I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting that much from our first trip with Frontier Airlines. Sharon and I will avoid ULCC (Ultra Low Cost Carriers) whenever possible. However, for our trip to Knoxville, the stars aligned and our options were a 10-hour drive each way or taking a 90-minute flight on Frontier. I figured out contingency plans for flights (what could we do if our outbound or return flight was canceled) and since we’d always have options available, I was allowed (Note from Sharon – yes, really…”allowed.” I would never let him book on Frontier before this trip LOL!) to go ahead and book the flights. I’ve already posted about the booking experience, so here’s what it’s like to fly on Frontier. Continue reading “Why Flying With Frontier Is Better Than Basic Economy”
“Points/Miles Never Expire” is a phrase you’ll see in advertisements from airline loyalty programs. While technically true, there’s a big caveat in that statement that could end up costing you all of your miles. What they actually mean is your points will not expire as long as your account remains active. What constitutes an active account? Well, that depends on which program you’re talking about.
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.
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.
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.
For years, Spirit Airlines has been dead last, or nearly so, in just about every sort of airline category you could think of. From May 2015 through May 2016, they ranked last in their flights being “on time” in every single month except one. They had a LOT of cancelled flights. They’ve had complaints and sometimes even class action lawsuits and fines regarding customer service, deceptive advertising practices, how they treated customers with disabilities, working conditions for employees, and the list goes on and on. They’ve been the airline that people loved to hate and even their flight attendants became known for making self-deprecating jokes about Spirit (some of them were/are really funny!).
This continued until former Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza stepped down in early 2016 and was replaced by former AirTrain CEO Robert Fornaro. Since then, Spirit has slowly been inching up in quality, with improvements to working conditions and the guest experience, implementing multiple changes such as teaming up with Disney to create new service standards, and changing policies to create a more welcoming environment.
But has it been enough?