When Delta Air Lines jumped into the New York-Chicago airline shuttle war this summer, they made a splash by offering triple points (miles) on its roundtrip flights.
Win for Business Travelers
In other words, normally a passenger could earn close to 1,500 miles on a roundtrip LaGuardia-O’Hare flight, but Delta’s new offer increases that to 4,400 miles.
And naturally, since the airlines are forever playing “Follow-the-Leader”, United quickly matched this offer, followed in short order by American Airlines. This is an excellent way of quickly working your way to “elite” airline miles status with all its attendant perks.
“That’s Where the Money Is”
Why are the airlines pulling out all the stops? Because to paraphrase Willie Sutton’s famous phrase (one he denied ever uttering) – when it comes to business travelers, that’s where the money is.
Even if they forgo “business class”, business travelers pay big bucks because typically they fly at the last minute. For example, a flight from NY to Chicago leaving tomorrow, Tuesday, July 27 would cost close to $400 roundtrip – but if purchased two weeks in advance, the airfare is only $228. Yes, the airlines love their road warriors.
Which explains why Delta has 11 daily flights between New York and Chicago, why American has 17 and why United has 18.
Virgin America Wants a Piece of NY-CHI
And it looks like Virgin America is going to take another shot at the market: according to news reports, the airline will revive its efforts “to negotiate gate space at O’Hare.” It got nowhere when it tried a couple of years ago, but they seem more determined than ever.