The (Last Two) Week(s) in Review

We are excited for Frequent Traveler University this weekend, mostly for the free coffee at Starbucks courtesy of Million Mile Secrets. Look out for our review next week.

Speaking of Million Mile Secrets, this week they taught us how to use elite traveler security lines by fooling the TSA with a flashy frequent flyer card. The comments section of the post heated up quickly, with people throwing around fighting words as they tend to only do anonymously on the internet. Our favorite comment was by E, and we quote: “OK Seems some incentive is needed for the loser line cutters. When i’m in the line (Either one) and I see Darious and or Emily i will call them out in Pubic.” That’s taking it a bit far, don’t you think?

Everybody is talking about getting rid of virgins by way of a Hilton, or something like that. Kinda reminds us of high school.

In a feat we didn’t think possible, The Points Guy runs through some ways in which Delta’s Skymiles program could get even worse.

In case you somehow hadn’t heard, THE CHASE FREEDOM CATEGORIES FOR 2013 ARE NOW AVAILABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thankfully, our dealer was recently reclassified as a “drugstore,” so the first quarter is already looking good for our Ultimate Rewards balance.

The Mr. Pickles is back to blogging. As practitioners of the occasional blogging hiatus ourselves, we understand the need for a break, but it is very good to have him back. Here he reminds us of an oldy but goody (and unfortunately deady). We used the diamond ring thing to prank propose to numerous girlfriends. They didn’t think it was funny, but we earned a lot of points.

The Points Guy outlines a fairly surefire way to get your PayPal account shut down, in case anyone was looking to do that without actually having to contact PayPal.

Frequent Miler issues a rare review of card benefits specifically for domestic travel, and an even rarer trip report. We find the comparison of Delta and Cathay Pacific downright offensive, but then again, we haven’t flown Delta since they updated their award booking procedures.

Last, but by no means least, the Points Envy travel blog contest will close at 5pm PST today. Winners will probably be announced sometime in the next week, or at some point after that.


Debate Over Redeeming for Domestic Awards Turns Violent

An ugly incident marred the frequent flyer community yesterday when the debate over whether travelers should use miles for domestic awards turned violent. Most of our readers are familiar with the general landscape: some argue that points should only be redeemed for expensive international tickets in first or business class because it achieves maximum value, while others think redeeming for domestic awards makes sense because it saves cash that would otherwise be used to purchase tickets.

In this latest incident, things reportedly got heated in the business class cabin of a Delta plane after Joseph Gerhard casually mentioned to his seat neighbor Steve Elkin that he had redeemed SkyMiles for his business class seat from Philadelphia to Atlanta. Elkin, a Diamond Medallion member, immediately became abrasive and began to lecture Gerhard on his “idiocy” in “throwing away” miles on such an award.

According to eyewitnesses, the passengers continued to argue for several minutes, with Elkin loudly reciting a list of premium international award tickets he had booked and Gerhard noting that he preferred to save money on routes he “was going to fly anyway.” Much of the disagreement was lost on the other passengers, but its intensity became clear when Elkin allegedly slapped Gerhard in the face and charged that he “wouldn’t know the difference between a stopover and an open jaw if [his] life depended on it.” Fortunately, several of the poorer passengers quickly stepped in and the men were assigned different seats.

On the ground, Elkin continued to boast to Delta representatives and police that he had not redeemed miles for a domestic ticket in over seven years, repeatedly yelling, “Only amateurs do that s**t!” Gerhard could not be reached for comment on his redemption strategy. While we are sure the debate will continue, we truly hope future disagreements will at least be more civil. In-flight duels anyone?

New Delta Award Booking System To Make You Jump Through Hoops

As many in the frequent flyer community have noted over the years,’s award booking system is broken. After fielding customer complaints and seeing bad press on the subject for so long, Delta is finally introducing a new award booking system, and with it comes good news and bad news. The good news is that low-level awards in both business and economy class will be far more plentiful.

The bad news is that whereas the old booking system required trickery, persistence, and sorcery, the new system makes you jump through hoops – literally. And when we say “literally,” we don’t mean an emphatic “figuratively,” we mean that you can reserve an itinerary on Delta’s site but then must head to the nearest ticketing office and jump through multiple hoops in order to complete the booking.
Flaming hoop

What would you do for BusinessElite?

“We listened to our customers’ complaints about lack of low-level award availability, and I’m proud to say that our low-level award inventory is better than it has ever been,” says Delta Award Booking VP John DiMazzo. “Now our customers can easily redeem their hard-earned SkyMiles for the flights they want. It’s all about the freedom.”

Nice try John, but if anything this is another example of Delta disrespecting our American ways.

Op-Ed: Why Does Delta Hate America?

United Airlines. American Airlines. American Eagle. US Airways. Virgin America. There is one thing all of these airlines have in common: their names pay homage to the best country in the world. According to historical reports, Lee Greenwood was on an American Eagle flight when he was inspired to write God Bless the USA.

Now consider the name “Delta Airlines.” In stark contrast to our aforementioned patriotic brethren, Delta’s name not only omits reference to its American heritage, but it also sounds like some geometry or math term that no blue-blooded American should ever have to think about. To make matters worse, Delta is a key member in what is clearly the most anti-American of all alliances: SkyTeam. Need we remind you that this “Red Alliance” includes Aeroflot, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Vietnam Airlines and Air France. There are even Czechs and Romanians thrown in there, and God only knows what kind of hatred they harbor towards our beloved country. Please also note the “teamwork” implied in the alliance’s name, a clear euphemism for socialism.

On top of all this, Delta merged a while back with Northwest, the only other legacy carrier with an un-American name and red tail logos. Compare this to US Airways’ acquisition of America West, and you do the math. Let’s let Delta know they need to get with the stars and stripes if they want to earn our hard-earned American currency. At this point, the only reasonable step Delta can take to prove its patriotism is to officially replace its name with an image of the American flag. Informally, of course, we can call it “the airline formerly known as Delta.” Keep American skies American dammit!