SriLankan Airlines Has a Nice Trick

One of the best values for traveling around Asia is SriLankan Airlines.  Their normal fares to cities across Asia through their gateway of Colombo is sometimes a bargain.  With its membership in One World, you can redeem for flights on SriLankan, or accrue miles in your own program by flying SriLankan.  However, there is a little feature that sits on their website that I almost overlooked. The ability to bid for an upgrade on your seat to business class.  The way it works is pretty simple; book any fare for a flight on SriLankan, and you can bid for the upgrade.  No matter where you got ticketed, any fare qualifies. I booked my tickets from US Banks Flexperks.  Depending on where you are going, your chances of approval for an upgrade depends on many factors.  We were going from Kuala Lumpur to Male, which is not that big of a market, so my chances were good.  However, I only bid for the first segment, as it was the longest, at a little bit over 3 hours travel time. The last segment was only an hour from Colombo to Male, which was tolerable, but 3 hours with two 4 year olds, could get turbulent, so an upgrade made sense to me.  I did some research on FlyerTalk on a thread about upgrading on SriLankan to see what others bid before I decided on how much to bid, before deciding at $150USD. They website indicates they will notify you 36-24 hours before your scheduled flight if your bid was successful, or not.  I found they notified me exactly 24 hours before scheduled departure, with a positive email about being approved for the upgrade!

The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo was on an A330 and had kind of an outdated business class cabin, but it was still far more comfortable than coach.  Service was stellar, and flight attendants very professional and friendly.  The meal consisted of a starter, a main course, and a dessert, followed by a tea and coffee service.  The tea was excellent by the way.

Kid tested – Father approved.

Curried prawns and vegetables- spicy and flavorful.

Overall, I enjoyed business class on SriLankan, and hope to fly them again someday.  Transiting through Colombo was kind of hectic, as they changed gates on us, and of course its up to you to figure that out. We almost missed our connecting flight to Male, but at the end, it all came together.  Our departure from Colombo to Male was in the evening, and we arrived in Male at 8PM, which was perfect, because the kids were tired and ready to turn in.  Have you flown SriLankan Airlines? What was your experience like?


Qatar Airways Joining OneWorld Soon!!

Coming to an alliance near you….Qatar Airways!  They have announced at the end of October, Qatar will be a part of the OneWorld alliance. This means more flexibility when redeeming miles from American Airlines, or British Airways, if you have any.  Qatar prizes itself as the world’s only 5 star airline, and the service is beautiful.  Their business class product is one the best out there, and the catering services for the airline does a marvelous job.  Come the end of October, you can experience this when redeeming AA or BA miles, because their flight network is one of the best out there.

Qatar offers a few non-stop flights out of the U.S., with a connection in Doha. This might make it easier to get to the Maldives, much of North and South Asia, and even Australia. I would even consider a stop-over in Doha, just to check out the place. Their chart below represents non-stop flights TO/FROM Doha, their hub.

In Summary, if you are collecting US Airways Dividend Miles, American Airlines, or British Airways AVIOS miles, you should be able to book an award ticket on Qatar, and fly where you want to go.  Currently, there are still lucrative credit card offers out there offering a lot of miles in these programs.

American Airlines 50,000 miles offer.

British Airways 50,000 miles offer

US Airways 40,000 miles offer


US Airways and American Airlines Merger – What Now?

The mileage community is on a buzz with this mornings news ; US Airways and American Airlines are merging!  Although the rumor has been idling in the back burner for some time, the official words are now coming from both companies.  I received two emails this morning from American Airlines and US Airways talking about how great its going to be.  They make it sound like a marriage between two rich 18 yr olds, who plan on serving caviar and Mountain Dew at the reception.

They will be operating under the American Airlines name, and will be a part of OneWorld, instead of Star Alliance.  What this means, is if you have US Airways miles, you may soon be able to redeem them on American Airlines, and any of the OneWorld carriers.  I think the part I will miss about this, the fact it was so easy to redeem for ridiculous routing rules on US Airways, since their agents had the geography skills of 2nd graders.  Of course, nothing is set in stone yet, and like any corporate mergers, there will be casualties.  Although there is no official word on routing specifics and what rules will change, if any. I am confident change is coming, and at times, the rug will be pulled from under our feet.

So What Does This Mean to Me?

In terms of credit card mileage bonuses, I recommend you get the US Airways MasterCard 40,000 miles after first spend offer soon, before it’s gone.  The card is issued by Barclays, and is pretty easy to get.  Bear in mind the Citibank American Airlines VISA and American Express cards are also out there, and with the merger, this all could change.  They aren’t going to disappear tommorow or even next week, or even a month from now….but they will change, for sure.  I’m guessing though, that Citibank will be the card provider for the American Airlines credit cards, and not Barclays.  These points will eventually be combined into your AAdvantage account.  If you don’t have an American Airlines AAdvantage account, go sign up soon. Its free.  Pick up as many miles as you can, with the offers they have out there.  This includes NetFlix, FTD Flowers, AVIS, etc..etc.  Technically, when it’s all said and done, they will offer new credit cards, under the new banner, and new offers, which YOU will qualify for since its a new product!  Even if you received miles before, you will then be able to apply for the new credit cards and get the bonuses.  I know from experience this was the case for me when United merged with Continental and the America West/ US Airways merger.  I got over 100,000 miles, just from two credit card sign-ups!!

Like the Continental Airlines and United Airlines merger last year, they were both operating independently for sometime, and eventually all systems became one.  This is going to be the same way I predict.  Expect a full union by the end of the third quarter 2013, as stated by the email.

What do you think about all this? Please comment.