American will soon begin charging $15 to check a traveler's first bag.
American will soon begin charging $15 to check a traveler's first bag. (By Matt Rourke -- Associated Press)
Sunday, May 25, 2008


Elitism Is Contagious

Here's a neat trick CoGo stumbled on: If you have elite status on one airline, others might temporarily match the perks.

CoGo this year managed silver elite status on US Airways. Recently, when making a reservation to Rome on United, CoGo asked, as usual, that the miles be credited to US Airways, a United partner. Airlines are no longer sharing most of their perks with elite fliers on partner airlines, but a helpful United agent suggested asking for matching elite status.

After faxing a request to United, CoGo got matching status, good for 60 days. Plus, if CoGo flies 7,500 miles on United during that period, elite status, which usually requires 25,000 miles, will be extended. CoGo also checked and found other airlines that aren't even partners were willing to match.

Big deal, you say, you got through lines quicker and your luggage was tagged priority and you had a special airline telephone number so you wouldn't be put on hold forever.

No, bigger deal.

First, non-elite fliers weren't given advance seat assign ments. CoGo, with temporary elite status, not only got advance assigned seats, but was put in the first rows of coach, with five extra inches of legroom. But it got even better.

CoGo checked the flight's seating chart online and found no coach seats available, suggesting coach might be overbooked. At the gate, CoGo mentioned elite status and volunteered to be upgraded if the airline needed to free up coach seats. Instantly an agent gave business-class seat assignments to CoGo and a non-elite companion.

On the return trip, a gate agent called for elite fliers to report, and handed them and their companions business seats because again coach was oversold.

CoGo's frequent-flier miles to Rome had to be credited to United, meaning those miles won't count toward elite status on US Airways next year, but it was more than worth the trade-off.


Broadway Made Easy

Need general Broadway information in six languages, show recommendations, tickets, reservations for restaurants, hotels or a car? Check out New York's new Broadway Concierge & Ticket Center, opening next month at 1560 Broadway, between 46th and 47th streets. Sponsored by the nonprofit Broadway League, a trade association of theaters and producers, the center also will offer parking information, free neighborhood maps, package deals and alerts about special events.

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