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US Airways aircraft front 1 (Photo: Airbus S.A.S. )

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Frequent flyer program sign-up bonuses are a thing of the past.

Except at US Airways, that is. Maybe they didn't get the memo.

Offer Details

Through March 31, new Dividend Miles members who cite promotion code TF11 when enrolling in the program will earn 2,000 bonus miles.

New members who qualify for the sign-up promotion will earn another 2,000 bonus miles if they purchase a US Airways flight within 30 days of enrollment....read more»

Man working at computer (Photo: Index Open)

It's easy to be overwhelmed by natural disasters of the scope and scale of Japan's recent earthquake and tsunami. What to do? When? How?

My own tendency is to obsess on NYT.com coverage and NPR updates, with a vague sense of frustration that while I'm not part of the problem, neither am I part of the solution.

And then I snap out of it and remind myself: What I can do, at a minimum, is help the helpers.

But which helpers?...read more»

Photo: Index Open

What's better than a discount or a bonus? How about a discount and a bonus?

The latest addition to United's Mileage Plus Shopping mall is Groupon, the popular website that offers daily discounts from local businesses in many larger U.S. cities.

Offer Details

Mileage Plus members who participate in Mileage Plus Shopping can now earn six miles per $1 spent at Groupon....read more»

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The travel rewards credit card space has been awash in generous customer-acquisition promotions, including recent sign-up bonuses of as much as 100,000 miles for cards linked to the programs of American and British Airways.

As high as it's been, the bar has now been raised even higher.

CapitalOne is making an aggressive pitch for its Venture rewards credit card, offering to match up to 100,000 miles earned with competing airline-linked cards, in addition to its standard 10,000-mile bonus after spending at least $1,000 during the first three months.

That translates into a potential total bonus of 110,000 miles—the most I've ever seen....read more»

United New Plane (Photo: United Airlines)

The frequent flyer programs of United and Continental won't be consolidated into a single program until next year.

But in the long run-up to merging the programs, they have been brought gradually into alignment, accentuating their similarities and toning down their differences.

And now, members of the two programs may freely transfer their miles from one program to the other. And back again.

Delta and Northwest did somewhat the same thing, allowing members of either program to move their miles into the other, well in advance of fully merging their operations in late 2009. There was even a bonus offered for doing so.

While United and Continental aren't breaking new ground with mileage transfers, what they've done with elite miles is new, and newsworthy....read more»

Woman waiting for plane to depart (Photo: Index Open)

Alaska Airlines has a history of discounting the price of frequent flyer awards on its own flights.

This is another in a long line of such deals, with a difference.

Offer Details

Through March 31, Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan members can earn (save?) 2,500 miles when redeeming miles for award flights on Delta. Award flights must be completed by February 20, 2012.

In Alaska's program, Delta offers awards in restricted coach (25,000 miles) or first class (50,000 miles), but only on domestic flights....read more»

Travelers packing up convertible

Just when you thought the hotel promotion pipeline had run dry, there's this from Choice hotels.

Offer Details

Through May 4, Choice Privileges members will earn 8,000 points for two stays at Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, Ascend Collection, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Econo Lodge, or Rodeway Inn hotels. (Qualifying stays at MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Econo Lodge, and Rodeway Inn hotels must be at least two consecutive nights each.)

Non-elite members must book their stays at choicehotels.com or 1-800-4CHOICE. Elite members may book through any channel.

The proffered 8,000 points include the points normally earned for the qualifying stays, plus enough bonus points to bring the total to 8,000. What's so special about 8,000 points? Choice's website highlights a $50 gas card, available through July 31 for 8,000 points. But in the Privileges program, there are also a substantial number of hotels that offer a free night for 8,000 or fewer points. So it would be fair to position this as a "free night after two stays" offer....read more»

Man looking at guide book (Photo: Index Open)

Last week, Marriott published a partial list of award-price changes scheduled to take effect on March 8, advising readers that "approximately 100 hotels will decrease by one category and approximately 350 hotels will increase by one category."

Strangely, rather than make the announcement on its main website, Marriott disclosed the information on an independent website, FlyerTalk, and on its Marriott Rewards Insiders site, an relatively unknown "online travel community for Marriott Rewards members," still in beta, that requires logging in as a Marriott Rewards member to access.

Bad news, incompletely disclosed, discreetly communicated—it had the earmarks of a corporation burying the bad news. That was certainly the effect, intended or not....read more»

Travel brochures (Photo: IndexOpen)

For Priority Club Rewards members who consider the program's recurring award discounts one of its signature benefits, the previous PointBreaks offering was a letdown.

Only 55 of InterContinental's portfolio of more than 4,500 hotels were on the list of properties offering free nights for 5,000 points. And of those, only 31 were in the U.S.

This time, Priority Club has gone a long way toward redeeming itself, with almost double the number of participating PointBreaks hotels....read more»

JetBlue Airplane in Sunset (Photo: JetBlue Airlines)

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Got points in JetBlue's TrueBlue program? Wanna get away?

If you're ready to commit now—as in today, March 1, 2011—you can book JetBlue award flights for travel between May 1 and May 25 for 30 percent fewer points.

The discount applies to any JetBlue award flight and any fare class, and may be applied to multiple awards. The one restriction: "Award Flights cannot be discounted below 5,000 points."

Award discounts aren't a regular feature of TrueBlue, so this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity....read more»

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