You only live twice


Many years ago, a colleague of mine was proudly showing me her lifetime membership card for Ansett Airlines’ Golden Wing business lounge.

Less than a year later, the Australian airline went bust and the offer was rendered worthless. Well, thanks to United Airlines — which has become the gift that keeps giving for cynical travel writers — I’ve now encountered something that tops that in the disappointment stakes.

Continue reading You only live twice

It pays to know the rules

I am a big fan of loyalty schemes, but I’m the first to admit that I’m no expert.


There are entire websites devoted to helping you make the most out of frequent-flyer and hotel memberships, and the credit cards that link to them.

If you really want to maximise your points, and you are prepared to change banks, juggle many cards at once and go slightly crazy doing it, I suggest you check them out. Lucky’s One Mile At A Time blog is a good place to start. You’ll be amazed at how he manages to make the system work for him, often resulting in spectacular upgrades and free trips.  But it’s a full-time job. Continue reading It pays to know the rules

Ghosts in the machine

I’ve been having to-and-fro conversations with Qantas’s social media team and other interested parties since I wrote this piece about my Frequent Flyer points.

qantas747Basically, my complaint was — and is — about phantom availability: reward seats that show up on the Qantas web page but have actually already been booked by somebody else.

Continue reading Ghosts in the machine