What to Know Now
Welcome back from the busiest travel holiday of the year — it’s time for the sprint for the finish line. I write today en route from Santiago, Chile, a trip that will push me past Executive Platinum on American for the year. Next up, back to United to chase down 1K.
As the year draws to a close, now’s a good time to take a look at your mileage balance and see how you can adjust your travel to hit your 25,000, 50,000 or 100,000 mile goals. It may take a couple of extra dollars or (steel yourselves) a connection, but the perks through 2015 and into 2016 are worth it.
If you need some inspiration, check out FlyerTalk’s MileageRun forum, where a peppering of ultra-cheap fares float by each day. You can even peruse their discussion section if you need help finding a good route.
Bear in mind that the rules for most mileage programs are changing next year, so get your good miles now and think hard about your 2015 game. It’s going to be a whole new world come January 1.
SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY
Air France Tries to Woo Business Flyers With Better Food and Newer Seats: Air France is upgrading its cabin with new leather seats and offering flexible pricing on European routes into its Charles de Gaulle hub in Paris to fend off rivals that have taken market share with business travelers. Read more at Skift
Alaska Airlines Announces New 2015 Mileage Plan Program: Alaska Airlines has decided it will adjust its 2015 Mileage Plan program. As at Delta and United, Alaska Airlines is targeting business travelers, who spend the most by offering increased mileage bonuses on full economy and first class fares. Read more at The Points Guy
KLM Asks Employees to Weigh In on Cost-Cutting Strategy: Air France-KLM Group’s Dutch unit asked employees to suggest ways of shaving 700 million euros ($870 million) from costs over five years to cover the expense of wide-body jet upgrades and other service enhancements. Read more at Skift
Lufthansa’s Pilots Union Moves to Strike Yet Again: A union representing Lufthansa pilots has called on its members to go on strike Monday in a dispute over retirement benefits. Read more at Skift
10 Ways to Make the U.S.’s 10 Worst Airports Better This Holiday: Some 3.55 million people are expected to fly this Thanksgiving weekend, making this year’s busiest travel weekend the most crowded since 2007, according to AAA. (If it’s any consolation, the roads will also be jammed.) Read more at Skift
British Airways Is Worried About Scotland’s Plan to Scrap Air Passenger Tax: Scotland’s plan to scrap air passenger taxes would create a “domino effect” of people avoiding English airports to seek cheaper flights north of the border, the chief executive of British Airways parent IAG SA said today. Read more at Skift
Hudson News Rebrands to Shake off Newsstand Image: Travelers pass by and stop into a Hudson News store every day at airports and train stations across America, and soon they’ll notice something’s missing from the pervasive store. Read more at Skift
Delta Fears Losing Market Share to Proposed Atlanta Airport: You’d think a proposal for a tiny airport about 40 miles from downtown—with a single commercial runway that would likely handle four commercial flights a day—wouldn’t be too much of a threat. But Delta, the main airline at Hartsfield-Jackson, doesn’t see it that way. Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport, a general aviation airport on city-owned land, may soon become a commercial airport, and Delta has fought the plan at every step. Read more at Skift
Marriott Expands Its Beacon LocalPerks Program to More Hotels: Marriott International debuted its LocalPerks push-messaging program using beacon geo-location technology at three Marriott properties this past summer, and just added another dozen U.S. hotels. Read more at Skift
Sony’s E-Paper Watch Is a Thing of Minimalist Beauty: Two days ago, we heard of Sony’s plans to build a watch made entirely of e-paper — one where the band and the watch face would both change in response to the user’s wrist gestures. It sounded wild and provocatively different, but what we really wanted to know was what it looked like. Read more at The Verge
United’s New App Lets Loyal Flyers Earn Miles at Brick and Mortar Stores: Using the new tool and GPS, customers can find stores close to their location that offer points for purchases. When onsite, they can then step up to the register, enter their purchase price into the app and buy a scannable gift card on the fly. In the end, the consumer ends up with the same product and a multiple of miles to boot. Read more at Skift
Interview: Auberge Resorts CEO Wants to Give Guests More Control: Auberge Resorts is a high-end collection of owned and operated hotels located across the U.S. and internationally. Each property is designed to reflect their unique outdoor surroundings, with an emphasis on personalized service and access to unique experience. Read more at Skift
Exclusive: First Look at Amazon Travel’s New Hotel Contract: Skift exclusively obtained a copy of the new Amazon Travel contract with hotels and learned new details about the online retail giant’s strategy, implementation, and meetings with suppliers. Read more at Skift
Booking.com’s Work for Marriott is a Sneak Peak Into the Future: The Priceline Group acquired Buuteeq and Hotel Ninjas earlier this year as the company seeks to become a tech provider for hotels, and its little-noticed work for the websites of Marriott International’s brands is a harbinger of what’s going to happen next. Read more at Skift
Long time consumer advocate Chris Elliott (I mentioned him in last week’s business traveler) is thinking about changing his tack from general travel advocacy to loyalty program advocacy, or becoming, effectively, a points blogger. Weigh in on his planned changes here.