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Delta soups up SkyMile perks, now allows rollover miles

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hot on the heels of United's announcement to drop fees for "last minute" awards tickets, Delta chimes in with changes to their own frequent flyer SkyMiles rewards.

First up, passengers who earn 125,000 miles (or fly 140 segments per calendar year) will receive Diamond Medallion Status, membership to Delta Sky Club, 125% mileage bonus for select purchases, and fee waivers for baggage and award tickets. Platinum and Gold Medallion members are also exempt from booking fees via telephone, online, or in person.

Delta has also applied a rollover policy to account miles, allowing members to retain whatever miles earned above their particular Medallion status at the end of the year. There's no limit on how many miles you may rollover, so go wild.

For more info on Delta's SkyMile Medallion program, visit



To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Categories: Airline Industry News


Virgin America Sale

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Virgin America is having a sale on summer/fall travel, with fares ranging from $49 each way to $119 each way. This sale is valid for travel from August 18 - November 18, and fares include:

San Francisco to Seattle $98 round-trip

Seattle to Las Vegas $138 round-trip

All bookings must be complete by August 11. For more info, visit the Virgin America site.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

United cans fee for last minute award tickets!

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, July 27, 2009

A change to frequent flyer policy that won't totally enrage and annoy you?! Well I'll be a monkey's cankle!

United has announced that they will scrap (yes, we repeat, SCRAP) the fee for Mileage Plus Award tickets booked less than 21 days in advance. Look for the new rule to take effect July 30.

Can we expect more carriers to step up and shed annoying loyalty program fees? Stay tuned.


To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Categories: Domestic US Fares

JetBlue sale saves the best stuff for their own site

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, July 27, 2009

JetBlue may share their fares with the O.T.A.'s, even discounted sale fares like today's But Wait, There's More! Sale. But does that mean the sale price you see on Orbitz or Kayak is the same you'll find on JetBlue's site? Uh, no. Not quite.

Take, for example, Boston to Buffalo. We checked this route on both Kayak as well as Orbitz, and found it listed for $119 round-trip with taxes, as part of the current JetBlue sale.

Not bad, but when we check the same dates, same sale on JetBlue, we get a fare of $79 round-trip, including taxes.


JetBlue is beating their own sale price by $40! See? Yet another case of airlines saving their best fares for their own site.


To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Categories: Domestic US Fares

Fall Sale from Singapore Airlines

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, July 27, 2009

Singapore Airlines is having a sale on fall travel to select destinations, including Singapore, Denpasar, Tokyo, Manila, Phnom Penh, Jakarta, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi.

Fares must be purchased by August 7 and include:

Houston to Bangkok $781 round-trip, incl. all taxes

Houston to Hanoi $775 round-trip, incl. all taxes

Houston to Manila $761 round-trip, incl. all taxes

New York to Bangkok $831 round-trip, incl. all taxes

New York to Bali/Denpasar $811 round-trip, incl. all taxes

New York to Singapore $776 round-trip, incl. all taxes

Los Angeles to Jakarta $761 round-trip, incl. all taxes

Los Angeles to Tokyo $473 round-trip, incl. all taxes

Los Angeles to Phnom Penh $775 round-trip, incl. all taxes

San Francisco to Delhi $919 round-trip, incl. all taxes

San Francisco to Kuala Lumpur $775 round-trip, incl. all taxes

San Francisco to Singapore $726 round-trip, incl. all taxes


To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Categories: Asia/Australasia Airfares

Recent kudos from our email

Posted by George Hobica on Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oh, we get complaints, too. But every day we get some nice comments as well. So if you're new to Airfarewatchdog, or are thinking of signing up for our free service, have a read.


Airfare Watchdog is quickly becoming a premiere website for finding excellent, current air fares.
Keep up the good work!

Just wanted to say thank you for the timely updates. Because of your newsletter I was able to talk my sister into coming on a trip with me. Just the day before she said no because flights were too expensive. But Airfarewatchdog came to the rescue! THANKS!

Thanks to you.  I got cheap fares ($157 RT ORD to FFL)
through your alert.  I bought 5 tickets yesterday.
Thanks again.


I love your site - always helpful! I just saved $100 on a flight from Newark to Charleston. Thank you!

Because of your site I have been able to go to: Portland, Maine Indiana, Indianapolis Nashville, Tennessee Fez, Morocco Prague, Czech Rep Budapest, Hungary Paris, France Barcelona, Spain Munich, Germany London, England Koln, Germany Madrid, Spain Chicago, Illinois Brussels, Belgium Manchester, New Hampshire Boston, Massachusetts Tampa, Florida in the last 3 years and if I didn't have a desk job, I would've gone to more places. Some people need their morning coffee to get started, I need my Airfarewatchdog. Thanks, Thanks, Thanks!

this is a fabulous guys are the best..... what a great service you are providing thanx

Most of us now get our information "on line" as opposed to "on paper."  My days are already too busy and I hate spending time wading through piles of unnecessary advertising to get to the one tiny kernel of  information I actually need.  Airfare Watchdog is the only web site not flooding me with mountains of  unasked and unwanted information.  What you send is exactly what I asked to receive.  It is such a simple concept. Yet, it amazes me how other companies involved with marketing/information  can't seem to get it.  What you send is concise, unbiased and very specific. It has saved me a small fortune.  I wish other companies disseminating information would realize that most times, less is more.  I always look forward to your occasional e-mails because I know I will  find information that is pertinent to the areas of interest to me.  Time is money. Airfare Watchdog has saved me money on travel and  hours of time looking for that special fare.  Double kudos are in order!

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Categories: Airfarewatchdog News

American Airlines raises checked bag fee by $5

Posted by George Hobica on Saturday, July 25, 2009

Effective for tickets bought on or after Aug 14, you'll pay $20 for the first bag and $30 for the second, unless you're exempt by frequent flyer status, military duty, or class of service. Other airlines recently raised their fees by $5, but allowed a discount if you paid the fee online. American is raising its fees, period.

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Categories: Airline Industry News

They're at it again... predicting airfares!

Posted by George Hobica on Friday, July 24, 2009

Here's the latest, which I saw in Newsday. They may be right, but they've been wrong in the past. One thing is for absolute certain. These folks are far braver than I am!

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Categories: Airline Industry News

No frequent flyer redemption fees with Delta Reserve Credit Card?

Posted by George Hobica on Friday, July 24, 2009

I just got my statement for the Delta Reserve card, which costs an arm and a leg in annual fees, but gives you all kinds of benefits, such as club lounge access and up to 30,000 Medallion qualification miles per year, depending on how much you spend. On the statement in big bold letters I saw "No Award Redemption Fees"... meaning if you book a frequent flyer ticket 21 days or fewer ahead of flying they won't charge you the usual $150.


You also won't have to pay the $25 partner award fee.


But when I surfed over to as suggested, there's no such page. Can anyone find the page or know anything about this?

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Categories: Airline Industry News

11 airline fees you've never heard of...but that you could see soon.

Posted by George Hobica on Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yes, it's true: more airline fees. American recently raised its first and second bag fees by $5, and no you don't get a discount for booking online, as you do with Continental, US Air, Delta, and United, all of which also raised their fees by $5. There's now a $50 to $55 second bag fee for flights to Europe, charged by most major airlines. But are more fees on the way? We think so.
If past experience is any indicator, Airfarewatchdog fears that several new ones could be tacked on to your fare, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday, soon, and for the rest of your flying life. The question is probably more when, than if. There are even rumors that Southwest, the lone holdout on baggage fees, may change course if it continues to lose money. After all, they did recently add that $10 each way priority boarding fee.
Airlines are making lots of money charging fees for checked baggage, ticket changes, frequent flyer programs and other services (see our updated chart), a lesson they learned from discount carriers in Europe, such as Ryanair and easyJet (at least Ryanair puts every single one of its fees in one handy chart, something that we wish all airlines would do). But these foreign carriers charge for services that would seem unimaginable in the US--until, that is, you start seeing them on your credit card. And if Ryanair ever flies to the US, which it keeps threatening to do, that may embolden US carriers to emulate them further.
No, you probably will never see a charge for using the onboard lavatories, at least not in the US (Ryanair insists they're serious about adding one) or for overweight passengers (another Ryanair threat). But here are 11 fees we won't be surprised to be paying as US airlines continue to lose millions....and learn from foreign-based low cost carriers.
1. In person airport check in. As of October 1, 2009, Ryanair eliminated airport check-in desks. You'll have to print your own boarding pass (fee: £5, or about $8). Misplace your boarding pass? No worries, Ryanair will gladly reissue at the airport for £40. (Pass in hand, you bring your luggage to a "bag drop" desk.) Will US airlines be watching this bold move very carefully? What do you think? Ditching check in counters would allow US airlines to eliminate staff and save millions. 
2. Online check in. As noted, Ryanair already charges £5 for this, and since you may soon have to check in online, there's no way around it. Or how about a "discount" for using an airport kiosk to check in, which would amount to paying a fee if you check in any other way?
3. Paying with a credit card. Several European airlines charge a fee for this already, and also charge (albeit a bit less) for debit card purchases. Only way around this is to pay with cash (not so hard to do with those $2 Ryanair fares). Maybe no fee if you use the airline's co-branded credit card?
4. Priority boarding fee. Pay a little bit extra (maybe $5) and after the parents with small children and elite frequent flyer members get boarded, you're next, with early dibs at the overhead bins.
5. Booking on line. One US airline, Allegiant, already charges for online bookings, as well as for phone bookings (only way to avoid a fee is to pay at the airport). They call it a convenience fee. Whose convenience, exactly?
6. Advanced seat selection. British Airways recently shocked the aviation world by charging a fee for advance seat assignments even for business class passengers. Several US and foreign discount carriers, including Allegiant of course, already charge for this perk. We wouldn't be surprised to see other airlines follow suit. 
7. More frequent flyer fees. You already pay to cash in miles on short notice, to redeposit those miles if you don't use them, to change your frequent flyer ticket itinerary and for other "services". How about a fee to preserve frequent flyer miles when there's no activity in your account (say per mile fee to protect miles from expiring, although you can do this if you make a purchase with the airlines' online shopping malls or use an airline credit card among other methods). Except for Delta, the big US carriers already charge hefty co-payments to upgrade from economy to business class (in addition to miles), and next year, United will start charging 
as well.
8. Name change fees. As long as you give notice far in enough in advance, might the airlines let you transfer a ticket you can't use to another person for a fee ($100? $150?). Ryanair, surprise, charges for this.
9. Carry on bag fee. They charge for checked bags, so why not for cabin luggage? This might actually help flights board faster, and save airlines money from time lost on the ground.
10. Infant fee. No more free rides on domestic flights for those lap riders 2 years and under. Ryanair currently charges £20 (about $33) per child. Airlines already charge 10 percent of the adult fare for infants on international flights.
11. Surcharges for musical instruments. Anyone who has seen that video about the broken guitar will understand why Ryanair charges £30 (about $50) for checking a musical instrument. Probably has something to do with the liability of transporting these fragile items. Or maybe, just maybe, it's to boost the bottom line.

There is some good news on fees, although it's not much. United and Delta recently lowered their in-cabin pet fees, and United eliminated its last minute frequent flyer "cash in" fee. But these reductions are the exception, not the rule, as airlines grapple for revenue any way they can.

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

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