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The "game" pre Flyertalk

The "game" pre Flyertalk

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Old Aug 13, 19, 5:42 pm
  #1  
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The "game" pre Flyertalk

This thread got me thinking about the fact that many of us started traveling before the internet really took off, and many of the loopholes during those days were much better than current deals, though a far cry the stuff we mined/discussed here between 2000 and 2010 (e.g. Valumags may well have been a peak that mankind will never ascend again). Because there was no FT equivalent, these things tended to stick around a lot longer (i.e. until the end of the quarter, at the earliest).

I'm starting this conversation because I'm curious about how people approached the "game" before: 1. we shared information on the internet; and 2. airline IT systems all but nonexistent.

I have to admit that my business travel career started about 6 months before I joined FT, so my own knowledge isn't of much use, but I think I have enough to get the ball rolling:

1. AA miles were extremely valuable because the original marketing people mispriced the premium awards
2. DL miles were easy to accrue if you connected in DFW on transcon itineraries
3. Overbooking (bump voucher) situations were always on offer for those that cared
4. Buying one way tickets from the newspaper classifieds (e.g. BOS-LAX, 8/23, 5p, male, $75), AND getting miles in your own name
5. Booking a dummy seat in F in order to ensure your upgrade cleared (I only did this once, and still feel guilty to this day)

Have it, guys/gals!
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Old Aug 13, 19, 6:02 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
I'm starting this conversation because I'm curious about how people approached the "game" before: 1. we shared information on the internet; and 2. airline IT systems all but nonexistent.
thanks for this! Iím looking forward to some entertaining stories

Originally Posted by moondog View Post
2. DL miles were easy to accrue if you connected in DFW on transcon itineraries
2A- DL miles were also easy to accrue because they gave a minimum credit of 1000 miles per segment (and, iirc, a minimum of 1000 miles per qualifying rental car transaction) ... TWA was also above average at 750 miles/segment
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Old Aug 13, 19, 8:45 pm
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In the mid-1980's, there were not an ID checks so one could use someone else's ticket, even if their first name was typically that of a different gender than the traveling passenger. For example, John Smith could use the ticket of Jane Brown.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 8:55 pm
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In 1985 we started flying to Europe from SFO frequently. TWA was the choice back then as they had one of the all time best awards: "Anytime," as long as seats were available, 40k for a RT FC UPG on any fare PLUS a free RT FC ticket to Europe. And frequently did 3x miles promos, so each trip to Europe resulted in close to enough for another freebie. Plus, my 2 month old son could earn miles at the full rate even on his FC infant fare, 10% of full fare. He had top elite status at the age of 1.

I knew a "ticket broker" in Newport Beach who (claims he) had beaten TW in a court case regarding barter and trade of miles awards. I didn't need to buy (or sell as the 40k awards were so valuable,) but just a data point re pre-internet and Coupon Connection.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 9:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Toshbaf View Post
In the mid-1980's, there were not an ID checks so one could use someone else's ticket, even if their first name was typically that of a different gender than the traveling passenger. For example, John Smith could use the ticket of Jane Brown.
Yes, see my point #4 in post #1 .

Back then, F500 travelers were locked into the straight and narrow, but business models rapidly evolved to capture the middle ground between $0 and $500.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 9:09 pm
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In the 1980's, mileage crediting was not so reliable. Sometimes, one did not get credit for flights taken. Once in a while, one did not get miles subtracted for an award, for example when redeeming a United award and also a small award consisting of a short flight on British Midland, it's possible that the agent would get confused and only subtract the larger UA award. Usually, it balanced out.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 11:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Toshbaf View Post
In the mid-1980's, there were not an ID checks so one could use someone else's ticket, even if their first name was typically that of a different gender than the traveling passenger. For example, John Smith could use the ticket of Jane Brown.
I used to pay people to fly in my name. Anywhere from $30-50 and I accrued a fair bit of mileage.

I remember when 100000 miles would get you not one but two First Class roundtrip awards between the US and Australia on United

Early on, if you logged 5000 miles on Alaska, you'd earn enough miles for a free confirmed space one way upgrade regardless of segments

Before people started running their mouths all over the internet, there were some fantastic routings out there. I remember buying DEN to RSW flights on AA with an AS codeshare between DEN-SEA_SFO and routing DEN-SEA-SFO-LAX-MIA-RSW.

I remember $105.00 SEA-TPA-SEA all in after 9-11.

I remember more, but that'll do for now...
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Old Aug 15, 19, 10:03 am
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speaking of TW and accruing miles when other people flew ... ~1982 I gave my sister some TW stickers for her DCA-JFK-MXP trip; she misconnected on the outbound due to a weather delay, got an Op-Up on the next day's flight to MXP, and my account got credited for her flights in F
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Old Aug 15, 19, 11:01 am
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Originally Posted by rbAA View Post
TWA was the choice back then as they had one of the all time best awards: "Anytime," as long as seats were available, 40k for a RT FC UPG on any fare PLUS a free RT FC ticket to Europe.
The upgrade and ticket were anywhere in the system, not just to Europe. And that was only half of the benefits. It also included one week of car rental and one week of hotel. By the time I was able to take advantage of this award, it had increased to 50K miles, but still the best travel bargain I ever got.
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Old Aug 15, 19, 1:38 pm
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I bought Eggo waffles by the car load for the 100AA miles per box when on sale, homeless shelter appreciated the rotation. I learned of pudding guy only after starting my churn. It has been a decade plus since packaged food came with miles.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by Toshbaf View Post
In the 1980's [...] Once in a while, one did not get miles subtracted for an award
That has still happened recently (well into the age of FlyerTalk) in the case of at least one hotel program:

Points continually not deducted
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Old Aug 17, 19, 8:51 am
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I was far too caught up in a traveling job to really understand or play the game, but did notice a thing with Delta. If I was fortunate enough to get an upgrade, I then got the miles associated with the upgrade fare class. And that made my miles grow even faster.

Delta has long since corrected that loophole.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 8:22 am
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Originally Posted by Romelle View Post
I was far too caught up in a traveling job to really understand or play the game, but did notice a thing with Delta. If I was fortunate enough to get an upgrade, I then got the miles associated with the upgrade fare class. And that made my miles grow even faster.

Delta has long since corrected that loophole.
Dependable loopholes may have closed, but mistakes still happen. Last year I had an award flight in business on AA to Europe with a transcon connection in PHL, and the day of the flight my transcon connection was so delayed so much that I would have missed the connection to my flight to Europe. I called up AA and they rebooked me on BA the whole way. Well, some time after returning from the trip I looked at my AA account and noticed they'd credited me as if I paid for that BA flight in business, I guess because of the way that it was re-booked by the AA agent.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 5:25 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
Dependable loopholes may have closed, but mistakes still happen. Last year I had an award flight in business on AA to Europe with a transcon connection in PHL, and the day of the flight my transcon connection was so delayed so much that I would have missed the connection to my flight to Europe. I called up AA and they rebooked me on BA the whole way. Well, some time after returning from the trip I looked at my AA account and noticed they'd credited me as if I paid for that BA flight in business, I guess because of the way that it was re-booked by the AA agent.
Yup - I've had this several times, including once recently for four of us. We were already on BA, using AA miles (yes, with the fuel surcharges) and weather caused problems. AA rebooked it all, and we all got miles as if we paid for BA biz.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 5:14 am
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iDine/Rewards Network used to give 20 AA miles/$1 spent at participating restaurants. Since I was in sales, Iíd always take customers out to lunch/dinner at iDine restaurants and it was transparent as you just had to register your credit card. (Even registered a bunch of other peopleís cards to my account.) The miles would just roll in!
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