ejmmsu
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NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Mon Apr 11, 2005 6:43 pm

This according to the Detroit News.

I'm sure this is true all across the industry, However.


http://www.detnews.com/2005/business/0503/27/C01-130242.htm

I'm beginnig to think I should just keep my cash rebate credit card instead of getting the WorldPerks Visa I was planning on.
"If the facts do not conform to the theory, they will have to be disposed of"
 
UN_B732
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:15 pm

Northwest is wonderful compared to Aeroflot. Constant paper trail and complaints from them, have to be at the office, wait 30 days for certificate issurance, rude. Believe me, Northwest is like heaven compared to Aeroflot! I've bee to the office 3 times so far to get a free ticket, and it's been 5 days since they promised to call me back. The SU representative never sent me to the SU FFP person, told me there's one at the CTO last week and promised they'd call even though they haven't. Arrogant, couldn't care attitude, especially from management of local CTO.
-Mr. X
EDIT: Anyone find it hilarious that 14% of WN FFP people could upgrade their ticket?
What now?
 
Jalalabad
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:35 pm

At least NW miles never expire, though. Is that true for many other programs?
 
jblake1
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:48 pm

The secret of booking rewards using WorldPerks Miles is to use nwa.com and select standard award only. 7 times out of 10 a standard award itinerary on Delta will pop up. There are select number of NW award seats on DL and I've had great success in booking standard awards this way.

Jblake
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MidnightMike
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:01 pm

Airlines block out a certain percentage of the seats for the frequent fliers and if yout want to cash in your frequent flier points during peak, you had better do it early..

Here is something that I picked up out of the story:

When people want to use their frequent-flier miles, they usually opt for a leisure destination and usually during a peak season," Winship said. "The result is on those flights, the plane is probably full. and with the airlines in financial jeopardy they don't want to give away a seat for free.
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isitsafenow
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:27 pm

If you want to go to Honolulu in First class within the next three months using NW miles, you will have a better chance hitting the lottery this week.
I am talking about the NON mile buster-rule or standard rule.
safe
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toltommy
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:42 pm

I don't have any trouble finding standard awards on NW using my CO miles. I find CO to be much harder to use for standard awards. The standard awards were all held for the Plat Elites. It was fine when I was one, but now it sucks!
 
mlsrar
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:47 pm

NW has one of the best award-travel redemption plans IMHO. Couple it with their award-travel booking engine and its a winner.

Their WPA booking engine allows you to search other Skyteam partners for award redemption specifically, or just search NW. Its really innovative.

Try booking a SkySaver on Delta if you want impossible...
I mean, for the right price I’ll fight a lion. - Mike Tyson
 
ACDC8
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 3:56 am

I booked a flight from YVR-FRA using some of my miles and I got the dates and flights I wanted and didn't have to use any of the Rule Buster options, and it only took about 5 minutes. I've never had a problem with them.

All I can say is that...free round-trip ticket from North America to Europe for only 50,000 miles...free round-trip ticket from North America to Asia for only 60,000 miles...and the miles don't expire! How many other programs can top that?

cheers,
Patrick
A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
 
goodmanr
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:00 am

I too find NWA to never have seats, although the system for redeeming them is quite good.

US seems to have a good number of seats, but the website sucks and no Star Alliance booking online. Plus, its 20k rather than 25k when you do it online.
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deltairlines
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:00 am

I used my Delta miles to fly to CLE (one way on NW, the other on DL), and I was able to redeem a discounted award ticket within 5 days of departure on the flight I wanted...saved me a good deal of money ($65 in redemption fees, compared to $700 for a ticket).

Jeff
 
ejmmsu
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:02 am

I don't think Miles expire on any legacy carrier program, but I could be wrong.

I know WN's "rapid reward" credits only last a year.

What I found amazing is that there are enough unused miles out there that NW could run free flights for three months to take care of them all.
"If the facts do not conform to the theory, they will have to be disposed of"
 
goodmanr
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:04 am

Quoting Ejmmsu (Reply 11):

DL and AA miles expire if htere is no activity for 36 months.
USAirways - Chairmans Gold
 
nycflyer
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:07 am

I just had an excellent experience using World Perks miles. I need to go NYC-RDU the weekend after next, April 22-24.

The internet fares were all $350-$500, nearly everything was sold out. But I was able to get nonstop EWR-RDU on CO, at good times, and had to pay only $5 in taxes. And I did this about sixteen days before departure.

This was my first time redeeming World Perks miles, and I'd definitely do it again.
 
kim777fan
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:46 am

"Northwest is wonderful compared to Aeroflot."  cloudnine 

Gee, that's good to know. I'll have to remember that before I think of moving from the US to Russia!! Big grin

Anyhow, I did want to book a standard award ticket to Seattle and returning from Vancouver in September. The best thing that came up was flying 1st class to Seattle and returning in coach from Vancouver with a debit of 35,000 miles. I couln't come up with an all-coach itinerary that only debited the standard 25,000 miles.  banghead 
 
kim777fan
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 5:09 am

Has Northwest hired David Spade as the award miles redemption consultant??

Have you tried booking a trip to ReNO to play keNO in the casiNO??
 
BillElliott9
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 5:24 am

Can someone provide data on NW's load factor (Revenue)? Isn't it like 80+%? Based upon those numbers, it is not hard to see why it is some times difficult to get a WP seat on the exact date and time that you want. I think this holds true with all airlines. At least the upgrade percentages were significantly higher for NW.
You can fight without ever winning but never really win without a fight.
 
ejmmsu
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 7:09 am

Quoting Goodmanr (Reply 12):
DL and AA miles expire if htere is no activity for 36 months.

By "activity", do you mean you have to redeem them in 36 months, or do you simply have to fly the airline as a revenue passenger within 36 months?
"If the facts do not conform to the theory, they will have to be disposed of"
 
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aloha73g
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 7:18 am

Something is WRONG with that survey. It says there is a 56% sucess rate redeeming Southwest Rapid Rewards tickets. That can't be true since you can get any seat on any flight outside of a few blackout dates.

Even more galling is the 14% who say they have trouble getting UPGRADES on Southwest...

This survey is laughable!

-Aloha!
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pilottim747
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 8:20 am

Quoting Aloha73G (Reply 18):
Something is WRONG with that survey. It says there is a 56% sucess rate redeeming Southwest Rapid Rewards tickets. That can't be true since you can get any seat on any flight outside of a few blackout dates.

Even more galling is the 14% who say they have trouble getting UPGRADES on Southwest...

This survey is laughable!

Wow, good observation. There are a couple blackout dates for WN awards and they only work if there is an available seat on the flight. However, with that in mind there is no way that it should be 56% success rate. I'd guess it'd be like 90% success rate.

pilottim747
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luv2fly
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 8:39 am

I had no problem recently redeeming mine for 2 round trips to CUN in May, in fact my tickets out of CLE are code share with CO, so I have nonstop on the way out and via IAH on the return and it was so quick and easy to book and redeem....
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
PanAmDC10
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 8:43 am

In my opinion, creating Frequent Flyer Programs was one of the worst things the airlines ever did.
 
nwafflyer
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 8:49 am

NW is great about redeeming ff flyer miles - I've been to Europe twice now, have flown a friend's children to the US -- and have flown many flights in NA on ff miles.

I'm also upgraded on almost every flight I take, although I do use miles to upgrade my transatlantic flights on the return (KLM) leg. KLM is pretty crummy as far as ff flyers are concerned, we're only upgraded if coach is full.

Continental is also good to work with, Delta will allow you to fly, but not upgrade. I've never managed to use any of my Air Canada or US Airways miles - every time I try, I can't
 
hjulicher
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 10:06 am

Although the website is good within the US for flying CO and DL, try booking award travel to europe, especially to a destination like SVO. Since there is only one KL flight from AMS a day, it's wonderful now that AF and SU are partners. CDG is the best way to get to SVO because of the 8 daily flights there. So, once NW can upgrade their system so that booking flights with AF to SVO becomes easier. I know the seats exist because I've called the airline directly, yet I cannot book the award travel online. This is my only problem, otherwise the site is great. Too bad you can't combine miles from other skyteam operators, especially now since they are partners. I have 11000 DL miles that I will just never use because I am trying to earn Silver with NW.
LH 442
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 10:22 am

Quoting Ejmmsu (Reply 11):
I know WN's "rapid reward" credits only last a year.

Which is why Rapid Rewards, as Southwest advertises, is "an award program you can actually use." Except for a few blackout dates, if a seat is available, "you've got it" -- no bait/no switch, no smoke/no mirrors. The number of Rapid Reward credits required for a free roundtrip ticket must indeed be accrued within a one year period -- meaning they do not continue to accumulate indefinitely.

Sounds like a most equitable tradeoff to me; no false hopes of "fly free faster" for customers and no high costs incurred by Southwest in assisting customers searching for the proverbial needle-in-a-haystack "saver" award seat in the most popular markets during peak travel periods or concocting some convoluted double-connect (with long layovers between flights) routing to piece together an itinerary with "saver" space available.
 
bjg231
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 10:23 am

I got a free ticket voucher for giving up my seats to overbooked passengers and it took my 6 tries to find a flight with availability, and even then they were only available in the early morning.

It was funny when I got to the counter and the attendant laughed at how they routed me through DTW to get to MEM from RDU (they have several direct flights per day, all of which had more than a few open seats according to the nice lady behind the counter). Luckily, I got on the direct flight from standby.


Moral of the story: if they offer you a free ticket or a $300 dollar credit voucher, take the voucher. The free ticket is worthless unless you want to fly to a hub as your final destination but don't mind being routed through a different hub on a morning flight.
If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.
 
TVCFlyer
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 1:50 pm

When you want to go to a popular warm weather destination, (Northwest doesn't) have seats for frequent fliers. They just don't exist," Kennedy said. "But the truth is, I could probably get a frequent-flier ticket to Poughkeepsie in the middle of January."

Horse Pucky! In the last year, I redeemed 3 tickets to Florida during peak spring break time and 2 tickets to Austria during peak summer European vacation time.
 
744
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 3:32 pm

I can NEVER book award tickets on NWA even a year to six months in advance. Also flights to Asia are also full upto six months in advance. NWA World Perks is just BULL SH*T. Also it's very difficult to book an award ticket on other Skyteam partners. What's wrong with NWA WP? Why aren't there any availablity especiallt from SFO-LHR??
 
sllevin
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:33 pm

It's possible to redeem awards on NW. It's just a lot harder than with anyone else.

If you are not flying enough to be elite, and doing that flying domestically, there's no reason to use NW.

As far as credit cards, the only thing I use my WP Visa for is ticket purchases, which get double miles (which can add up for J/C tickets).

Otherwise my primary card is the Starwood AMEX. Worst case, you can transfer in blocks of 20,000 points and get 25,000 NW miles. Best case, it's "neutral" and should your airline preference change, you can transfer to a different airline.

Steve
 
burnsie28
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Wed Apr 13, 2005 12:39 am

Quoting 744 (Reply 27):
Why aren't there any availablity especiallt from SFO-LHR??

Maybe because NW doesnt serve LHR  Wink Nor do any of their US partners.
 
ejmmsu
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:01 am

According to the NW website, LHR is one of the cities you can book a reward ticket to. Of course, you would have to connect in AMS on KL.
"If the facts do not conform to the theory, they will have to be disposed of"
 
KLMA330
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:06 am

NWA is amazing at redeeming points.. I used mine to fly across the US a few years back, and every day it seemed I called to revise my itinerary, change dates, or whatever, and I never got anything but an affirmative with a smile...
 
SHUPirate1
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:38 am

Quoting Aloha73G (Reply 18):
Even more galling is the 14% who say they have trouble getting UPGRADES on Southwest...

No...the quote is that 14% of those people are SUCCESSFUL in getting upgrades on Southwest. Regardless, I would seriously like to meet one of those 14%.
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
MidnightMike
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:56 am

Quoting Aloha73G (Reply 18):
Even more galling is the 14% who say they have trouble getting UPGRADES on Southwest...

Upgrades on Southwest? How about none or none!
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Tango-Bravo
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Wed Apr 13, 2005 4:43 am

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 24):
no high costs incurred by Southwest in assisting customers searching for the proverbial needle-in-a-haystack "saver" award seat

About one minute ago, I finished a call where 14 munutes were wasted looking for a proverbial needle-in-a-haystack "saver" seat for a caller that was never found in spite of a search covering a 15 day stretch. That is by no means a rare, exceptional occurance in the bait-and-switch world of "fly free faster" game played by the legacies. Sometimes, in fact, a single such call can waste twice as much time. BTW, I work for neither Southwest nor Northwest.
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Fri Apr 15, 2005 12:22 am

Quoting 744 (Reply 27):
I can NEVER book award tickets on NWA even a year to six months in advance. Also flights to Asia are also full upto six months in advance.

To a casual observer (i.e. anyone who doesn't work for an airline) booking as far in advance as possible would seem logical to believe that the best bet for finding "saver" award space (as opposed to coughing up twice as many miles for a "peak" - Rule Buster in NW jargon - award ticket.)

However, logical as it may seem, the reasoning is flawed. Airlines are very protective of their "saver" seat availability and offer few if any seats on the more popular routes and dates/seasons. You might say they're "hedging their bets" and keeping seats available to sell as revenue tickets -- which means they have a pronounced tendency to "wait-and-see" (how a flight actually books) before allocating "saver" space, which typically means that, more often than not, availability becomes better as a date draws closer -- exactly the opposite of what conventional wisdom would assume.
 
Jano
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Fri Apr 15, 2005 3:26 am

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 35):
However, logical as it may seem, the reasoning is flawed. Airlines are very protective of their "saver" seat availability and offer few if any seats on the more popular routes and dates/seasons. You might say they're "hedging their bets" and keeping seats available to sell as revenue tickets -- which means they have a pronounced tendency to "wait-and-see" (how a flight actually books) before allocating "saver" space, which typically means that, more often than not, availability becomes better as a date draws closer -- exactly the opposite of what conventional wisdom would assume.

I can only confirm this. If one does a search today for award ticket DTW-AMS then one can notice how many seats there are open in May or until about June 15. Then almost zero in the following days, weeks, months...

So, one has to be patient and search for them award seats at about 10-8 weeks out.
The Widget Air Line :)
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: NW Is Worst At Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles

Fri Apr 15, 2005 5:47 am

Quoting Jano (Reply 36):
So, one has to be patient and search for them award seats at about 10-8 weeks out.

Very good advice and observation. Except for decidedly unpopular off-peak days/times and historically rock-bottom low season (for whatever destination is concerned) dates, it is altogether common for airlines to "hold off" on offering "saver" award space until sometime within 2-3 months (or 8-10 weeks) of departure while they "wait and see" how revenue bookings will go. Generally speaking, the very best availability of "saver" award space often occurs 1 day to 1 month prior to departure -- by which time a airline has a clear picture of which flights will not be fully booked, prompting them to "cut loose" with "saver" space at that time.

Today (mid-April), for example, one will be very hard-pressed to find "saver" space to Alaska in June/July/August. By May/June/July, "saver" space will "miraculously" begin to appear on many if not most (not all) dates, even if it will be on only a few flights, at less popular times. Will that mean people have cancelled or changed their "saver" reservations enmasse? Not at all; what it will mean is that airlines have projected to their satisfaction which flights will not be sold out by day of departure and make "saver" space available on the same.