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Airlines make it tougher to find frequent flyer seats

CarTrawler's annual Reward Seat Availability Survey found frequent-flyer seats available on 72.4 percent of the flights it checked, down from 76.6 percent last year. ( More...

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If they offer these deals to encourage flying more they should honour a seat booking exactly the same as a full paying passenger. May choose specific airlines with lesser deals and lesser service because of the air-points. Airline should honour what they promote to use their alliances.
dbkoob 4
The point of these programs is not to allow frequent flyer program flyer to fly anytime but only to fill seats when it is low demand season .That is why there are so many blackout dates for FFP. It's a scam so people think there getting a great deal by sticking with the same airline but really all it is they charge you points for seats they would not have sold without FFP's buying them.
matt jensen 0
After DAL bought out NWO, I was given an opportunity to convert my miles or give them away to charity. I chose the latter and now fly any carrier other than the majors.
isardriver 4
it is sad to see how things are done to sway folks to "their" airline. nothing seems to be honest genuine practice anymore
The steady erosion of FF "benefits" coupled with the decline in actual services, the increase in fees for practically everything (bring your own toilet paper?) AND the glaring monopoly of the US majors - UGH!
I say use a card that offers CASH, then take it and buy your seat. Also some cards (Chase) offer their own travel site you can book through them but not all flights are listed. Hmmm.....take the money!!!
alex hidveghy 2
Absolutely! That's precisely why I gave up on Amex and flying points because they were virtually worthless. The fares kept going down as the airlines FF miles to gain a seat kept going down! Call that a deal? For whom? The airline, of course. Now I have cash back only and I can use that for a multitude of things INCLUDING airline seats on ANY airline. Way to go nowadays. I would never go back to FF miles. It only works for the real frequent flyers (trips every week or so), not the average person 1-2 times a year..
I have been flying Southwest since the year they started serving PVD. Never had a problem using my frequent flyer pOInts!
Had 1 flight cancelled due to weather and in one case they credited my ticket as well as my wife's after the flight was made when they were delayed due to a maintenance issue.
indy2001 0
Unlike all those who decry FF programs, I'll speak for the 72.4% of survey respondents who were satisfied and say we're very happy with ours. For example, we recently used AA miles to buy First/Business seats for an IND-LAX-SYD jaunt next February for a cruise. We had to use 185K miles each, which seemed like a lot. However, even using a relatively high value of $0.020 per mile, that is equivalent to $3700. (In reality, we didn't spend anywhere near 2¢ per mile.) Considering the seats sell for $5564, we consider it a bargain. Even after deducting the fees that we paid in cash, the difference was over half of the cost of our mini-suite on the cruise. We were focusing more on the lay-flat seats for the 15 hours from LAX to SYD, but as a bonus we don't have to endure domestic Coach seats for the 4+ hours between IND and LAX.

Now I will admit 3 things.
1. We always plan our trips far in advance, often by a year or more, so the airline tickets are often the last thing we buy. For example, the aforementioned IND-LAX-SYD seats were booked on the first day they were available, 11 months before the flight. In fact, we reserved the first 2 seats on the 777-300 (since changed to a 787-9).
2. We only use our miles for premium seats. I'm 6'4", 250 lbs and my wife is tall as well, so coach seats are out of the question for flights longer than 2 hours. It usually takes a year or two to replenish our FF account, so big international trips aren't too frequent. If there was a better way to pay for airline seats, we'd take it. In fact, we get application offers from Capital One weekly and I'd gladly switch to them since their miles can be used on different airlines. But as I understand it, they only sell seats in Coach with no opportunities for upgrades.
3. We travel almost exclusively for pleasure. We're retired and can do what we want, when we want. Our family is small and relatively healthy so there aren't many family emergencies. If the flights to our desired destination aren't perfect (e.g. a connection in London vs. a non-stop) we can do it. We can choose to go a day or two early if that's when flights are available. If Hawaii is too expensive we can go to Alaska, or vice versa. (We've done that each way.) Not everyone has that freedom. But even during peak seasons, like Australia in February, we've been able to make it work.

If we were shorter and/or had to travel in Coach on specific dates, then we'd probably feel differently. But we're very happy with our current FF situation. And maybe we should focus more on the 72.4% positive instead of the 27.6% negative.


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