MegaGoodies

In a really close race, the ballots have been counted and the winner of the 2010 Star Mega Do 2 swag bag recognition award goes to US Airways — everything in the bag, including the bag itself was useable. I mean, when is the last time you took home a real cactus from a mileage run? Point made!

Baggage Fees?

OK, count this post in the “Got Ya!” file. Along the way, this mileage run gathers a lot of booty and just coming out of Germany I’m heading for baggageville. OK, no self-respecting member of FlyerTalk should ever have to pay a bag fee given the troves of advice on how to earn elite and bypass the piggy bank of flyers that forms to your right. So, here’s just a sampling of my “take home” pay just so far:

Deep In The Heart of Texas

It should have been no surprise that the Continental branch of the UAL/CO family (or “Legacy Continental,” as they’ve taken to calling themselves) would roll out the red carpet for us. Upon entering a hangar at IAH, we found a battery of executives waiting for us — the first public appearance of the joint management team since the merger was finalized barely 30 dayss ago. SVP of sales Dave Hilfman, chief revenue officer Jim Compton, and Mileage President Jeff Foland spoke briefly to the assembled “high-rollers,” (Hilfman’s words), and, as promised, didn’t an excellent job bobbing and weaving away from our specific questions about the fate of Economy Plus, settling on which classes of service to keep, and whether the top tier of the combined loyalty program will be set at 75K or 100K. “We know the number,” Foland told me, but he wasn’t saying. “We’ll be announcing it shortly.” There will be two programs through the end of 2011, with a new one (name TBD) to kick in in 2012. Foland said he didn’t foresee any major sticking points in “harmonizing” the two programs.

After a lunch consisting of sliders, chips, and of course, chocolate sundaes, Scott O’Leary hosted a trivia contest with 10,000 bonus miles on the line. The questions (all slam dunks, let’s face it):

1. Name 8 of the 10 combined UAL and CO hubs (won by mrpalert)

2. Name 10 Star Alliance carriers (won by ChrisW, who was booed off the stage when he kept going and named Korean by mistake)

3. Name 4 ways to enter both the Red Carpet and President’s Clubs (won by SEACarl)

4. Name 4 Star Gold benefits (won by Bernard)

5. Name 8 of the of the 10 published and semi-published tiers of UAL and CO elites.

6. Name 10 countries served by both UAL and CO

7. Name 10 aircraft types operated by both


Getting the Rubdown at Dinner

OK, this is a mileage run, right? Well, looking at this picture tells you it is not your standard mileage run. Answer me this. When is the last time on a mileage run that you had a massage on the turn around? I never have, but here we are at the Lufthansa/Star Alliance dinner and there’s three masseuse on duty giving massages to all the guests. You think the line is long at the elite check-in at SFO? Well, this place was packed all night long for the weary—day one was not going out without a few pleasant surprises.

CNN follows the SMD2

Before heading to the airport, a quick trip to CNN who is compiling a story about the Star Mega Do 2 mileage run for an upcoming feature on CNN Money. Here I am with Poppy Harlow, CNN Money anchor on the street talking about the SMD2 and FlyerTalk. (because of the elections here’s in the U.S., they didn’t have the extra crew to send along so they gave me an “official” FlipCamera and I’ll be shooting the mileage run for their story—guess I have to give back their camera). Smile you’re on someone’s (very candid) camera.

CNN reports on FlyerTalk/Star Mega Do 2

SMD vs. OMG

OK, today is unlike any other day. I mean, just how many days do you start out on a mileage run of sorts with 70+ members of that special secret society of frequent flyers? Anyway, I’m just bidding my time at the gate waiting for my next connection when I hear across the way a few young ladies exclaiming their joy over some topic that clearly brings interest and excitement to themselves. The chosen term—O-M-G. O-M-G in todays lexicon stands for Oh My God or Oh My Goodness, that being a statment of exclamation. Since an exclamation is an expression of feeling, the next words from my mouth will be—S-M-D. You know, an exclamation of feeling about the Star Mega Do. Say it, say it with emotion. We, ladies and gentlemen are getting ready to rumble in the skies—forward march to the airport gate that greets us later today. Let me say it again … S-M-D.

Yabba Dabba (Star Mega) Do Two!

Well, it’s mileage run time as only the members of FlyerTalk see it. In just a few days flyers take off from NYC headed to Germany and a meeting with many of the CEOs of the Star Alliance airlines on the first leg of a week full of miles, points, camaraderie and conversation. Lufthansa is the carrier of choice on this first leg and what that means is that the biz class cabin turns into a bunk room that only a guy like me can appreciate.

Join me as I count down to Star MegaDo2—or code-name SMD2 as we like to call it.

NOTE: If you’ve got the time, take a look at last years first Star MegaDo.

Well, it’s mileage run time as only the members of FlyerTalk see it. In just a few days flyers take off from NYC headed to Germany and a meeting with many of the CEOs of the Star Alliance airlines on the first leg of a week full of miles, points, camaraderie and conversation. Lufthansa is the carrier of choice on this first leg and what that means is that the biz class cabin turns into a bunk room that only a guy like me can appreciate.

Join me as I count down to Star MegaDo2—or code-name SMD2 as we like to call it.

NOTE: If you’ve got the time, take a look at last years first Star MegaDo.

Earn with United Airlines’ Mileage Plus program on StarMegaDo 2010

We’re happy to announce that we’ve reached an agreement with the folks at United Airlines so that members of their Mileage Plus program can earn points as part of the StarMegaDo 2010 event. This is in addition to the participation of Lufthansa and Continental as mileage earning partners.

For participants who choose to credit to United the following rules will apply:

  • United will give both Mileage Plus Award Miles and Elite Status Miles (EQM) to Mileage Plus members on the CO charter flight
  • Mileage Plus miles will be awarded as if the customer were ticketed on a paid Continental flight, crediting to their Mileage Plus account
  • Miles will be awarded based on the actual routing flown by the customer-i.e. if one flies IAH-PHX-PAE and takes a different return flight, miles will only be earned on IAH-PHX-PAE
  • Mileage Plus elite members will receive the appropriate number of Elite bonus Award Miles, based on their elite status at the time of the charter flight
  • Customers ticketed in the First Class cabin will receive the appropriate Class of Service bonus for Award Miles and Elite Status Miles

We’re very happy to have United as a partner again this year and look forward to a phenomenal event this November!

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