Intelligence – November, 16 2012

Intelligence – November, 16 2012

The group of airlines currently identified with AviancaTaca will become re-branded as Avianca next year. Star Alliance carriers TACA International, Lacsa, TACA Peru and Aviateca will adopt the Avianca name in the first half of 2013, followed by Aerogal later in the year. …

China’s Ministry of Railways launched a trial loyalty program for a select group of passengers. These passengers can earn credits for train tickets purchased that can then be redeemed for tickets for most China domestic travel, excluding Hong Kong. …

Etihad Airways’ CEO says the airline would consider buying the Irish government’s 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus if they were approached with an offer. Etihad has minority stakes in Aer Lingus, airberlin and Virgin Australia. Etihad is also looking toward India and Asian markets for new opportunities and has stated no interest in Portugal’s TAP. Etihad’s CEO also denies any plans to become part of the SkyTeam alliance, even with the codeshare deal with Air France/KLM. …

Look for a GlobalPass Visa card to come soon. …

Virgin Australia Velocity members can now earn points through shopping online at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Top Shop and iTunes Australia. …

Aeroplan has ended its partnership with Barcelo Hotels & Resorts. …

Malaysia Airlines is set to officially join the oneworld alliance on Feb. 1, 2013. The 125 million members of the current oneworld member airlines’ frequent flyer programs will be able to earn and redeem awards with an expanded southeast Asia route network and to a new country, Brunei. …

Rumor has it that Virgin Atlantic is in “fairly advanced talks” to join a global airline alliance. The alliance has not been announced, but a London-based industry analyst says it’s 60-40 in favor of SkyTeam. Richard Branson was quoted as saying, “Virgin Atlantic has always enjoyed its independence, but since pretty well every competitor that we have has an alliance I think we have finally decided that to survive we need to have an alliance.” …

Aeromexico has started new daily service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Mexico City as of Nov. 5, 2012. The carrier offers nearly 600 daily flights to 45 destinations in Mexico and 32 international destinations in the U.S., Canada, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. DFW added 12 new international destinations and four international carriers this year. …

Aimia Inc., the company formerly known as Groupe Aeroplan, has an agreement to increase its stake in Aeromexico Club Premier from 29 to 49 percent. …

Through March 31, 2013, Alaska Mileage Plan members can get 15,000 miles for switching to T-Mobile (new two-year agreement, excludes residents of Alaska). …

Rumor has it that Best Western Rewards will soon be rolling out a new elite tier and members can expect more changes for the program in 2013. …

Aeroplan members can now earn one mile for every $1 spent when shopping with Birks, a retailer of jewelry, timepieces and gifts online at birks.com and at more than 30 stores across Canada. And members can earn two miles for every $1 of platinum, gold or silver sold online at birksgoldexchange.com. You can earn 1,000 bonus miles through Dec. 31, 2012 with first purchase. …

AirMilesMart has closed its doors as of last month. The site let members earn points while shopping that could be converted to frequent travel loyalty program currency.

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