelers who have grown accustomed to their regular airline routes, connecting hubs and frequent flier programs. "What I can see is 900 pitfalls," said Joe Brancatelli, a business travel expert who writes a regular online column on the subject.
BUSINESS
December 22, 1994 | From Dow Jones News Service
Dollar Rent A Car is withdrawing from most airline frequent-flier programs in favor of its own frequent-renter plan. The car rental company said it is being squeezed by higher costs, particularly the price of new cars for its fleet, and that its participation in frequent-flier programs has been eroding what little profit margin it has. However, the company will join America West Airlines' FlightFund program Jan. 1. It said that program is considerably less expensive than other airline plans.
TRAVEL
February 18, 2007 | Jane Engle, Times Staff Writer
IT'S gotten this bad: The father of mileage awards, who created the first big U.S. program more than 25 years ago, says he's embarrassed by his business offspring. Airlines today are "stingy and greedy" in handling frequent-flier programs, said Rolfe Shellenberger, former project manager of American Airlines' AAdvantage program, who now runs a consulting company in Palm Desert.
TRAVEL
August 21, 2005 | Jane Engle, Times Staff Writer
DON'T throw away frequent-flier newsletters. Do sign up for e-mail updates. That's the best advice I can give to collectors of airline miles this year. The reason? Several airlines, squeezed between low fares and high fuel costs, are tinkering with programs that award free seats and upgrades. Changes may come with little or no notice. If you think it's getting harder to book free seats, you're probably right. (More on that later.) Not all these changes are bad for fliers.
TRAVEL
December 5, 2010 | By Charles Lockwood, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Like the airline industry that spawned them, frequent-flier programs have encountered turbulence and are undergoing major changes. The United-Continental merger means a new mileage program, and the recent marketing agreements among American, British and Iberia and between American and JetBlue also mean adjustments to those programs. Those changes may mean larger flight networks and thus more options for earning and redeeming miles, but "fewer competitors inevitably mean less pressure to compete and innovate," says Tim Winship, editor at large at SmarterTravel.
BUSINESS
September 5, 1992 | From Associated Press
The airlines' battle for passengers took a new turn Friday when carriers announced special travel awards for frequent fliers. "The airlines have bled themselves dry with the fare wars," said Randy Petersen, editor and publisher of Inside Flyer, a newsletter covering frequent flier programs. "This is an effort to stop costing themselves real money." The carriers haven't used frequent flier programs recently to stimulate business, Petersen said. Now, they're making up for lost time.
TRAVEL
October 11, 1987 | TONI TAYLOR, Taylor, an authority on the travel industry, lives in Los Angeles.
There aren't many airlines left that are really glad to offer frequent-flier incentives. Some of them won't admit it, but if they had their druthers they'd drop the programs in an instant. These schemes have become one of the most costly, most controversial, most difficult to administer marketing ploys. Their underlying weakness is that they haven't won for the airlines the market share increases that were hoped for.
BUSINESS
February 17, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
In the wake of the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, many business travelers are asking themselves the same question: What does this mean for me? The only certain answer is change. And change, according to some airline experts, is not welcomed by business travelers who have grown accustomed to their regular airline routes, connecting hubs and frequent flier programs. “What I can see is 900 pitfalls,” said Joe Brancatelli, a business travel expert who writes a regular online column on the subject.
NEWS
November 15, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Travelers with questions about the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck program can get answers at three information sessions planned this month at John Wayne Airport (SNA). The agency announced Wednesday that it would roll out the expedited security screening program at the Santa Ana airport in December. Prior to the start of the program at John Wayne, the TSA will conduct sessions at a temporary information center in Terminal A from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursday (today)
BUSINESS
April 8, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
Would you fly more often if your reward was a regular supply of socks or a leather vest autographed by George Clooney? With demand for air travel on the rise, the competition for passengers is heating up. One way airlines are trying to lure passengers is with tantalizing rewards offered through frequent flier programs. And many of those rewards are, well, weird, according to a study by IdeaWorks, a Shorewood, Wis., airline consulting firm that studied more than 150 airline rewards programs.
BUSINESS
June 10, 2011 | Kathy M. Kristof, Personal Finance
Forget about beverage selections. The flight attendant on a recent US Airways flight to Denver was peddling credit. Any passenger willing to sign up for the airline's frequent flier reward credit card would get 30,000 bonus miles — enough for a domestic flight — plus a litany of perks longer than the drink menu. But you had to act fast. The flight attendant said you'd get the promised perks only if you signed up while still in the air. But limited-time offers almost always come with a catch, and this one had two: The card had an $89 annual fee, and US Airways has the worst record of reward seat availability among 24 major carriers, according to the recently released ezRez Reward Seat Availability Survey.
BUSINESS
May 23, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
The nation's first frequent flier program launched 30 years ago this month and, by most accounts, the programs have only gotten more complicated with age. When American Airlines introduced its frequent flier program in 1981, the concept was simple: Passengers received free tickets or upgrades based on how many miles they had flown. Today the programs are more complicated, with some airline passengers getting reward points for flying, staying at hotels, renting cars and using certain credit cards.
NEWS
March 8, 2011 | By Terry Gardner, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Here's good news for Delta 's frequent fliers: Delta SkyMiles no longer expire.  The change came at the first of the year, but so far, no other carrier has followed Delta’s lead. Here’s a look at activity deadlines set by nine U.S. frequent flier programs, followed by a summary of the perks that elite -- that is, the most frequent -- fliers receive from airlines that track miles rather than points.  Many carriers say miles or points never expire if you have activity in your frequent-flier account at least once in a certain period.
TRAVEL
July 5, 1987 | PETER S. GREENBERG, Greenberg is a Los Angeles free-lance writer
Just when you thought it was safe to cash in all the mileage you earned for that free ticket to Hawaii, the airlines suddenly raised the minimum mileage needed. The public outcry was so loud--and sustained--that the offending airlines rescinded their actions.
NEWS
January 14, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Southwest Airlines has moved on (well, actually backward) from a lively discussion that began last week over changes it plans to make March 1 to its frequent-flier program. Its blog's Flashback Friday post shows upbeat "luv"-centric print ads that date back to the airline’s beginnings 40 years ago. I'm not going that far back, but a quick recap is in order: I wrote a blog post last week that was mostly positive about the revamp of the airline's Rapid Rewards program.
BUSINESS
January 7, 2011 | By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
In a bid to attract business travelers, Southwest Airlines Co. has rolled out a revamped frequent-flier program. The Dallas airline, known for low-cost domestic flights, unveiled a new Rapid Rewards program Thursday. When the program launches March 1, the long-standing system in which frequent-flier credits were based on the number of trips taken will be replaced with one in which points accrue based on the price and type of fare paid. Other airlines, including JetBlue Airways Corp.
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