American Airlines upgrades coffee. Starts serving Java City onboard November 1

Posted on: October 28th, 2010 by: aadvantagegeek

Java City
Java City by Majiscup – Drink for Design on Flickr


I’m a big fan of coffee.  I’ve always thought that the coffee that American served on board had an odd, flat but not necessarily bad, I think I like it, kind of taste, but let’s just say it’s not as good a most coffees available at lower altitudes.  I have a friend that works at Southwest Airlines and he was telling me about all the research that Southwest went through before they improved their in-flight coffee offering and introduced their LIFT premium coffee service (it’s actually quite good, and the plane smells amazing when the coffee is brewing).

Now American is improving their coffee.  Starting November 1, they’ll be serving complimentary Java City coffee on board their flights.  From the press release:

As part of its complimentary onboard beverage service, American Airlines will offer Java City™ coffee to all its customers inflight beginning Nov. 1. The eco-friendly, hand-roasted blend is 100 percent Rainforest Alliance Certified™, grown on sustainably managed farms.
“We are committed to exploring greener options for all of our products, both inflight and on the ground, to enhance the travel experience for our loyal customers,” said Rob Friedman, American’s Vice President – Marketing. “Java City strikes the perfect balance by offering a high-quality, great-tasting, eco-friendly coffee.”
Coffee onboard American will now be served in 10 ounce cups. The new, larger cups are co-branded with Java City and the Rainforest Alliance logos in addition to the American brand.

Java City makes a great roast, I’m looking forward to seeing how it taste at 30,000 feet.   BTW, if you’re flying next week and get a chance to try it, share your impressions.

Improvements coming to the AAdvantage Program, use your miles for hotels, car rentals, or merchandise

Posted on: October 28th, 2010 by: aadvantagegeek

Columbus Airport Chairs
Columbus Airport Chairs my Michael Porter on Flickr

According to an article published in the New York Times, starting next month American Airlines will let you use your AAdvantage Miles online to book hotel rooms and car rentals. Delta and United are doing the same.  Apparently, it’s a trend brought on by the fact that members of the airlines’ frequent flyer programs are having a difficult time redeeming their miles due to decreased capacity.   Michelle Higgins writes:

Reward trips in the United States dropped 10.3 percent to 21.7 million last year from 24.2 million in 2008, according to the latest data compiled by IdeaWorks, a loyalty program consulting firm. And with airlines under continual pressure to pack flights with paying passengers, that free ticket will only become more elusive as travel demand rebounds.

“If consumers don’t see any potential reward at the end of the mileage-earning road then they’re going to start disengaging from these programs,” said Tim Winship, editor at large for SmarterTravel.com and the publisher of FrequentFlier.com. “When that happens the airlines lose the significant revenues generated from the sale of miles to all the program partners.”

Enter the chocolates. Alternative awards attempt to address “the perception that may exist among some travelers of difficulty in using their miles,” said Tom O’Toole, chief operating officer of Mileage Plus Holdings for United”.

I’ve personally never had a difficult time redeeming AAdvantage miles, even at the MilesAAver level, for the trips I’ve taken.  So for me, the ability to trade miles for hotels and car rentals, doesn’t greatly increase my my already favorable opinion as to the value of AAdvantage miles, it’s will be nice to have the option.  I don’t have much experience with United’s program so I can’t really comment on award availability, but with Delta’s Sky Miles, a program I’ve been a member of for a very long time, the miles are practically useless for travel, so being able to use them for merchandise or candy bars, will be a welcome improvement.

American Airlines testing Tag your own Bag in Boston

Posted on: October 27th, 2010 by: aadvantagegeek

Luggage tag from OKC to AKL
Luggage tag from OKC to AKL by Wesley Fryer on Flickr

According to a news item published in the Boston Herald, American Airlines and Air Canada are testing self bag tagging a self-tagging option and their self-service check-in kiosks at Boston’s Logan airport.   According to the article by Donna Goodison:

“Passengers will be able to use a kiosk to print their own baggage routing tags along with their boarding passes. But, unlike in other countries, passengers still will be required to check in with a ticket-counter agent instead of simply dropping off their bags at a designated location, according to a source familiar with the plans.”

In Canada and Europe you can go directly to the baggage drop off area after you print your boarding pass and tag  your luggage.  In order to satisfy U.S. security concerns, passengers will still have to go to the check-in counter before they drop off their luggage.  In explaining the reason for this extra step, IATA spokesman Steve Lot said “The TSA wanted to make sure that there were no security risks about somebody dropping something bad on a security belt and walking away,”.  Thus saving passengers zero time while marginally (and debatably) decreasing the costs to the airlines.  Nice.

Read all about it here.

Win 70,000 AAdvantage Miles and a three night stay in the Dominican Republic

Posted on: October 27th, 2010 by: aadvantagegeek

Dominican Republic 2008
Dominican Republic by Stewart Priest on Flickr

Nexos, the American Airlines Spanish language magazine, is sponsoring a sweepstakes with a prize of 70,000 AAdvantage Miles and a three night stay at Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana resort on the Dominican Republic’s eastern coast. Here’s a description from Secrets Resort:

Arriving at this wondrous destination— just 15 minutes from Punta Cana International Airport— beautiful brick pathways, fountains, palm trees and gardens welcome you inside magnificent spaces inspired by the island’s rich Spanish Colonial style. For your pleasure: 176 suites and villas within an adults-only, round-the-clock playground; together with the exclusive Unlimited-Luxury® privileges that set Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana apart. Not to mention, a concierge at your service 24 hours a day.

To enter, just go to this link and complete a survey that’s being conducted by Nexos Magazine (fortunately, it’s in English).

Official Rules from the survey site:

OFFICAL RULES: 1. Employees and families of AMR Corporation, Dominican Republic Tourism, affiliates, subsidiaries, and agencies are not eligible to win. 2. Entrants must be 18 years old or older and be a resident of the United States or Puerto Rico to win. 3. No purchase necessary. 4. You need not be present to win. 5. To enter, simply enter your name, address, and phone number located at the beginning of the electronic survey; answer all questions and submit it at www.nexosmag.com until November 30, 2010. One random drawing will be held at the offices of AA Nexos on or around December 15, 2010. 6. One entry per person. 7. Retail value of the prize is approximately $ 2,532.00. 8. For the name of the sweepstakes winner, available after December 14, 2010, send a sel- addressed stamped envelope to: AA Nexos October Reader Sweepstakes Winner, 4333 Amon Carter Blvd., MD 5654, Ft. Worth, Texas 76155. 9. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. 10. For a complete set of rules, write to AA Nexos Reader Sweepstakes, 4333 Amon Carter Blvd., MD 5654, Ft. Worth, Texas 76155 or visit www.nexosmag.com.

Take a cruise and earn double AAdvantage Miles

Posted on: October 25th, 2010 by: aadvantagegeek

Cruise ships docking
Cruise Ships Docking by palestrina55 on Flickr


American Airlines Cruises is offering special discount rates on all of their cruises.  I’v never been on a cruise.  I’m not sure that I would enjoy being on a boat for an extended length of time, so I’ve never bothered to look at pricing.   I just assumed that a cruise, because of the all inclusive nature, would be kind of pricey.  I looked at some of the specials and was surprised to learn that a cruise can be much less expensive than I assumed.

For example, you can book a 7 Night Western Caribbean cruise on Norwegian for as little as $549.  Here’s a description of the offer from the site:

• Earn Double Miles! Details
• FREE Upgrade! Details
• Up to $300 FREE Onboard Spending! Details
• Up to $250 FREE Onboard Spending – ANY Category! Details
• 50% Off Deposit! Details
• Nickelodeon Live Shows & More: Norwegian EXCLUSIVE! Details

If you book your cruise between now and December 24, 2010, you earn double AAdvantage Miles for every dollar that you spend.  Be careful though, not all rooms qualify for double miles.  Some may only earn one mile for every dollar.  The sample price above does not earn double miles, you have to book a Balcony room or a Suite to get the double miles offer.  A balcony room starts at $749.  Make sure you check “Earn  Double Miles Details” link on each cruise package page to confirm that the room you book will qualify for double miles.

More details about the sale and the Double AAdvantage Miles offer on the American Airlines Cruises – Cruise Blowout website.

Earn 1,500 AAdvantage Miles from Avis while being driven around by a Chauffeur

Posted on: October 22nd, 2010 by: aadvantagegeek

Chauffeur Rocky
Chauffeur Rocky by Sunrise on Seven from Flickr

I wasn’t aware of this, but Avis has partnered with WeDriveU to offer Avis Chauffeur Drive service for $36.80 an hour, with a three hour minimum, not including the cost of the rental.   If you make use of this service before December 31, 2010, you can earn 1,500 bonus AAdvantage miles.

Hiring a chauffeur is probably not something that everyone will want to do, but if you’re in New York for a day on business, and the schedule is tight, it’s a lot cheaper than spending $80 an hour with a typical car service, and if your times is valuable, it’s a lot more productive than waiting for a taxi or riding the subway.

Here’s how Avis explains the benefits:

Convenience: Take calls, prepare for meetings or relax while your chauffeur navigates. WeDriveU will pickup and return your Avis car and drive for meetings, golf, a night out, sightseeing and more.
Cost Savings: Pay for a chauffeur only when you need one. 30 – 40% less than a limousine/sedan service.
Safety: Eliminate distracted driving with insured & certified chauffeurs.
Low profile: Understated transportation suits your image.

You have to be an Avis Preferred member to take advantage of this offer, you can go here to sign up, and you have to mention coupon code MUAA109 when you set up your travel arrangements with Avis. Here are the details of the Avis Chauffeur Drive – Earn Up To 1,500 Miles offer:

Award: 1,500 bonus miles
Dates: Now – 12/31/2011
Offer: The next time you travel, enjoy a worry-free trip with Avis Chauffeur Drive by WeDriveU – the perfect way to get to your destinations. Be driven by a chauffeur in your Avis rental car for a few hours or a few days.

Restrictions:
1,500 bonus miles valid on a qualifying rental of one or more consecutive days at participating Avis airport locations in the U.S. that participate in Chauffeur Drive.
Avis Chauffeur Drive must be added to rental and three or more consecutive chauffer hours must be taken in order to receive bonus miles.
Bonus miles offer valid on all car groups.
An advance reservation is required by calling 800-272-5839.
Offer may not be used with any other coupon, promotion or offer except your AWD discount.
The savings of up to 25% off car rental applies to the time and mileage charges only.
Taxes, concession recovery fees, vehicle license recovery fee, customer facility charges ($10/contract in CA) and fuel charges are extra.
Optional items such as LDW ($35.99/day or less) and other surcharges may apply and are extra.
Please mention coupon number MUAA109 to take receive bonus miles offer.
Offer may not be used in conjunction with any other promotion or offer.
Offer is subject to vehicle availability at the time of rental and may not be available on some rates at some times, including some online rates at Avis.com.
Car rental return restrictions may apply.
Offer subject to change without notice.
Renter must be an Avis Preferred member.
Renter must meet Avis age, driver and credit requirements. Minimum rental age may vary by location. An additional daily surcharge may apply for renters under 25 years old.
Rental must begin by December 31, 2011.

WeDriveU Terms and Conditions:
Chauffeur Drive applies to rental of of 3+ consecutive chauffeur hours in a single day.
$36.80 per hour for Chauffer Drive Service (minimum of 3 consecutive hours of service)
Chauffeur rate excludes cost of Avis vehicle, gratuity, gas, tolls, parking and other charges.
Not valid for contract accounts.
Based on availability.
WeDriveU bills client directly for chauffeur. Avis bills directly for vehicle.
Some restrictions apply.

Make your travel plans on AA.com, use your Mastercard, and get a gift card for up to $50

Posted on: October 22nd, 2010 by: aadvantagegeek

A Cake from Ooh Ooh $22, Having John Le Bake a One-of-a-kind Cake for You, PRICELESS
MasterCard cake by Alan Chan on Flickr

I read an interesting article the other day about how the airlines were seeing increased revenue from ancillary fees including money they earn when passengers book hotels, car rentals, even airport transfers using the airlines’ websites.

“there has been dramatic year-on-year growth in the percentage of passengers using airline websites to book hotels, up from 21% in 2009, to 38% in this year’s survey; car rental, 19% to 35%. Similar growth is being recorded in other ancillary revenue streams including purchase of travel insurance, bus and train tickets and duty free items.”

American has been pretty aggressive this year, offering a 250 bonus AAdvantage Miles for making a hotel reservation using AA.com.  Now they’ve teamed up with MasterCard and are offering up to a $50 MasterCard Gift Card for making your travel plans at AA.com and paying with your MasterCard.  Here are the details:

Purchase air-only and receive a $10 MasterCard gift card
Purchase air + another travel item (car, hotel, or activity) and receive a $25 MasterCard gift card
Purchase air + 2 other travel items (car, hotel, or activity) and receive a $50 MasterCard gift card

To sign up for your gift card, go here.  You have to purchase your travel by December 15, 2010 but you have till March 31, 2011 to complete your travel.

Earn up to 25,000 AAdvantage Miles when you order custom logo promotional shirts and products

Posted on: October 21st, 2010 by: aadvantagegeek

my life's logos
“my life’s logos” by captcreate on Flickr

You can earn up to 25,000 AAdvantage miles (or 25,000 United Airlines Mileage Plus miles) by ordering custom logo apparel, business gifts, and promotional products from DigitizedLogos.com.   Here’s an explanation from their site as to how the program works:

During the promotion period, each time you purchase $1,000 or more (excluding freight, taxes and set-up fees), you will earn 5,000 AAdvantage® miles or Mileage Plus® award miles. All you have to do is make 5 purchases and you could be on your way to a fabulous American Airlines or United Airlines destination!

Go here to enroll.  Terms and conditions here.

American Airlines adds Los Angeles flights, holds press conferences in Miami and Chicago – a big week as they reveal more details of their Cornerstone Strategy

Posted on: October 21st, 2010 by: aadvantagegeek

American Airlines Terminal 1 at DFW
American Airlines at DFW by Palisi.tel on Flickr

American’s Cornerstone Strategy becomes more clear as they add flights to their cornerstone Airports (LAX, JFK, DFW, ORD, and MIA) and launch fare sales between some of these cities.

In Chicago and New York, American is collaborating with local tourism officials and offering a promotion between the two cities with discount fares as low as $89 each way for tickets purchased by Ocotober 22, 2010.  Here are the details:

American Airlines travel bookings can be made through AA.com.

Fares are valid for round-trip travel to and from both Chicago and New York. The fares are nonrefundable and require a Saturday-night stay. A $150 change fee applies, as does the 9/11 Security Fee and PFCs (Passenger Facility Charges) of up to $4.50 per segment, depending on the airport. Fares shown do not include a Federal tax of $3.70 per domestic segment (defined as one takeoff and one landing), passenger facility charges of up to $18, and the September 11th Security Fee of $2.50 per enplanement at a US airport. Fare shown is each way based on roundtrip for economy class travel purchased on AA.com through Oct. 22, 2010. Travel is valid starting Jan. 5, 2011 with all travel completed by Feb. 25, 2011.

American also announced promotional discount fares between New York and Miami, with fares as low as $79 each way, but you have to purchase your tickets by October 22, 2010.  More details here.

And, Los Angeles is getting more direct flights to cities in the west and southwest.  This is from the American Airlines press release:

American Airlines and American Eagle have strengthened their commitment to Los Angeles with plans to add 10 new destinations – one international and nine domestic – for a total of 33 additional round trips beginning April, 5, 2011.

New destinations from LAX include (total number of daily flights):
Albuquerque, N.M. (3)
Boise, Idaho (2)
El Paso, Texas (2)
Houston Bush Intercontinental (3)
Oklahoma City, Okla. (1)
Phoenix, Ariz. (4)
Shanghai, China* (1)
Salt Lake City, Utah (3)
Sacramento, Calif. (4)
Tucson, Ariz. (3)

I know several people that travel from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles on a frequent basis, and they’re already looking to getting the daily direct flight.

On a semi-related note, I found this photo gallery from USA Today:  The aircraft and hubs of American Airlines.

Trade for miles and get 20 percent more AAdvantage miles

Posted on: October 20th, 2010 by: aadvantagegeek

Bonus time.
Bonus Time by Henry Faber on Flickr

American Airlines and Points.com are offering a bonus of 20% more AAdvantage miles for every trade from now till December 15, 2010.  Here are the details:

Promotional Terms and Conditions
The 20% bonus applies only to trades that you post within the offer period of October 15, 2010 to December 15, 2010 and that are accepted by someone else within the offer period, or that have been posted by someone else during the offer period and that you accept within the offer period. The bonus miles will be applied in a separate transaction to your account after completion of the trade transaction. This offer is subject to change or termination at any time without prior notice.

I’ve got 30,000 Delta SkyMiles I’d like to convert into AAdvantage miles.  There’s no direct SkyMiles to AAdvantage conversion, so the only way to turn those Delta miles  into something I can use is to institute a trade with someone on points.com.  The problem is that SkyMiles are so devalued and difficult to redeem, that for 20,000 SkyMiles and $200 I’ll get only 6,000 AAdvantage miles in a trade (5,000 base miles plus 1,000 bonus miles).  I can buy 6,000 miles for $180.  The points.com offer might be a good deal for someone, but definitely not for me or anyone else stuck worthless SkyMiles (the Confederate Currency of frequent flyer miles).

All the details here.

« previous home top