Cost-cutting is still the name of the game with the big boys, but that doesn’t always mean passengers have to suffer. One of the ways financially-strapped airlines save a few pennies is by migrating their customers to the Internet — it saves time, paperwork, and labor costs. During its brief dalliance with bankruptcy, for example, US Airways made a strategic point of pushing Web-based services — they were the first to make all frequent flyer statements electronic.
To get you to click instead of call, most of the Big Six continue to offer incentives for online activity.
Continental, for example, is currently offering 1,000 bonus miles for first-time online check-in through Sept. 30.
Delta SkyMiles is offering a 1,000-mile bonus on all paid roundtrip bookings, and 500 miles for one-way flights.
Northwest WorldPerks takes the lead though, with a much larger variety of online bonus options. Signing up for NWA Email by Sept. 30, for example, nets a cool 2,000 miles — 1,000 miles for signing up, and another 1,000 miles if you’re still on the mailing list at the end of the year.
Award booking earns 1,000 miles for the first time, and 500 miles on every subsequent award booked until the end of the year.
Revenue tickets earn the same bonus — 1,000 miles for the first time, and 500 miles after that, until the end of the year.
And first-time users of the online check-in service earn 1,000 miles for any E-Ticket eligible flight within the U.S., between the U.S., Canada and Mexico and from North America to the Caribbean, Asia and Europe.
US Airways continues to offer the most generous first-time online booking bonus in the industry — 3,000 miles for booking a roundtrip before Oct. 31. There’s also a standard 1,000-mile bonus for subsequent online bookings through Oct. 31. And though Dividend Miles has moved exclusively to online account statements, it won’t twist your arm without a little love: Subscribers earn 1,000 miles through Oct. 31.