Saturday, September 26, 2009

Real Talk on Buying and Selling Airline Vouchers Online

By Mike Grasso

These days finding a great bargain often means a simple visit to Ebay or Craiglist. On these sites a potpourri of goods are available, often for a fraction of their retail price. Included in these listings are airline travel vouchers and free tickets. But most airlines restrict the sale or barter of travel credits, and word of harsh punishments, such as voiding the credit, and/or closing members' frequent flyer account, have been reported in a few cases. So what do you do if you are in the market to unload your travel credits or find heavily discounted certificates? Here are some suggestions:

Selling your credits? This often happens for people receiving electronic discount codes or paper certificates which reduce the airfare price and/or offer a free ticket. The rules of use are usually spelled out on the certificate, so read them carefully. Usually a "transfer" to another person can be done, provided no money or goods are exchanged. If you do opt to sell it (I did tell you selling is probably not allowed, right?), then consider selling to a trusted buyer, or a friend. Another suggestion: Free travel credits make great stocking stuffers for the holidays, and without the worry about getting caught selling them.

Buying travel credits? Really think this through folks. There are plenty of scammers out there as well as many honest folks trying to sell (albeit "illegally") legitimate goods. If it sounds to good to be true...ya, it probably is. If the person selling the travel credit on Ebay has few or no previous ratings, would you trust them? Similarly, if buying from Craigslist, how will you ensure an electronic credit, for example, hasn't already been redeemed, or the seller won't redeem it shortly after you buy it? Although sellers often list the terms & conditions of transferability in their posting, how will you know they have listed ALL of them? These are many of the questions you should be asking yourself before considering a purchase. And the obvious - do the benefits outweigh the potential risks?

Having said all that, I personally know people who've bought and sold airline credits over the years with few difficulties. But, as mentioned earlier, the airlines have reportedly penalized some unlucky folks for doing the same. So before you decide to put yourself in the market for travel vouchers, weigh the pros and cons, and if you decide to buy or sell, do so with plenty of caution.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Saturday Sept 26: Free Entrance at Participating U.S. Museums

Thanks to Lydie over at Travel is more fun with kids for this tip on several free museums nationwide this Saturday.
On September 26th, enjoy free general admission for one person and a guest at a hundred museums all over the U.S. You NEED to print the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day admission card to receive the two free entrances. Click here to downtown the admission card.

Here is a list of participating Bay Area museums:

Blackhawk Museum Danville

California Automobile Museum (formerly the Towe Auto Museum) Sacramento
California State Military Museum and Resource Center Sacramento
California State Railroad Museum Sacramento
Cartoon Art Museum of California San Francisco
Chabot Space & Science Center Oakland
Contemporary Jewish Museum San Francisco
Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education San Mateo
Crocker Art Museum Sacramento
Exploratorium San Francisco
Explorit Science Center Davis
Lindsay Wildlife Museum Walnut Creek
Monterey Museum of Art Monterey
Museum of Craft and Folk Art San Francisco
Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) San Francisco
Sacramento Zoo Sacramento
San Mateo County History Museum Redwood City
SF Camerawork San Francisco
Sonoma County Museum Santa Rosa
Sonoma League for Historic Preservation Sonoma
Sun Gallery, Hayward Area Forum of the Arts Hayward
The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts Sacramento
Zeum: San Francisco's Children's Museum San Francisco
Also consider reading Lydie's tips for a drama-free visit to any museum with your children.

Enjoy your Saturday!

Monday, September 21, 2009

$29 West Coast and $89 East Coast Fares from Virgin America

Virgin America launched a pretty incredible deal this morning for those of you thinking of traveling later this month. Fares of $29 each way are available to cities throughout the west coast, including Seattle, and $89 each way to cities along the east coast, including New York and Boston. Some great first class airfares are available as well! Book by 7am Tuesday morning for travel September 22-September 30, 2009.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Southwest Fliers: Register for Double Rapid Rewards Credit

Southwest Rapid Rewards members can now earn double credit for all flights between now and October 31, 2009. That means you earn 2 credits for each one way flight (4 if it's a roundtrip) to any city Southwest serves. Similar to other double credit offers offered by other airlines the past couple weeks, the promo is for new business/tickets - not for reservations made prior to the promotion start date. Click here to sign up.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

San Francisco to Seattle or Vegas for $99 RT "All In"

Virgin America just dropped fares from San Francisco to Seattle and Las Vegas to $78 roundtrip + taxes, which comes to $99 "all in." Valid for purchase now, travel between September 16 (today!) and November 18, 2009. Peak travel days (Friday and Sunday) seem to be about $10 more each way. These are some great fares for these markets. Click here to book travel.

Monday, September 14, 2009

inFLIGHTout Updates @ Twitter

follow me on twitter:

In an effort to provide expanded content and deliver the latest travel talks in a timely manner, I recently incorporated a Twitter "tweet" box located along the left column of the blog. Tweets, if you're not familiar with them, are short bits of information often with accompanying click-thru links to get the complete story - when applicable. In addition to full-length posts appearing on inFLIGHTout, the tweets sent throughout the day can easily be seen both on this website and at, where you can get real-time updates to your Twitter-supported mobile device.

Recent Tweets:

  • Aer Lingus ending SFO-Dublin, Ireland flights effective October 25, 2009.
  • SFO-Tampa, Florida $193RT, including all taxes. Valid thru Summer 2010
  • Register to earn double elite-qualifying miles on Continental Airlines
  • United 1K Members: Earn 5,000 Mileage Plus miles for each Hyatt stay worldwide through October 31st.
  • Starwood Elite members: 2 just released promos help you retain your status.
  • Frontier Airlines lowers ticket change fee from $150 to $100.
  • Hijacked AeroMexico plane lands safely in Mexico City
  • @TSABlogTeam. New TSA Procedures for Traveling with Powders -->
  • 15% off JetBlue flights thru December 19th when using AMEX card

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Continental Airlines Offers Double Elite Miles Promotion

Continental is the latest airline to offer a Fall/Winter double elite-qualifying miles promotion. Under the terms, members of Continental's OnePass program will earn double EQM's for all flights between September 9 and December 15, 2009. Registration is required. In the past week, American and United announced similar promotions.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hijacked AeroMexico Plane Lands in Mexico City

CNN is reporting an AeroMexico plane en route from the resort city of Cancun was hijacked Wednesday afternoon. The plane has since landed in Mexico City, without incident. Read more.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

15% Off JetBlue Flights When Purchasing With AMEX

Use your American Express card to purchase your next JetBlue flight and save 15% off the fare.
Book by September 20th for travel now through December 16, 2009. Travel valid from select markets, including Oakland. Click here for more details on the offer.

inFLIGHTout Travel Tip: Register Your Trip

In light of the unfortunate events in Mumbai and Bangkok fairly recently, it is a good idea to let the State Department know your international travel plans. U.S Embassies located throughout the world can aid you in the event of civil unrest, terrorism or natural disaster. Additionally, U.S Embassies and Consulates can assist if you are a victim of a crime, become ill, or are involved in a car accident.

Registering your trip is voluntary and free.

Click here to read additional information from the U.S State Department and to register.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Earn Double Elite-Qualifying Miles or Segments with New United Promo

Quick to respond to yesterday's American Airlines double-elite qualifying miles offer, United Airlines just released a similar promotion. Register to earn either double elite-qualifying miles or segments for travel on United between September 3rd and December 15, 2009. If you are a general member with United (no status), or you are close to achieving the next tier of status with the airline, definitely register for this promotion, as it makes it much easier to reach various elite level thresholds.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Register Now for Double Elite-Qualifying Miles on American Airlines

Similar to the promotion offered this past Spring, American Airlines is offering double elite-qualifying miles for all flights between September 2 and December 15, 2009. Another similar offer, targeted to existing elite members, rewards members who reach additional mile/point milestones. Register for both these promotions today.