Bulk Fares on @Delta, @United, and @American

Earlier this week Enoch of PointMeToThePlane shared the results of an experiment where he used the Citi ThankYou points portal to pay for part of an American Airlines ticket. While not something unusual at first glance, Enoch pointed out that the earning was based on the distance flown instead of the amount spent. Interestingly enough, the qualifying spend was also based on the distance flown. The reason for this is that the ticket is a special fare.

American is by no means unique in offering special fares. In fact, United and Delta also have these fares. The frustrating thing is that it isn’t always clear what kind of fare you are buying, particularly with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), because the fare type is different from the fare code. Bulk fares like this will still have the same letters you are used to seeing when purchasing tickets directly from the airline.

Julian over at FrequentMiler expanded on this information in the blog’s Devil’s Advocate column. You can see charts for the fares discussed on each airline’s website. These charts are also below, and each is accompanied by a link to the exception fare page for the respective airline.

American Airlines Exception Fares
American Airlines Exception Fares


United Airlines Exception Fares
United Airlines Exception Fares


Delta Airlines Exception Fares
Delta Airlines Exception Fares

While this might seem appealing, especially to earn more miles on cheap fares, be very careful with these bookings. As you might notice with the links above, the spend earning rate is sometimes 0% of the miles flown (as with United for non premium fares).

Another dangerous thing is that when you book using an OTA, you might wind up buying a ‘basic’ fare. Rene at RenesPoints detailed his experience comparing the prices at OTAs with what is offered from the airline, you sometimes don’t receive any warning in your booking. Like Citi, Chase allows you to spend their rewards points to buy tickets through their online portal. Rene pointed out that when booking this way, you don’t receive any warning that the ticket you are buying is Basic Economy.

@Delta to Upgrade RDU-CDG Flight

Google Now just informed me that there has been talk of Delta replacing the 757 that is currently being used to connect Raleigh-Durham, NC (RDU) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) with a 767. This would be a pretty big improvement in the quality of flight for passengers. Delta’s Pink Force One is an example of a 767, though it is a -400, not a -300 as I would expect to bridge RDU and CDG.

Pink Force One: N845MH / DAL86
Pink Force One: N845MH / DAL86

While the Delta One seats in the 757 are lie-flat, they lack the lumbar massage option that the 767 and Airbus 330 offer. After being in a seat for a prolonged period of time, I can vouch for how helpful these can be! This also means more Delta One seats, and hopefully better uses for Global Upgrade Certificates. The 767, being a wide-body aircraft, allows for aisle access from all Delta One seats, so you don’t have to worry about stepping over anyone if you need to get up and stretch. Again – an improvement from the 757 currently serving this route.

Courtesy of the Great Circle Mapper
Courtesy of the Great Circle Mapper

Right now Delta is only planning on this being a seasonal upgrade, but I hope it sticks around. RDU flyers can expect to see this change in the Spring of 2017, slated to start on May 25th.

Seat Maps

You can see seatmaps for these planes on SeatGuru. Though it isn’t clear which variant of the 767-300/-400 will be used, there isn’t too much change in what you can expect as a flyer.

Boeing 767-300

Boeing 767-400

Boeing 757 Lie-Flat

@Delta and @JetAirways Reciprocity


Stefan from RapidTravelChai noted that in the near future, the partnership between Jet Airways and Air France/KLM will be expanding to include Delta! Near the bottom of the article, found here, is this tidbit:

Air France-KLM Flying Blue members are already eligible to earn and redeem miles on all routes operated by Jet Airways and vice versa.  Soon, Delta SkyMiles and Jet Airways’ Jet Privilege members will also enjoy network-wide, reciprocal mileage earning and redemption privileges.

To add to the fun, this could mean new destinations for Delta.

Subject to government approvals, Delta’s customers connecting through Paris and Amsterdam to Mumbai and New Delhi will have codeshare access to 20 onward destinations in India  served by Jet Airways.  After government approvals, new Delta codeshare destinations will include Calicut, Coimbatore, Goa, Indore, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mangalore, Pune, Trivandrum and Vadodara.

Existing Delta destinations available through the Jet Airways codeshare are: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi.

Air France-KLM customers departing from Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol currently have access to 10 codeshare destinations across India such as, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata and Mumbai.

As well as new destinations for Jet Airways customers to the US through Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schipol. Check the article above for a full list of destinations

Jet Airways A330-300

I’m hoping to take advantage of this sooner rather than later, especially with family still in India. I greatly prefer Jet Airways to other airlines in India – even though their planes aren’t the newest, they have a much more attentive cabin crew and they have meals even for short flights, and even in coach. Talk about a rarity !

@United – Last Seat Availability

Greg over at FrequentMiler recently shared his experience with United’s Last Seat Availability guarantee that he received thanks to his Marriott status (Marriott’s Platinum status grants you Silver with United, once you link the accounts), and that reminded me that since the acquisition of SPG by Marriott went through on Friday, those who had SPG Platinum would also have this once they linked their accounts!

United Benefits
United Benefits

If you don’t have status with United (or SPG/Marriott), don’t worry – you can still get access to this feature with United’s credit card through Chase. In fact, Greg goes on to detail a few other very helpful perks offered by a variety of credit cards that cardholders might not know to take advantage of. Though some of them won’t apply in the near future, such as Citi Prestige’s golf, the list is a good resource for those wanting to make the most of their cards.

Don’t forget to link your accounts – you never know when you will need to buy a last minute ticket!

@Bourdain and @POTUS – Bun Cha, Bringing the World Together

I just read an interesting piece from Roads & Kingdoms where they got to talk to Anthony Bourdain about his most recent Parts Unknown episode. This episode is special because President Obama reached out to Bourdain to dine with him. Instead of opting for an environment that the Secret Service would likely approve of more, the two of them adventured to a family-run Bun Cha establishment.

Image by Pete Souza
Image by Pete Souza

Bourdain recounts how moving the public’s response was the next day – they were proud and touched that someone like the President would do something they do. I love the idea of a world leader rubbing elbows with the working class, and it really grounds his image. In fact, my favorite part of the interview was when Bourdain was asked how he felt:

Bourdain: He’s so smooth, loosey-goosey, cool; he was lovely. At one point I asked him, “Do you ever miss just being able to go out in the afternoon and have a beer in an old man bar, just put a sad song on on the jukebox?” He looks up at me, smiles, and says, “In about six months.”

Many of Anthony Bourdain’s works, No Reservations and Parts Unknown in particular, are responsible for my wanderlust. I love the fact that you see not only the glitz and the glamour, but also how regular people survive in the various locales. He keeps the politics out of it and shows you what a country is like through his camera lens, and he doesn’t pull any punches in the process. I highly recommend watching the No Reservations special on Beirut. I can say, without a doubt, it is what got me hooked on the series.

Great @VirginAtlantic Premium Economy Sale!

If you are looking to fly to London, now is the time! While this sale is limited to the NYC and DC area, you can fly Virgin Atlantic’s Premium Economy to London!

Like Domestic First...
Like Domestic First…
...But with real food!
…But with real food!

The icing on the cake is that American Express currently has an offer where if you spend $1,000 or more with Virgin Atlantic, you receive a statement credit of $200! Since the purchase has to be made on the Virgin Atlantic website, and travel must originate in the US, this qualifies if you are buying at least two tickets.

The offer!
The offer!

Like MommyPoints and the FrequentMiler point out, if you are going to do this, jump on it quickly! You can find dates scattered around the calendar through May 2017. Crediting the miles to Delta would allow for extra earnings of both award miles and Medallion Qualifying Miles because of the booked fare, as well.

Check Google Flights and see what works for your calendar! 😀

@Airbus A350-1000 Test Aircraft! #AvGeek

Airbus has their second A350-1000 XWB test aircraft out and about in its new Carbon Livery.

From @Airbus
From @Airbus

With a three-class configuration, it can carry 366 passengers just under 8,000 nautical miles. It’s powered by two Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines that have been custom built for Airbus specifically for this plane. From Airbus’s estimates, the airframe design and engine come together to offer a substantial 25% increase in fuel efficiency to other long-range competitors.

Additional images can be found on Airbus’s website, for those curious!