Q&A With Randy Petersen On Greatest Award Ever

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The frequent flyer miles guru himself, Randy Petersen, sat down and shared some perspective with Points, Miles & Martinis about the greatest award booking ever. Randy really knows his stuff, so we were super excited to get a chance to pick his brain.

Q&A With Randy Petersen On Greatest Award Ever

…And It’s A Giveaway

We will be giving one lucky winner a vintage model Air France Concorde plane as well as a new black leather passport case (to keep you traveling in style) in honor of this great interview with Randy! All you have to do to enter the giveaway is either:

  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Or if you already follow us on Twitter (you’re awesome) just retweet this post!
  • Then, leave a comment letting us know that you are entered and we will pick one winner at random!

Q&A With Randy Petersen On Greatest Award Ever

Q&A With Randy Petersen On Greatest Award Ever

Interview with Randy Petersen:

1.What were some of the common options for redeeming miles to fly on the supersonic jets?

1A. There were three major options for redeeming miles to fly on these supersonic jets a.) by redeeming miles from the original Air France frequent flyer program Frequence Plus or via miles from the British Airways Executive Club program. “In their day” both Air France and British Airways each had competing supersonic jets and as a result there was great interest from a wide variety of aviation and loyalty program members to experience this ‘ultimate’ award. b) you could also access the Concorde from the emerging global alliances so either Oneworld or SkyTeam could help members of other program live their aviation dreams, as well and finally; c.) conversion partners. These would be either hotel programs which partnered with airlines who had the Concorde in their award chart or a credit card program like the original American Express Membership Miles/Membership Rewards and Diners Club Rewards which allowed redemption of their program currency into partners with Concorde awards.

2. How many miles did it cost to get an award ticket on one of these supersonic jets and what was the value of those miles to you?

2A.) How many miles? There have been many Concorde awards over time, most in the 110,000-mile range for a companion Concorde award to the 125,000-185,000-mile range per award. Yes … there were even “companion” Concorde awards if you were purchasing one, then you could use miles to bring along a companion at a lower cost per award redemption.

Here’s two sample awards that show great value:
Program: American AAdvantage (for AAdvantage members enrolled prior to January 1, 1989)
Award Description: Concorde. Two free Concorde tickets on British Airways between New York or Washington, D.C., and London. The award included free connecting coach-class travel on American Airlines and/or American Eagle between any city the airlines served in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Caribbean and New York or Washington D.C. One passenger could be ticketed for travel on all or only a portion of the other passenger’s itinerary. Although it was not necessary that both passengers travel together for the entire itinerary, passengers must have traveled at least one segment together. In addition, this award included a) seven free consecutive days’ rental of a full-size car from Hertz or Avis and b) 35 percent off the room rate for Hilton, Inter-Continental, Sheraton or Wyndham hotels (award code 175H)
Mileage/Point Requirements: 175,000
Maximum Value: $19,600
Value Per 1,000 Miles/Points: $112.00
Comments: The reason this particular Concorde award is valued higher than the rest is because it required 30-40 percent fewer miles than any other Concorde award ever offered (except for various limited offers of 2-for-1 redemptions). Add in the aspiration value of this award and it likely exceeds $175 per 1,000 miles/points.

Program: Starwood Preferred Guest (conversions prior to January 1, 2003)
Award Description: A British Airways Concorde award, using Starwood Preferred Guest points converted into Qantas Frequent Flyer miles.
Mileage/Point Requirements: 52,500 points
Maximum Value: $12,100
Value Per Dollar Spent in the Program: $.69/$.46 (elite/non-elite)
Comments: This quirky award selection was among the most popular in recent times, establishing a high value that was seen again. Several hundred, if not thousands, of these awards were redeemed between 2001 and 2002.

3. What was your most memorable supersonic flight and what is the story behind why? Details….Inquiring minds would love to know? 
3A.) Most memorable? Well, it sort of involved me. In 2002, my magazine InsideFlyer was on a magazine subscription drive and in publishing you sometimes come up with loss leaders of some promotion with the idea that you eventually gain it all back upon renewal. We offer a healthy number of Starwood Preferred Guest points for a subscription to InsideFlyer. As it turns out, my readers followed our own advice and with as few as 21 subscriptions to my magazine, could convert those SPG points into Qantas Frequent Flyer miles and redeem an award for the Concorde—total cost … $1,259 all in. Needless to say the promotion got out of hand and we ended up buying hundreds of millions of points from Starwood for this very reason and sold enough subscriptions to put 6,348 people on the Concorde. We were glad to help our readers live out their aviation dreams, but the problem was that almost no one renewed their subscriptions and we ended up losing about $100,000 on the promotion. Oh well, live by the mile … die by the mile. This was my most memorable Concorde flight!
And yes I eventually did fly the Concorde and found the plane extremely small and nothing that fancy at all about it other than flying really, really fast. To this day the three things that I remember most about my Concorde flight—I was amazed that we were so high that i could actually see the curvature of the earth, that was really, really cool. I loved watching the in-cabin speedometer and watch the speed race toward the sound barrier/Mach speed and I’m still fascinated by how the long nose of the aircraft worked since it was flexible and on the ground drooped but at speed it straighten out and flew right.

Bottom Line

We loved this interview with Randy and thought that he had so much great insight into the Concorde and flying on supersonic jets! Enter the giveaway so you can win this great prize! Post your comment below once you either follow us on Twitter or retweet this post so that we know that you are entered!

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About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

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  1. Retweeted. Wish I had the chance to fly the Concorde, especially on points!

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