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The Year in Review: Top 10 Reader Favorites for 2012

Over the past 12 months, we’ve published close to 1,000 articles, covering a wide range of mileage-program and general travel topics.

As you might expect, the most-read articles were those focused on the largest airlines, with the largest programs: United, Southwest, and American. (Sorry, Delta.) Popular subjects were award-seat availability, credit-card bonuses, elite perks, and mileage-purchase bonuses.

And out of left field, currently at no. five and still rising in the rankings, came an article detailing the pet peeves of flight attendants. Which, it turns out, largely concerned the boorish behavior of airline passengers.

Here they are, beginning with the most-read post of 2012.

1. Got Elite Status? United Will Match it

Throughout 2012, MileagePlus members with elite status from another airline could enjoy equivalent status with United for three months and retain that status for the rest of 2012.

Although there’s no way of confirming this, the strong response certainly raises the question whether elite members of United’s primary competitors, American and Delta, are especially interested in jumping ship. American, of course, is in bankruptcy, and its future remains a concern for many veteran flyers. And Delta is widely believed to be developing a revenue-based loyalty program (along the lines of Southwest’s) to replace SkyMiles, a move that is sure to raise the hackles of some road warriors.

2. The Most (and Least) Generous Frequent Flyer Programs

A report issued in May showed which airlines make the most award seats available to frequent flyers trying to redeem their miles.

As we opined at the time:

Although there has been some improvement in the results, it’s been modest at best. Of the top four U.S. airline programs, three still show award-booking success rates below 50 percent. And while some airlines do indeed offer alternatives to flight awards, they tend to be of subpar value. Award availability remains the elephant in the room of frequent flyer programs.

3. New Fees Set to Tarnish Southwest’s Image

In setting new fees for 2013, Southwest’s managers are betting they can simultaneously erode Southwest’s goodwill quotient while boosting its profitability.

Sounds like magical thinking to us.

4. Dude, Give Me Back My 200 Million Frequent Flyer Miles!

A new lawsuit alleges that two airline mileage malls bilked users out of 200 million frequent flyer miles. The companies say they’re not responsible.

Who’s in the right?

5. Are You One of Flight Attendants’ Top 10 Peeves?

Air rage isn’t just for passengers. Flight attendants go ballistic too. And you may be one of the reasons they do.

6. British Airways’ Big Credit Card Bonus Is Back

Through February 27, 2013, new customers for the Chase-issued British Airways Visa Signature credit card can earn up to 100,000 Executive Club miles.

7. How to Survive the United-Continental Merger

On March 3, United’s new MileagePlus program consolidated and replaced the current Continental and United programs.

Did you survive the merger with your miles intact?

8. True or False: United Is “#1 in Award Seat Availability”?

United’s new ad campaign features the following headline: “We’re #1 in award seat availability among U.S. global carriers.”

Do you agree?

9. American’s 50% Buy-Miles Bonus Is its Best Ever

For the first time ever, American upped the bonus for buying AAdvantage miles to as much as a respectable 50 percent.

For some, it was Merry Christmas; for others, just meh.

10. Is the Credit Card Rewards Bubble Set to Burst?

Changes to the way banks charge merchants to accept credit card payments could make today’s lucrative mileage bonuses financially unfeasible.


Reader Reality Check

What was the most important travel story of the year for you?

This article originally appeared on

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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