Our Experience Flying To Austin Airport’s New South Terminal

Austin airport is rapidly expanding to meet the needs of Texas’ capital city. The influx of new industries and the residential development of the surrounding areas left the airport bursting at the seams. Much of the current fanfare surrounded the addition of a new wing to the Barbara Jordan Terminal, adding many new gates and a swanky Delta SkyClub. However, in 2017 the airport was doing anything it could to alleviate the lack of gates.

Their interim solution? The South Terminal.

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A 12 million dollar refurbishment of a building dating back to the airport’s life as the Bergstrom Air Force Base quickly provided the airport with 30,000 square feet and three additional gates.

Now that the airport has completed its expansion, which airlines would be willing to stay at a terminal that’s nowhere close to any of the other airport facilities? Frontier and Allegiant, of course.

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J.D. Power 2019 Report: The Best Airlines In North America

The responses of the annual J.D. Power 2019 North America Airline Satisfaction StudySM have been tabulated and analyzed and the top U.S. airlines have been announced.

We’ll cut to the chase and let you know that Alaska Airlines won first place for traditional carriers for the 12th consecutive year (!!!), and JetBlue and Southwest tied for best of all the low-cost airlines after Southwest grabbed the first place title from JetBlue for 2 years in a row.

Here are the rankings:

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When You Should(n’t) Use Airline Co-Brand Credit Cards To Pay For Airfare

All of the larger airlines in the U.S. offer co-brand credit cards. These cards, which provide extra benefits to cardholders, range from ones with no annual fee to premium cards costing up to $450 per year. While you’d think that using a co-branded card would be the best choice for earning points with your flight purchase, that’s usually not the case. For most airlines, you don’t earn any extra points for airfare purchases for having a more expensive card either.

In most cases, instead of using a co-brand card, it’s better to use a card that earns flexible points like Membership Rewards, Thank You Points or Ultimate Rewards. These cards provide the opportunity to earn more points as well as the flexibility to use points on multiple airlines. You’re able to transfer points from these programs into your airline mileage account when you need them.

Here are the earnings multiples on airfare for the main flexible points cards from each bank:

American Express (Membership Rewards)

  • Platinum card ($550 annual fee) – 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • Gold card ($250 annual fee) – 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel

Chase (Ultimate Rewards)

  • Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee) – 3x points on travel worldwide (including airfares purchased from airlines or travel agencies/websites)
  • Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee) – 2x points on travel worldwide (including airfares purchased from airlines or travel agencies/websites)

Citi (Thank You Points)

  • Citi Prestige ($495 annual fee) – 5x points on purchases at airlines and travel agencies
  • Citi Premier ($95 annual fee) – 3x points on purchases at airlines and travel agencies

The AMEX Platinum and Citi Prestige both offer 5x on airfare but the AMEX card only counts purchases direct from the airline or their website. When I had both cards, I used the Citi Prestige because I valued the additional travel insurance coverage but I know people would rather earn Membership Rewards than Thank You points. Of the $95 cards, the Citi Premier earns the most points on airline purchases at 3x.

So how many miles will you earn by using an airline co-brand card to purchase airfare and when does it make sense to do so? I’ve indicated which airlines are partners of one (or all) of the flexible currency cards so you can compare earnings potential between cards.

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The Reasons We Didn’t Fly on Ryanair and Probably Never Will

We like to poke fun at Ryanair on here every once in a while. After all, looking at how Ryanair operates gives us a welcome break away from being upset about how United, Delta and American are constantly one upping each other with customer unfriendly policies.

I’ve shared the time when the CEO called the customers a bunch of whiners because they didn’t pay for seat assignments. Sharon found what might be the funniest customer complaint letter ever written by a passenger after their experience with Ryanair agents at the airport when they were running late for a flight.

The airline was previously in the news over their decision to cut over 2,000 flights from the schedule over a six week time period. The airline said the cancellations were to increase on-time performance of the airline but it was quickly figured out the cancellations were because they didn’t properly schedule for pilots’ vacations. Even the company CEO has said this situation was handled poorly, while at the same time saying that it was the correct decision to make.

Cancelled Flights board

There was one time when we could have taken a Ryanair flight. Here’s why we considered it (for a split second) and why we still didn’t fly with them.

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The Prices For Flights Drive Me Insane

I’ve booked a fair amount of airfare over the years and always try to get the best price for the flights I want. At first, I used a program called Easy SAABRE (anyone else remember that one?), that linked into the same system used by travel agents to book flights. I remember the amazement in my travel agent’s voice when I’d call her and feed her the flights I wanted to take and told her what the price should come out to be.

Alas, the days of IBM PC computers, 2400 baud modems and airlines changing fares once a week are long gone. Now prices can change from one second to the next, depending if there’s a difference of any one of many factors that go into the formula the airlines use to set their price.

So how do you beat the system?

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