Air Italy is shutting down, LifeMiles has an points sale and discounted Star Alliance awards to Asia, a new 100,000 Southwest Business Performance offer, and Virgin Atlantic adds Cape Town service.
Air Italy to Shutdown on February 25th.
Air Italy is shutting down operations on February 25, 2020, with flights between now and the 25th operated by other airlines.
Air Italy had a fleet of four Airbus A330s, five 737s, and three 737-MAXs, which were grounded over the past year.
Air Italy is 49% owned by Qatar Airways, which makes this another failed airline invested in by Middle Eastern carriers after Etihad’s failed investments in Air Berlin and JetAirways.
Customers can apply for full refunds by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, even if your flight is before February 25th.
LifeMiles Sale and Award Discount
LifeMiles is running a 140% bonus sale on LifeMiles from now until February 27, 2020, when you buy 101,000+ LifeMiles. If you buy it at the 140% bonus level, the cost per miles is only 1.375 cents per point.
With this discount, you could book business class on Lufthansa from the U.S. to Europe for about $1,800, which is normally a $3,000-5,000 flight.
I am a big fan of LifeMiles because they don’t charge fuel surcharges, which saves $500+ on Lufthansa flights, and they have very relaxed routing rules.
You can book some very creative long routings as long as there are (1) four segments or less, (2) connections are less than 24 hours, and (3) the one-way award is less than four calendar days. I’ve been able to book routings such as South Africa to Japan to the east coast of the U.S. despite almost every other program not allowing that sort of one-way routing.
LifeMiles is also offering an award discount on many Star Alliance flights for award bookings made by March 12, 2020. You can find the full list here.
Unfortunately, a good amount of the discounts are for Chinese cities, which are facing the Coronavirus. But there are 15-20% discounts for business class to Taiwan, where you could fly on a great business class product with EVA Air.
100,000 Southwest Performance Business Offer
The Southwest Performance Business card has a 100,000 point bonus.
The bonus is broken up with 70,000 points for $5,000 in spending within the first three months, and an additional 30,000 points when you spend $25,000 total in six months.
If you reached the full bonus, you would have at least 125,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points, which would be enough to qualify for the amazing Southwest Companion Pass.
- JetBlue turned 20 years old yesterday, which was founded by David Neeleman, who is the founder of new U.S. airline startup Breeze, which will start flights this year.
- Virgin Atlantic is adding seasonal service from London to Cape Town starting October 25, 2020. Airlines are stepping up service to South Africa in the wake of South African Airways cancelling many international flights to try to return to profitability.
- Delta announced new construction for a new 9,000 square foot SkyClub at Tokyo-Haneda for the 2020 Olympics that will open in July 2020.
- Boeing sold zero new aircraft in January 2020, whereas Airbus sold 58. It was Boeing’s worst sales month in 58 years.
- Avianca is operating a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with lie-flat seats instead of a small Airbus A319 with recliner business class between New York-JFK and Medellin from March 29, 2020, to June 25, 2020.
- American is suspending more flights to China and Hong Kong:
- Flights between DFW/LAX and mainland China are suspended through April 24.
- Flights between DFW and Hong Kong (HKG) are suspended through April 23.
- Flights between LAX and HKG are suspended through April 24.
- Allegiant added new flights:
- Las Vegas to San Diego, Fort Wayne, and Tuscon.
- San Diego to Las Vegas, Tulsa, Billings, Medford, Sioux Falls, and Idaho Falls.
- Destin (FL) to Bloomington, Indiana.
Deals and Points News
- Delta’s February flash sale is to South America, when you book awards by February 13th.
- The Rakuten credit card, which normally earns 3x Membership Rewards or 3% cashback on purchases through their portal, will now only earn 1% cashback or 1x Membership Rewards on gift card purchases through GiftCardMall.com, GiftCards.com, and Raise.com. Buying $1,000 Visa Gift Cards and earning those extra points was a pretty lucrative manufactured spending method that is now much less profitable.
- There is a new link for enrolling in American Express’ 10,000 point bonus for their Pay Over Time feature. [Reddit]
In Other News
- Brandless, the startup backed by Softbank that offered high-end generic products, shut down.
- Airbnb posted a $322 million loss over the last 9 months as it prepares for a potential IPO. Last year it posted a $200 million profit.