American Airlines eliminated their $75 award fee for booking with 21 days, United Airlines is restricting lounge access at their partner lounges to Polaris, a new hack for Asia Miles, Emirates is launching Premium Economy in late 2020, and Royal Air Maroc is joining OneWorld on April 1, 2020.
American Airlines Eliminates $75 Close In Booking Fee
American Airlines has eliminated the $75 fee for booking within 21 days of departure. The fee was waived for all elite members, but now the fee is waived for all AAdvantage members.
That $75 fee was why many people resorted to using British Airways Avios to book last-minute flights on American Airlines.
United Airlines recently eliminated its close-in booking fee but then introduced a mileage surcharge of up to 7,000 miles on a round-trip flight. Delta also eliminated a close-in booking fee but also increased the number of miles.
It will be interesting to see over time if American Airlines introduces a mileage surcharge or keeps their cheap “Web Specials” in place for last minute flights like the last minute flight above that has a cash price of $425, but only costs 5,000 AAdvantage miles (8.5 cents per point).
However, American Airlines is known for imitating what Delta and United do, so it seems more likely than not, American Airlines introduces some kind of mileage surcharge for close-in bookings.
United Airlines Restricts Lounge Access
United Airlines added the above language to their Lounge Locations page, allowing only Polaris business class passengers from access many partner (non-Star Alliance) lounges.
You can see the list of partner lounges affected by clicking the link above and then scrolling down and selecting “Partner Lounges.” It looks like about 25% of the partner lounges are also accessible with Priority Pass, so that can be an option as well.
- Emirates will be launching Premium Economy on their A380s and 777-300ER aircraft starting in November 2020. The seats will have 38 inches of legroom, more recline, a bigger screen, and better food and drinks. [Executive Traveler]
- Royal Air Maroc, based in Casablanca, finalized the date of April 1, 2020, to officially join the OneWorld airline alliance, which will open up a lot of destinations to western Africa that are not served by the OneWorld Alliance.
- British Airways announced they will be refreshing their lounges in Chicago, Edinburgh, and Berlin, which should be finished by the end of spring of 2020. British Airways says that the Chicago lounge “will have a lighter and more relaxing atmosphere for customers with new décor, flooring and furnishings. There will be more charging ports, built into new marble tables, as well as specially crafted chairs to help customers to relax. In terms of dining, there will be redesigned serving stations which will continue to offer customers a wide range of local and international cuisines.”
- The American Express Centurion lounges will start using optional facial recognition for lounge access. It might be helpful if you forget your card, but most desk agents can look up your account and confirm your card membership. [DOC]
- South African Airways is attempting to sell nine Airbus A340s and 15 spare engines in a fundraising attempt. Many of the aircraft are in in active service between South Africa and Frankfurt, New York, Munich, and Perth. [Simple Flying]
- American Airlines is adding an Airbus A330-200 on the Charlotte to San Juan, Puerto Rico route, which has lie-flat business class for the 3 hour flight. [Routes Online]
Deals and Points News
- Radisson Rewards has a new promotion where you can earn up to 150,000 bonus points. To maximize the promotion you would need to complete 15 stays:
- Complete two (2) Stays, earn 5,000 Bonus Points when the second Eligible Stay is completed.
- Complete three (3) Stays, earn 10,000 additional Bonus Points (totaling 15,000 Bonus Points) when the third Eligible Stay is completed.
- Complete five (5) Stays, earn 15,000 additional Bonus Points (totaling 30,000 Bonus Points) when the fifth Eligible Stay has been completed.
- Complete (10) Stays, earn 45,000 additional Bonus Points (totaling 75,000 Bonus Points) when the tenth Eligible Stay has been completed.
- Complete (15) Stays, earn 75,000 additional Bonus Points (totaling 150,000 Bonus Points) when the fifteenth Eligible Stay has been completed.
- Asia Miles is offering a 10% bonus when you register and convert credit card points from now until January 31, 2020.
- There is a new targeted 10,000 Membership Rewards Pay Over Time bonus link. I was not targeted, but several other people were.
- Frequent Miler found, similar to LifeMiles, where you can save Asia Miles by booking a mixed cabin award. For example, you could book a New York to Hong Kong in first class and then a “throw away” Hong Kong to South Africa ticket in economy and save 37,500 miles.
- Milenomics had a good discussion on the American Airlines shutdowns. One thing I would add is that American Airlines has failed to adequately communicate to people who are locked or shutdown. American Airlines failed to send notices of account closure to many people who were shutdown. Those people were only aware of the shutdown by checking on the status of their flights. Further, Americans Airlines stated the Corporate Security would reach out within 30 days about the account. That 30 days window has passed for many people without any sort of communication of American Airlines.