Mileage Insurance Canceled

If you were thinking about protecting your hoard of frequent flyer miles by purchasing insurance on them, think again.

AwardGuard, the frequent-flier insurance offered by PrivilegeFlyer, has been temporarily suspended for new customers because of problems renewing the coverage through Lloyd's of London. AwardGuard coverage, which costs $119 a year, would go into effect only when a frequent-flier program goes out of business and is not taken over by another carrier.

AwardGuard is, to the best of our knowledge, the only frequent-flier-mile insurance offered. Contact: telephone 800-487-8893.

Swiss Axes Boston, DC Flights

Swiss International Air Lines, the successor to Swissair, has suspended its Boston and Washington flights. The airline said it would resume service to those cities in the summer, but some airline industry analysts are skeptical.

Apparently its strategy of targeting first and business class passengers and offering high-quality, high-priced service has failed and bankruptcy is a possibility. The revised tactic is to sell front-of-the-bus tickets to those who can afford them but to fill unsold seats at deep discounts available only on the Internet in order to avoid paying travel agency commissions.

Though the outlook is bleak, the feeling among industry watchers is that, for a variety of reasons, Switzerland must have an airline - the implication being more government financial involvement - even though it may be as a niche player like Finnair rather than a major worldwide carrier like Lufthansa.

Two for One on Swiss

Use a MasterCard to pay for a ticket on Swiss International Air Lines and a companion flies free. The offer is good for travel through the end of the year and has restrictions. Contact: telephone 877-359-7947.

May 2003