Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio July
By Bruce Myint
FLYING GETS MORE REWARDING
Take three business trips to earn a free ticket...Trade
miles for merchandise on eBay
They want you back. At the beginning of June,
six airlines launched programs aimed at luring business travelers
back into the fold.
United Airlines was first, announcing that its Mileage Plus
members can earn a free eCertificate for a roundtrip flight by
completing three paid, qualifying roundtrips by Sept. 30. Those
traveling business or first class have no stay requirements;
economy-class trips cannot include a Saturday night stay.
The free ticket is for travel within the contiguous 48 United
States; residents of Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Puerto Rico and the
U.S. Virgin Islands can earn a free roundtrip within the contiguous
48 states. Those who fly more often are eligible to earn two free
tickets. Sign up by Sept. 30 at www.ual.com.
American, Continental, Delta, Northwest and US Airways quickly
followed with similar promotions. American’s terms also require
AAdvantage club members to travel on three business trips, to be
completed by Sept. 30, in order to earn a free roundtrip flight
within the contiguous 48 states. A maximum of two tickets can be
earned, and the offer is available to residents of the United
States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More
information is available at www.aa.com/offers.
Continental’s OnePass members (www.continental.com/onepass) and Delta’s Skymiles
frequent flyers (www.delta.com/skymiles) earn the free ticket on flights
taken through Oct. 7.
Travel by members of WorldPerks on Northwest flights can be
completed by Oct. 7, but they must register before they take their
first flight. More information is available at www.nwa.com.
US Airways’ Dividend Miles members also must register (usairways.com/dm/3258) before taking the first qualifying
Free tickets for the above programs apply to trips taken between
Sept. 2, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2004, except on Delta, whose reward
tickets are valid only on flights from Nov. 1, 2003, through Dec.
31, 2004. Restrictions and blackout dates might apply. At press
time, Alaska Airlines announced a similar free-ticket program.
Bidding with miles. Members of American and
Midwest airlines’ frequent-flyer programs and Hilton’s
frequent-guest program can use their miles or points to buy
merchandise on eBay (Sprint also is a participating partner).
Members convert their earnings into eBay Anything Points, which are
deposited into their eBay PayPal accounts. For each 10,000 Anything
Points, the dollar value is $100.
Take note: Not all conversions are created equal; 20,000
AAdvantage miles or 20,202 Midwest Miles convert to 10,000 Anything
Points. Points can be traded back to the vendors, but at a reduced
value. The conversion rates are determined by the vendor partners.
“Since it’s such a new program, we think we’ll see some fluctuation
in the conversion rates,” says an eBay spokesperson.
For more information, start at the Anything Points Web site (anythingpoints.ebay.com).
In other eBay news, those who pick up a used Swiss Army knife or
a pair of nail scissors on the auction Web site might be buying an
item confiscated from a passenger at a California airport’s
security checkpoint. The program was started in November at Oakland
International and Sacramento International airports and has since
expanded to Los Angeles International, John Wayne in Orange County
and nearby Ontario International.
The California Department of General Services is auctioning
scissors, knives, box cutters and other potentially dangerous
carry-on items, and proceeds are split between the state and the
federal government. One of the oddest items taken from a
passenger’s bag and then sold on the auction Web site was a
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