Monday, May 11, 2009

The Morning News ... American Offers One-Way Mileage Award Flights; Priceline Bookings Increase Despite Tough Times

---Starting Monday, American Airlines will allow passengers to use miles to book one-way award flights using half the miles required for a round-trip flight. That's an innovation among major airlines' mileage programs. And the airline also has changed the awards program to combine various awards levels on round-trip tickets and combined coach flights with first-class on round-trip awards. American calls the new program One-Way Flex Awards.

---I'm becoming more of a believer in the blind-bid method -- assuming I know the general market where I am staying, and based on the assumption that chain hotels in various niches (three-star, four-star, five-star) have built consistency so well into their products. I suddenly had to book this morning for a room tonight near BWI. Went to the Priceline "Name Your Own Price" page and got the airport Marriott Courtyard for $75. Published rate on the Marriott Web site: $179.

Priceline seems to be doing ok in the travel turndown, as some other bookers struggle. Priceline today said its first-quarter gross travel bookings by consumers were $1.9 billion, an increase of 10.5% over the 2008 first-quarter. The company's profit for the quarter was $208.3 million, up 15 percent.

The number of hotel-room nights it booked was up 36 percent.


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