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|More Bad News for Travelers|
|Written by Rich Truesdell|
|Tuesday, 17 June 2008 10:13|
Today's edition of USA Today has more bad news for travelers, as if we're not getting enough. First we learn that some rental car companies are charging a highway-robbery-like $8.00/gallon when you don't prepay for a full tank of fuel and come back with less than a full tank. And on the frequent flier front, US Airways continues to shoot themselves in the foot with full-fare business fliers with some hard-to-understand decisions regarding their best-paying passengers.
If you're planning on renting a car this summer you owe it to yourself to read Gary Stoller's blog on excessive refueling charges. Especially useful is the chart he's compiled on returning a rental car at 10 major airports if you've rented from Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, or Thrifty. Return that SUV on empty if you're running late to catch your flight; it can cost you as much as $200 to have one of the rental car companies top off the tank.
If you're a member of the US Airways frequent flier program, especially one with elite status, you will do well to read Ben Mutzabaugh's daily Today in the Sky blog. One of the perks for elite-level fliers is the practice of awarding bonus miles, 25% to 100% of miles actually flown, depending on your elite (silver, gold, platinum) status. The elimination of the minimum of a 500-mile award for short flight segments has raised the ire of US Airways' frequent flier Dividend Miles community.
This, combined with redemption fees and the fact that flights are so full that it's often impossible to get an award seat (I prefer to use miles to upgrade from coach to business class rather than to score a free ticket), is reducing the appeal of the network carriers' frequent flier programs.
Based on the comments posted, US Airways' efforts to maximize revenue are chasing away its most loyal, best-paying customers. The net result for USA Airways? Unless you are held hostage living in a US Airways fortress hub city like Phoenix or Charlotte, you'll most likely choose to fly another airline, especially low cost carriers like Southwest or JetBlue.