New United Website Is Classy, but It Has a Few Kinks

United Website 1

Somehow I got an invitation to beta test the new United Airlines website. I haven't flown on United or even used my miles in over a year. My Premier 1K status has reverted to zero. But I was still curious and have enough experience using the old site to know what to look for. On the surface, it looks very similar to the mobile app that was released last year. The site is restricted to eligible … [Read more...]

ITA Matrix (Mostly) Restores “Nearby Airports” Feature

ITA Matrix select airport 1

Before the holidays, I described the changes implemented in ITA Matrix version 3, which included a few cosmetic improvements and fixed some of the buggy timeouts that were frustrating users. But more than anything, I think many of us were simply happy to see this as evidence that Google was committed to maintaining the site after they acquired ITA. I originally said that one of the unfortunate … [Read more...]

Get 1,000 Bonus Miles for Referring a Friend to PointsHound

PointsHound winter refer-a-friend

If you still haven't booked your hotel for this year's winter break, consider trying PointsHound. It's a site I've written about many times before that makes it easy to earn airline miles or other types of reward points when you book. Now through December 31, encourage a friend to create an account with PointsHound, and you and your friend will each earn 1,000 bonus miles. The miles won't post … [Read more...]

ITA Matrix Gets an Update

ITA 3 (For Faster Results)

One of my favorite flight search tools received an unannounced update on Monday. ITA Matrix -- which was purchased by Google a couple years ago -- had been acting up lately with slow queries that often timed out or just completely failed. Many people suspected that Google was either going to kill or or just ignore it until someone remembered to turn off the servers. Google purchased the company … [Read more...]

How to Book Your Next Award Flight Like a Pro

Amounts are one-way, calculated individually for each segment.

The difficulty in finding and booking award travel is one of the primary reasons people become disaffected with airline loyalty programs. If the miles can’t be used, then what good are they? Even carriers that like to promote themselves as having more award availability than their competitors aren’t necessarily promising a good deal. Those award flights may not be for the routes you find useful, … [Read more...]

Yahoo! Is Killing Its Directory Service

Yahoo 1

You're probably wondering why I'm bothering to write about this in a travel blog. Well, I'm part of a special group of people. I am one of the last generations to remember a time before the Internet. For my younger readers, there was once a time when I waited for mail to arrive each afternoon and had to watch whatever show was on television. Phones had dials, not touch screens. When I first … [Read more...]

ExpertFlyer Now Includes US Airways Upgrade and Award Space

ExpertFlyer US Airways

While I'm not especially excited by some of the declines in service that accompany a merger between American Airlines and US Airways, I am glad to see that US Airways is adopting American's approach to the controversial ExpertFlyer tool and making available award and upgrade space on its flights. Award space is not normally a top priority. Depending on the carrier you're working with it may be … [Read more...]