What to Know Now
Good news comes to the members of the American and US Airways mileage programs this week as the airlines announced details on their future joint loyalty program. In short, next year’s joint program looks the current product from American — widely regarded as the better of the two.
Precise details and a bit of analysis on the updated mileage program can be found on American’s official site or at View from the Wing, but the most important news to take out of the announcement is that the new program won’t be revenue based. This means that unlike Delta and United, actual miles flown in 2015 for status in 2016 on American will count for frequent flyer miles and elite status; there will be no minimum financial component.
After the merger wraps up in 2015, that story may be different. But for the next year, budget travelers of America still have an airline to call home.
Social Quote of the Day
American Airlines Won’t Follow Delta, United and Base Awards on Flyer Spending: American Airlines and US Airways will combine their frequent flier programs early next year and, for now, still base free flights on how many miles customers fly. Read more at Skift
The Convertible Airline Seat Design That Has Aviation Experts Buzzing: Cabin wars pacifist, James SH Lee, of Paperclip Design, has won the top prize at IATA’s Passenger Innovation Awards for his metamorphosing Butterfly seat. Read more at Skift
Airlines’ Dropping Fuel Costs Won’t Translate Into Lower Fares: Air travelers filling planes in the U.S. at a record pace are missing out on the fuel savings that motorists are finding at the pump. Read more at Skift
Interview: Virgin Atlantic CEO on Going All-In With Delta and the Dreamliner: How do you blend Virgin Atlantic cool and edginess with play-it-safe Delta? Craig Kreeger, a former American Airlines executive who became CEO of Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic 20 months ago after its Delta joint venture already had been announced, doesn’t appear flustered by the question. Read more at Skift
Airline Group CEO Calls for the Export of TSA Pre-Check: IATA CEO Tony Tyler says the model for TSA Pre-Check, currently operational at 121 U.S. airports, should be exported abroad and various countries’ operations should be linked as a way to speed travelers and enhance security. Read more at Skift
Singapore Association Wins $1.4 Billion Contract to Build Myanmar Airport: A consortium led by Singapore’s Yongnam Holdings Ltd. won a $1.4 billion contract to build the airport in Myanmar’s Yangon, after a previous deal given to Incheon International Airport Corp. was canceled. Read more at Skift
Loyalty Program Fraud Can Cost Travelers and Providers a Fortune: It’s difficult to get your head around the numbers in the dark market of loyalty fraud. But, when more than 70% of a $14 trillion market is at risk of being stolen overnight, with a quick phone call or a few clicks of the keyboard, it’s time to pay attention. Read more at Skift
The 10 Smartest and Worst Travel Startup Names of 2014: This year saw a stream of peer-to-peer travel startups make their way onto travelers’ smartphones and computer screens, all vying to become the next “Uber of this” or “Airbnb of that.” Read more at Skift
App Lets Passengers Facebook Stalk Each Other Before Flights: Travel app Quicket released an updated version this week — and among the new features is a “social check-in” option, which allows passengers to creep on their seatmates via Facebook before either of them even gets on the plane. Read more at HuffPost
Four Seasons and Lufthansa Hope Food Truck Nibbles Turn Into Bookings : Recently Lufthansa USA’s #TourofAmerica took its business-class in-flight experience on the ground to six cities from New York to Los Angeles; and Four Seasons’ #FSFoodTruck is currently bringing portions of its hotels’ menus to nine cities from Boston to Miami (it concludes on November 11). Each city is a clear target market for either the airline or the luxury hotel brand. Read more at Skift
W Hotels Throws Its Support Behind Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage: Everyone from chef Padma Lakshmi to the “illustrious drag queen Lady Bunny” joined celebrity host Jennifer Hudson last week in New York for W Hotels’ first Turn It Up For Change event promoting same-sex marriage. Read more at Skift
Crowne Plaza Designs New Guest Rooms with Business Travelers in Mind: On Monday, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts introduced its newly designed guest rooms, boasting an angled bed placement that flies in the face of guest room designs that the IHG press release accused of remaining “virtually unchanged” for 60 years. Read more at Flyertalk
Interview: Marriott International CEO on Authenticity and the Guest Experience: Marriott International is the midst of a rejuvenation and CEO Arne Sorenson is leading more than 4,000 hotels through the process. He appears often on major news shows, talks up innovation with his staff behind closed doors, and is betting the future of the corporation on meeting millennials’, and all travelers’, expectations for more personalized, technologically advanced service. Read more at Skift
Airline Reporter has a great tribute to the soon-retiring MD-11. Check it out here.