Coming & Going: Travel news and notes

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Coming & Going

Delta gives its frequent fliers a break; Alexandria honored

Delta: Miles forever

If you have thousands of frequent-flier miles with Delta Airlines, relax: You can take your time using them.

Last week, Delta became the first major U.S. airline to eliminate expiration dates on frequent-flier miles. The change applies to all accounts, retroactive to Jan. 1.

Previously, miles expired 24 months after a member's last "qualifying mileage activity," which meant that a flier had to either earn or redeem miles during that period. Most airlines have similar requirements.

The change is part of a series of improvements the airline has made to its SkyMiles program, such as eliminating award redemption fees as well as a first checked bag fee for Gold, Platinum and Reserve Delta SkyMiles credit card holders from American Express.

"Now that our massive frequent-flier program integration is complete, we are focused on smart ways to improve the SkyMiles program for all members," said Jeff Robertson, Delta's vice president for SkyMiles. "We know how much customers value their miles, so eliminating mileage expiration is a major win for them."

The airline has promised more enhancements to the program this year, including an upgraded award travel calendar on and a better booking process. Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members should also expect several new benefits when flying certain alliance partner airlines, such as Air France, KLM, Alitalia and Alaska Airlines.

The Lucky Dozen

Throw down the red carpet: The National Trust for Historic Preservation has announced this year's Dozen Distinctive Destinations. The nonprofit judged the American towns on cultural significance, architecture, character, diversions and overall spirit.

And the winners are . . .

l Alexandria

l Chapel Hill, N.C.

l Colorado Springs, Colo.

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