WATCH: Southwest Captain Pilots Flight Bringing His War Hero Father’s Remains Home

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.
Southwest Airlines Captain Bryan Knight flies his father back home to Dallas Love Field for the final time more than 50 years after he was killed in action during the Vietnam War in 1967. (Credit: Ashlee D. Smith/Southwest Airlines)

Southwest Airlines Captain Bryan Knight flies his father back home to Dallas Love Field for the final time more than 50 years after he was killed in action during the Vietnam War in 1967. (Credit: Ashlee D. Smith/Southwest Airlines)

A Southwest Airlines pilot whose father was killed in combat flew his dad’s remains home last week — to the same airport where he last saw him alive 52 years ago.
Continue reading

Could Delta Sell Their 737s to Southwest and American — and Stock Up on More Airbus Planes?

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

Row 1, seats 1C and 1D of the Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-900ER.

I know an airline that operates plenty of 737s — and a couple of other carriers who may need a few.

Continue reading

Dog Days for Delta After Refusing to Transport Epileptic Toddler’s Support Dog

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.
Seizure alert trained service dog Daisy.

Daisy (Photo courtesy of Help A Dog Out Rescue)

Delta’s enforcement of its service dog rules is hounding the airline. Continue reading

Can a Cell Phone Actually Crash a Delta Plane? What About Other Airlines?

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

An Apple iPhone cell phone displays the Rene's Points for Better Travel blog home page.

The hits just keep on coming for Boeing.

Continue reading

READER VOTE: “Nonstop” vs “Direct” vs “Flight” — Which Is It?

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.
A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767 is shown departing from the Los Angeles International Airport, LAX.

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767 is shown departing from Los Angeles International Airport, LAX.(©iStock.com/Angel Di Bilio)

I took some grief (good-natured, I hope 😉 ) about the wording in a post yesterday. We’re going to vote on it.

Continue reading

[UPDATED] How Southwest Almost Overcharged Me THOUSANDS of Points to Change Flights

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

Passengers board a Southwest 737 at Hollywood Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR) in Burbank, California.

Heads up, Southwest travelers. Hopefully it’s a glitch (or payback for my teasing them) but the airline of LUV quoted me two wildly different prices to change an award flight.

Quick Backstory

My family and I have an upcoming trip to Las Vegas for a friend’s birthday party.

We opted to fly Southwest from Burbank instead of Delta out of LAX for a few reasons:

  • LAX is a disaster right now (more than usual). Flying to Vegas from LAX would take longer than driving.
  • BUR is closer to our house. And much simpler.
  • I had Rapid Rewards points to burn, thanks to one of my clients who nearly always books us contractors on Southwest
Southwest 737s are parked at gates at Hollywood Burbank Airport / Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California. (BUR)

Southwest 737s at Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR)

I had enough Rapid Rewards points for one round trip, so I used them for my reservation. My wife and daughter booked using a separate Rapid Rewards account topped off with enough points thanks to a Chase Sapphire Reserve Ultimate Rewards transfer.

We originally planned to leave on a Thursday morning and return on a Saturday night.

A change in plans dictated we return home Sunday instead.

Changing Our Flights

I logged on to the Southwest app. Changes varied from about 4,000 Rapid Rewards to over 14,000. One way.

I wasn’t sure how many Rapid Rewards points were available for my wife and daughter to change their flights. When logged on to Southwest’s website, I saw drastically lower prices. Like, anywhere from a high of about 8,000 — to a low of points refunded.

I called Southwest and explained to the rep the different prices between the app and website.

“That’s weird,” she said.

The only prices she had available were the ones on Southwest’s website. She helped us process the changes and all was fine.

Still, though, the discrepancy stymied me.

Checking Back with Southwest

I checked my reservation again yesterday on the Southwest app and website. My logons took place within about five seconds of each other.

Here’s what I saw when I selected the “change flight” options for the same PNR with only one person to return on the same Sunday in question:

Fare differences between the Southwest Airlines app and Southwest Airlines website.

(For privacy purposes, I redacted dates and some other information. René has seen the original picture and can verify the dates and other travel information match.)

The 7:00 AM flight would run me a minimum of 6,507 Rapid Rewards if I used the app. On the website, however, I’d be credited 1,452 points. The 10:50 AM option runs 11,949 on the app — but just 3,990 on Southwest.com.

Worth pointing out that these prices are for the Wanna Get Away options. None of the prices on the app match anything on website.

I got in touch with a contact at Southwest. According to my source, the Rapid Rewards people said there should not be any difference between the app and website.

I sent the picture to the good folks at Southwest’s Twitter team. The rep’s response?

“That’s odd.”

She showed me the prices she had available — which were the same ones published on the website.

Always Compare Prices

I guess the moral of the story is to compare prices — between Southwest’s own app and website.

What Do You Think?

Several people have examined the photo. My wife and father-in-law saw in person the differences between the app and website.

Is there something I’m missing?

Was Southwest trying to exact revenge on me for some of the snarky things I’ve said about them?

Or are they hoping more people use the app — and pony up more points?

Please share your thoughts in the Comment section below! — Chris

UPDATE, 7:41 AM PDT

Some commenters offered help.

The app displays the new total cost. The website displays just the difference.

So I was incorrect: Southwest was not trying to overcharge me.

However, I don’t understand why Southwest displays one figure on their app and another on their website. They should adjust one of them so their figures are the same across the board. Even Delta’s IT gets this right!

What also is interesting is the Southwest phone and Twitter reps weren’t aware of these display discrepancies.

Leave it to our readers to know the correct answer! Thanks, gang!

–C

Portable Chargers and Travel Surge Protectors with USB Ports on Sale During Amazon Prime Day

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

Portable Charger Anker PowerCore 20100mAh - Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with 4.8A Output, External Battery Pack for iPhone, iPad & Samsung Galaxy & More (Black)

Not everywhere (especially Southwest planes 😉 ) offers convenient charging options for our tablets, phones, and other gadgets. That’s why compact and versatile portable chargers are essential for every traveler. Continue reading

TODAY is the BEST Day to Delta Medallion Status Match Challenge For Benefits Through January 31, 2021!

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

If you hold elite status with an airline other than Delta, today is the day to begin a Delta Medallion status match challenge.

Once you match status and meet certain challenge thresholds for MQM (Medallion Qualification Miles) or MQS (Medallion Qualification Segments) and MQD (Medallion Qualification Dollar) spending, you’ll hold Delta status the rest of this year and all of next Medallion year — which ends on January 31, 2021!

But today is critical in the status match challenge calendar. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

What Are the Status Match Requirements?

There are three requirements to qualify for a status match challenge — and you must meet all of them.

Per Delta:

  • You have not received a Status Match or complimentary Medallion Status in the past three years, unless the complimentary Medallion Status was through your Million Miler Status.
  • You currently have elite status with a qualifying airline that was earned through that airline’s published requirements (complimentary status or status earned through a promotion does not qualify)
  • You are able to present both a valid, current elite credential and a statement showing your earned elite status

Which airlines match? Delta has a list here, although they note at the bottom “If you have status with an airline (excluding Delta airline partners) that is not listed above but meet the participation criteria, you can still submit your request  to participate in the Status Match Challenge.”

Each status match level has its own challenges.

 

Delta Status Match Challenge requirements in 2019 for the 2021 Medallion year.

(Click for a full-size image)

The challenges must be met within a three month period beginning the day you’re granted temporary status.

What’s So Special About Today?

Two reasons.

First, per Delta: “If you enroll in the challenge on or after July 1, 2019 and you complete the requirements, your Medallion Status will be extended through January 31, 2021.”

Obviously, you want to get started as soon and enjoy status as long as possible

The next reason is this:

MQMs can possibly be earned through flying or credit card spend — and massive Delta American Express card Welcome Offers expire tomorrow.

Why do I say “possibly”? Delta writes “Only MQMs, MQSs and MQDs earned through travel on Delta, Delta Connection, and SkyMiles Partner Airlines will count towards the challenge. MQMs/MQSs/MQDs earned through other sources, including but not limited to SkyMiles Credit Cards, do not count towards the challenge.”

BUT in years past, that hasn’t been the case. Delta has treated all MQM equally.

So if you apply today for, say, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express — either the Personal (learn more) or Business flavor (learn more) — and meet the card’s minimum spend requirement within the first three months, you’ll earn 5,000 MQM.

That’s almost the entire challenge for Silver (6,250 MQM), not quite half for Gold (12,500), and nearly a third for Platinum (18,750).

As for the rest of the MQM requirement, Delta Amex cardholders can Pay with (Sky)Miles and still earn MQM. So put some of those huge welcome bonus SkyMiles to work for you, and take a trip or two while earning status!

Remember you can hold both business and personal versions of the same credit card. You can also, for example, have a Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (learn more) and Delta Reserve American Express Card (learn more), meet the minimum spend on both, and combine them to meet the MQM requirement.

Again: we know what the wording says. But given that Delta has unofficially allowed it before, it might be worth a gamble.

How to Meet a Delta Status Match Challenge’s MQD Requirements

I can think of four ways to meet MQD requirements:

1. Pay cash for your Delta flights and charge them to your new Delta Amex card. A Welcome Bonus period is the only time I recommend charging airfare to a Delta card. The Platinum Card from American Express (learn more), Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Chase Sapphire Preferred are good options, too.

2. Have an American Express card earning Membership Rewards (MR)? Use MR points to pay some of or the entire fare when booking directly through Amex’s travel portal. Why? Delta registers those trips as paid tickets which earn MQD (and MQM and MQS).

3. If you can spend $25,000 on a Delta American Express card (or across multiple Delta Amexes during your three-month challenge, you’ll meet Delta’s MQD spend waiver for all Medallion levels except Diamond. Plus, Delta American Express Platinum Card (learn more) holders earn a bonus 10,000 MQM. Delta Reserve American Express Card holders (learn more) are still MQD exempt at $25,000 but must hit $30,000 for their bonus which is 15,000 MQM.

4. Fly Delta’s SkyTeam partners. You earn MQD when flying Delta’s SkyTeam partners and crediting the flights to your SkyMiles account. Flights sold by partner airlines earn MQD based on a percentage of distance flown as determined by the fare class a customer pays. For example, this now-expired first class mileage run on Aero Mexico cost $671 — but earned almost $2000 in MQD credit.

Anxious to book a SkyTeam elite mileage and MQD run now ? 😉 We post deals when we find them. You can also get in touch with our friend Adam, who is a mileage run master.

A Word About Partner Airlines

A Virgin Atlantic 747

Qualifying status match flights must be marketed and booked as Delta trips.

In other words, if you want to fly Delta’s SkyTeam partner Virgin Atlantic from LAX to Heathrow and have that flight count towards your status match, do not buy it through Virgin Atlantic. Book it through Delta, where it will be ticketed as a Delta flight (ie Delta #9555) even though you’re physically flying something like Virgin #8.

Ready to Match Status?

As a few examples…

Hold status with American? Sick of delAAys and no seatback entertainment? AA Golds can match to Delta Silver, while AA Platinums can jump to Delta Gold.

Can’t deal with any more of United being United? UA Premier Silvers match to DL Silver, UA Premier Golds to DL Gold, and Premier Platinum, Platinum 1K, and Global Services can enjoy DL Platinum.

Even Southwest A-listers can get in on the fun! Imagine knowing ahead of time where you’ll sit — and being able to book a seat you actually like! You may even receive the occasional first class upgrade. Southwest A-List matches to Silver. A-List Preferred matched to Gold.

Will You Status Match Challenge — Or Have You Matched Before?

Elite status holders with other airlines: are you ready to join us Delta Medallions on the dark side? 😉 Why or why not?

Or if you’ve participated in a status match challenge, what was your experience? Any tips or advice you can share?

Tell us in the Comment section below! — Chris