Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New low cost airline to charge $9 for tickets

A new low-cost airline will start service from Newark N.J. and Florida, flying to mid-sized U.S. cities not served by larger carriers. JetAmerica is targeting small and midsize cities like Lansing, which has seen the number of daily flights at its LAN, Airport fall from 35 to 12 the past five years. Capacity has been cut by many airlines so the result is that airfares have increased at those airports as daily flights have decreased.

JetAmerica CEO, John Weikle, lost me when he said that he, "has based JetAmericas business model on RyanAirs!" See my February posting explaining that it will cost me alot if they install, “a coin slot on the toilet door”? ”- and my posting on how Easy Jet wants Pilots to pay for coffee
An EasyJet UK Airline Pilot mentioned that a flight from London, LGW-SSH, ran out of crew water & food. He said that the crew, “would get better treatment in prison”. European aviation has hit an all time low . One Pilot suggested that,”You might want to bring along some coffee to keep your Captain awake” This cry started a Facebook group called, “Feed the Crew”
Sure, the tickets are cheap, but when you add all the “ancillary revenue fees”, the tickets can end up more expensive than flying a full service airline. To break even, JetAmerica will have to make 71 dollars per passenger on average, so they even charge a “convenience fee” for booking on their website or by phone. No charge for the ticket booth at the airport but you have to book early to get one of the 9 seats for $9 on each flight.
The $9 airline is getting ready to take off on July 13th. As I mentioned in my previous post, : the promotions become tiresome. In this economy, some people are , ditching the loyalty programs and going for the cheapest flights, due to problems with Mileage accounts like David Berlind had. USAir told him that his last 15+ years of frequent flyer data was lost. Vanished! The USAirways Rep said: "I understand Mr. Berlind that you're reading your Dividend Miles number off one of our cards, but we have no record of that number anymore".

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Starwood, Priority Club and Marriott Rewards points

Tough economic times so hotels are coming up with new deals. Bill Marriott said his, ”business has been hit with a triple whammy. First, the global recession, and then an assault on business meetings by our government officials and the new flu virus, which is waning.”
Priority Club Rewards announced an offer for all members to earn a free night if you stay any 2 nights thru July 3rd 09. You can use your free night between July 3rd – Dec 26th. The InterContinental Hotels Group (Holiday Inn) have made it simple: - 2 nights gets 1 free
Starwood’s promotion (Sheratons etc.) is -for every two stays through July 31, 2009, you earn one Free Weekend Night Award No earning limits and NO catch apparently.

Marriott’s offers are different for Platinum, Silver and Gold members. Marriott run their MegaBonus promotions periodically and now they have a similar offer but they have not called it the MegaBonus. It is the “Summer promotion” or ‘escape”
Some can earn: 25,000 points when you stay 20 nights : June 1 to Aug 31, 09 but I won’t get any points if I don’t make the 20 nights. Some Members got an offer to earn 5,000 points every other stay, starting with your 2nd stay up to 15,000 points max till Aug 09. I would rather have this offer so I don’t think I will even try to make the one they assigned to me.
Marriotts Global Rate Break offer IS simple and can save 20% off weekend stays between May 21st and September 7th, 2009, if you book by June 2nd

As one member put it, “After a while the promotions become tiresome, it is easier to stay at a non point hotel than to do the homework on the complicated points”. Last year some of the Marriott offers earned 2,500 Marriott Rewards points for every Visa®-paid stay, but none of the present programs stipulate the credit card to be used. It is tiresome to have to remember which program offers what and then to get the fine print right. You have to find out which of their brands participate. For example, with Residence Inn by Marriott - all locations participate except: Inn at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL and Participating redemption partners are The Ritz-Carlton, Ashford Castle but you can’t earn points at these locations.
Some needed 11 stays and some 15. Some members were eligible to starting earning points with a second stay. up to 25,000 points for 15 nights some got 35K pts for 20 nights
Marriott is introducing some good incentives. You can earn 5,000 points every other stay, starting with your 2nd stay and offering Double Nights till June 26, every night you stay counts twice!
I have to give credit where credit is due and that is that this past Megabonus offer was the better than previous Megabonus offers, but I was one night short.
The best new Marriott offer is that each night members stay with Marriott, you’ll earn credit for two nights instead of one, which will help you to reach your next Elite level twice as fast. I wish that I had known that this offer was on the way because I would have postponed my trips. As it turned out I was missing one night. If I had stayed one extra night I would have obtained the full 50,000 MegaBonus points
The offer was: a MegaBonus when you stay at Marriott February 1 through April 30, 2009, and this is what I got:

The moral of this story is that I have noticed that the offers get better towards the end of the year, so try to do all your travel in November.

See De Telegraaf reports that loyalty programs don't work.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Alaska Airlines and Marriott elite winners at the Freddie Awards

The the 21st Annual Freddie Awards for the best Elite Level airline and hotel loyalty programs were awarded to Alaska Airlines for their Mileage Plan program and to Marriott Rewards for Europe/Middle East/Africa, the Airline prize went to: Delta Air Lines SkyMiles and the hotel award for Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Hotel went to: Starwood Preferred Guest program.
Among the big winners were Marriott Rewards, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club, Virgin Blue Velocity, Starwood Preferred Guest and many more.

This program has been named in honor of the Maverick airline entrepreneur Sir Freddie Laker who took on the big legacy airlines as competition. I feel that the awards have betrayed their namesake because they habitually place the big contenders in the winning roles. The judges are not impartial because they obtain advertising and other paybacks from the winners.
sure, there were More than 700,000 Freddie ballots, but the campaigns sent out by the big players encouraged members to vote and many of the voters had no experience with the airlines and hotels in the running. Many of the travelers are loyal to the program that they have joined and are not in a position to compare because they are blissfully ignorant about what they are missing out on. Take it from me I can assure you that there is NO conflict of interests reflected from my blog.
I have been staying at many of the Marriott hotels as they opened over the past 25 years. When I was living in Asia, Europe, S. America and Africa, I stayed at Starwood, IHG and Hyatt hotels because there were no Marriott hotels at the time. It was Hyatt that gave me a taste for the Regency floor (AKA Club or concierge lounge). The lounge was a welcome oasis in exhausting countries like Indonesia and refuge from the maddening crowd in Acapulco. At that time Marriott grew because they had the US market.

Hilton won the Freddie for Best Award Redemption and Marriott came in 3rd Petersen said, "If award redemption is easy, you have a very happy program member. If it's difficult, call out the National Guard, you might need some help. If there's one thing that irks frequent travelers the most, it's the unavailability of awards--and the hassles of redeeming them. We've learned that it's not just about making seats and rooms available; it's also about the process. Does it require members to jump through hoops to get an award? We never said that award redemption would be easy, but some programs make it easier than others. Voters were asked to vote on the program that makes award redemption the most user-friendly--Can you get the award you want when you want it?"