Status Match Success with MSC Cruises

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Earlier this week I wrote about a new status match offer from MSC Cruises. If you hold elite status with another cruise line or hotel/tour company, they’ll match you to an equivalent status in their MSC Voyagers Club. Voyagers Club is a 5-tier program with benefits that increase in value as you climb up the status ladder. The best benefit of all is a 5% discount off your cruise fare, with bigger discounts and even onboard credits available for select voyages. The perks for elite status are pretty typical, ranging from priority boarding to welcome back cocktails and onboard parties and late check-out/disembarkation. You can view the complete list of benefits here. The Status Match I decided to go ahead…

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Delta’s Stylin’ New A319 Interior Takes Flight

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Delta’s first refurbished A319 aircraft will re-join the airline’s fleet this week following an “extreme makeover.” As part of a previously announced refurbishment project, the A319s are receiving: Panasonic in-flight entertainment at every seat USB and 110v power outlets Large pivoting overhead bins New galleys and new pod-like overhead passenger service units The refurbished A319s are configured with 12 first class, 18 Comfort Plus, and 102 main cabin seats. At a total of 132 seats, this is up 6 seats from the old configuration. The new seats are of the “slim line” variety, enabling Delta to add another row in the main cabin. I’ll withhold judgment until I actually sit in one of those seats. I do love the addition of…

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Chinese Hackers Hit United Airlines

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Bloomberg is reporting this morning that United Airlines was the victim of a Chinese-backed hacker attack. According to the article, The previously unreported United breach raises the possibility that the hackers now have data on the movements of millions of Americans, adding airlines to a growing list of strategic U.S. industries and institutions that have been compromised. Among the cache of data stolen from United are manifests — which include information on flights’ passengers, origins and destinations — according to one person familiar with the carrier’s investigation. MJ’s Take The idea of hackers going after United raises questions about what kinds of information the hackers might be after and what other airlines they have targeted. One could be forgiven for wondering…

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I Thought Airlines Were Bad – Then I Called Comcast

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As the Managing Director of Airline Apologencia here at Boardingarea, most people think I believe airlines are perfect and if we were better customers, things would be improved. That is, of course, wrong. I have a long list of things I think airlines could do better, and assuming I ever have fully functional internet here at world HQ again, I’ll share that list with you. The background – I have been moderately satisfied with AT&T U-verse since relocating to Atlanta in September 2012. I went in knowing that it was just souped up DSL, but the thought of breaking away from “cable” along with some attractive pricing hooked me. Frankly, it’s been fine. U-verse isn’t exactly speedy, but it is…

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Delta Private Jets – Not Your Ordinary Medallion Upgrade

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Delta is about to introduce something different, the opportunity for Medallion members on select Delta flights to upgrade to a private jet. Many may not be aware that Delta owns a company called Delta Private Jets that provides biz-jet services for the well-heeled. According to Bloomberg, the service “will cost $300 to $800, depending on destination. Beginning as soon as this week, passengers who have achieved elite or “medallion” status in Delta’s SkyMiles frequent-flyer program will be eligible for the upgrade offers. But officials stress that the initial number of private jet flights will be small and focused mainly at Delta’s East Coast hubs.” According to Delta, “the private upgrade opportunities will be limited to select passengers in specific markets where…

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The Weekly Recap – July 25, 2015

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Another week in the books. It was history making because I cleared an upgrade roundtrip on Delta as a Platinum Medallion to/from Washington, DC! The return even cleared at the window. Let’s take a look at the last week’s posts here at MJ on Travel. Top Posts Delta Fliers – Status Match to Alaska Air? Status Matching Sets Sail with MSC Cruises The Best of the Rest Delta’s Fall Fare Sale – Miles and Money China Rising – 6th Carnival Ship to China The Other Side of Miles are Like Money Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!! -MJ, July 25, 2015  

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Status Matching Sets Sail with MSC Cruises

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HT: FlyerTalk MSC Cruises has introduced a status match option for its loyalty program. I’ve called elite status reciprocity, which is practiced among Azamara, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean the closest thing to status matching in cruising. Now, MSC has for the first time introduced the first true “status match” by a cruise line and is offering equivalent status in their MSC Voyager’s Club to members of other cruise line loyalty programs (hotels too). (Image courtesy of MSC Cruises) Here are the terms and conditions of the offer as listed. MSC Cruises will only consider benefit cards from other Cruising companies, Hotels and/or Tour Operators. Airline Company benefit cards are excluded. Matching is carried out by comparing as much as reasonably possible the level of…

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Delta’s Fall Fare Sale – Money and Miles

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Delta Air Lines launched a fare sale for fall travel late last night. Fares are starting at $74 and in a unique twist, just 5,000 miles, plus taxes and fees each way based on roundtrip purchase. You must book by August 6, and travel between August 6 and December 16, 2015. Fall fare sales are a pretty traditional thing, but this time around Delta is touting its low mileage “fares” and even offering some as low as 5,000 miles each way. Historically, I would have a hard time using miles for a flight that only costs $200 roundtrip, but recent changes at SkyMiles change that math a bit. A few examples: I have never been one to care strictly about cents per mile valuations, but these aren’t…

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China Rising – 6th Carnival Ship to China

Carnival Corporation announced today that it will add two ships to its China fleet in 2016, making it the first global cruise company with six total ships based in China. The move will increase Carnival Corporation’s total capacity in China by an additional 58 percent in 2016, further accelerating the company’s leadership position in the growing Chinese market. Clearly, the Chinese market is well on its way to being the largest global cruise market. Carnival Corporation’s China based ships will include expanded offerings from its two leading brands in the market – Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises. Across the two brands, Carnival Corporation will have three year-round ships and three seasonal ships in the market, representing the largest cruise presence in China in 2016. According to Carnival Corporation, Golden…

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The Other Side of Miles are Like Money

Delta ripped the bandage off…finally, and we are where we are. You know my take on revenue-based. Overall, I actually earn more miles, but one could be forgiven for asking just what those miles are worth? One thing my AAdvantage in Atlanta experiment along with a dabble of Southwest have taught me is that there are alternatives to Delta in Atlanta. That said, flying isn’t a leisure occupation for me, it’s a job requirement. The likelihood that a business traveler who lives 20 minutes from the busiest airport in the world and Delta’s biggest hub just walks from Delta based on the mileage program just isn’t that high. At the same time, jumping off the “status” hamster wheel has freed me…

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