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Weekly Business Flyer Touts Loyalty for Amazing Upgrade Opportunities

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

In this third installment of tips and takeaways from frequent flying executives, we caught up with Andrew Mahaffey, a sales executive with Ingenico Group, a global leader in seamless payment. Catch up here if you’ve missed previous posts in the series.

Andrew flies for business on a weekly basis and holds Diamond Medallion frequent flyer status with Delta Airlines.

andrew mahaffey, ingenicoWhat are your frequent flyer ninja moves for enjoying as many perks via the airlines as possible?

I utilize the Delta American Express Reserve credit card for traveling and expenses which give you great miles and MQM bonuses, Delta Sky Club access along with free checked bags. With the Delta AMEX Reserve card, you also receive a Companion pass each year.

Being a Diamond customer is great because you will get upgraded 9 out of 10 times on domestic flights especially if you are originating from a non-hub airport which is outside of Atlanta, JFK, MSP, Salt Lake City, Detroit, or LAX. Hitting Diamond also gives you the added bonus to choose four gift options in which one offer is “Four Global Upgrades” to the Delta One cabin or partner equivalents if available. My wife and I just booked a round trip flight from ATL – Barcelona for later this Summer. Our flight was $800 per ticket for Economy but we were able to use the Global Upgrades for each ticket round trip to get us into Delta One (with lay flat beds); the cost of that ticket, if you are paying full price, is $4,525 per ticket.

What’s your biggest bragging right about scoring something from the airlines and how did it come about?

Earlier this year my wife and I redeemed SkyMiles to take a trip to Iceland which we were going first class round trip (99,000 miles each). Our original flight itinerary had us leaving ORD to JFK for a two-hour layover then JFK to REK arriving there at 6:45 am. Due to weather that day (and really that week), all flights into and out of JFK were either severely delayed or canceled. The ticketing agent at ORD was able to place us on a British Airways flight to London which had a 4-hour layover then a flight from London to REK where we arrived at 3:30 pm later that afternoon. The catch was that our flight from ORD to London was not in their first class cabin as it was completely full so we ended up flying economy (which was fine but we used more miles for the purchase to fly in first class). That turned out to be more than okay as our experience on British Airways was outstanding. Great customer service! Delta was still able to get us upgraded on our flight to REK from London which was on Icelandair but that flight was only 2.5 hours. Anyway, due to the delay and changing of classes, Delta gave me back 38,500 miles for each ticket along with giving each of us $200 flight vouchers. Delta also gave many passengers that week 20,000 bonus miles if you experienced a delay over 3 hours which we both received too. In the end, we actually ended up obtaining 58,500 miles back per ticket (117,000 total miles) from that overall experience which only put us 8 hours behind our original schedule. We effectively spent 81,000 miles total (original total being 198,000 miles) to go to Iceland all while getting $400 worth of flight vouchers, too.

Anything else that other business travelers should know to help them make flying more enjoyable?

I would recommend staying loyal to an airline and focus on obtaining status as the whole experience of traveling gets much better and easier once you get that status (early boarding, upgrades, sky club, priority customer service call center, etc.).

Luxury travel and tips for getting a flight upgrade for little to no cost

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

If you’re a frequent flyer for business or leisure, odds are you’re regularly scheming ways to get an upgrade out of coach.  With airlines monetizing everything down to the last peanut, air travelers need to adopt guerrilla tactics to make their loyalty status payoff with prized business or first class upgrades.

We interviewed TheLuxuryTravelExpert — who prefers to retain his anonymity — to get an update on all things luxury travel related, and learn his proven moves for getting a flight upgrade for little to no cost.

flight upgrade

Tell us about your blog and how you arrived at becoming a luxury travel expert?

I am not part of the travel industry. I am a doctor, and I have been blogging about my travels for years, mainly sharing my stories with families and friends. Three years ago, I felt the need to bring the blog to the next level, and opened it up to everyone, with a focus on luxury travel. I aim to make my blog a reference source for fellow travelers with the same spirit. There is an avalanche of travel websites, reviews and agencies out there, that can inspire the demanding traveler but also cause a lot of frustration and confusion (“too many choices!”“is it worth it?”“will it fit my taste?”). I try to filter all that information into my blog, based on my own 20+ years of experience traveling around the world. I keep the blog as a hobby, and as such, I have to limit my output to three newsletters per week (as my main profession keeps me busy for most of my time):

My Youtube channel is quite popular as well, where I have 80,000+ followers. My clips documenting Business and First Class flights are some of the most watched in this genre. I actually started making flight clips because I suffer from a fear of flying and I wanted to do something to distract myself from the flying process. Someone advised me to make clips and photos, and so I did. It does help to keep my stress within manageable levels, and it’s a bit weird that the clips are so popular, since I now feel the urge to fly even more :). Continue reading →

Next generation travel agents capitalize on artificial intelligence

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

robot

According to a New York Times report today, next-generation travel agents do the search-culling for you, tailoring the results to your stated preferences and potentially cutting down on web-browsing time. They also use text messaging as their primary communications mode, often via a chatbot, a computer program designed to converse in text.

“Most of these services are challenging the do-it-yourself system of browsing as offered by services like Expedia. New-wave agents — human, robotic or a combination — will also allow users to continue a search over time, rather than start anew with a browser each session.”

Read the full story here.

 

“Did you know…There’s a secret button on your plane seat that will give you more space?”

airplane seat

Source: pixabay

Yep, and it’s not the recline button.  According to a post from Travel + Leisure, you can find this little gem on the underside of the outermost armrest of the aisle seat. “To find it, slide your hand under the armrest, close to the hinge and feel for the button. Press it and you are now free to move that armrest up so it’s flush with the back of your seat, giving you the freedom you deserve. A simple move with a big reward: no more armrest digging into your side and a little swing room for your legs.”

Read the full post here.

 

5 Tested Tips from a Top Tier Flyer

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

frequent flyer tips for better air travel

We continue our series of tips and takeaways from frequent flying executives with our second installment. If you missed the first post, you can read it here.

radius solutions logoMeet Dave Poplin, regional manager at Radius Solutions, LLC, a leading provider of retail point-of-sale technology solutions.

Dave flies every three weeks, on average, and holds membership on all US-based frequent flyer programs. He is a Platinum level member on Delta, which is his airline of choice.

What are your frequent flyer ninja moves for enjoying as many perks via the airlines as possible?

1. There are routes that have fewer numbers of Diamond members, which will allow a Platinum member more of a chance for an upgrade.   An example:   If I fly from Grand Rapids, MI to Florida or other spots West of Chicago and I go into Detroit, it is very difficult to get upgraded.  Conversely, if I connect to Atlanta instead of Detroit I will almost always get upgraded. Continue reading →