In odds and ends of airline news, United is adding a perk for top elites flying in economy; Southwest improves the capabilities of its mobile app; JetBlue customers can now book flights to Hawaii; and Delta tweaks the cost of SkyMiles award flights.
- United this week started offering a new benefit to its highest-level elites who fly in economy class. The airline said Premier 1Ks and Global Services members will now get one free food item from its Choice Menu in addition to the one free drink that it started offering them last fall. The offer is good on United mainline and United Connection flights on all routes within North America, including the Caribbean, Mexico and central America. 1Ks and Global Services members should let the flight attendant know their status and verify it by showing a member card or boarding pass.
- With the newly enhanced version of Southwest Airlines’ iOS app, available in Apple’s App Store, customers can integrate the app with their Rapid Rewards account, an action that lets them use a new express check-out feature for app-based bookings. Southwest said the enhancements also let users book car rentals, see information on upcoming trips and save bvoarding passes to Apple Wallet within the app. Integration with Rapid Rewards lets them see their progress towards A-List, A-List Preferred and Companion Pass tier status.
- JetBlue’s code-share partnership with Hawaiian Airlines, which previously was a one-way arrangement that put Hawaiian’s code onto domestic JetBlue flights, is going bilateral. The airline said it is now placing its B6 code onto Hawaiian’s non-stop flights from New York JFK to Honolulu and on select connecting flights to Honolulu via Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas. JetBlue’s code extension also applies to Hawaiian service beyond Honolulu to Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. “Customers purchasing a code-share itinerary will benefit from having a single ticket that includes both Hawaiian and JetBlue-operated flights as well as conveniences on their day of travel like one-stop check-in and baggage transfer,” JetBlue said. Currently, JetBlue fares from JFK to HNL for February trips on in the $700 round trip range.
- Loyalty program bloggers are raising red flags about discovering some changes coming to the cost of award travel in Delta’s SkyMiles program. As members must know, Delta decided a while back to stop publishing the traditional chart of mileage costs on its SkyMiles website, so you won’t know the cost until you make a query about a specific route, and changes in costs are not announced — they’re just implemented. Anyway, according to the blog specialists, the latest changes will take effect October 1, with the minimum cost of international business class tickets going up in many markets– e.g., at least 80,000 miles one-way to Asia (up 10,000); 75,000 to southern South America (up 12,500) and 95,000 to Australia/New Zealand (up 15,000). Meanwhile, the minimum cost of international economy awards in many markets is dropping by 5,000 to 10,000 miles.
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