Destination DCA: Behind the Scenes Tour


Happy 74th Birthday, DCA!Happy 74th Birthday, DCA!
Happy 74th Birthday, DCA!

To celebrate the 74th anniversary of Reagan National Airport (DCA), the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) is holding a behind the scenes tour of operations at the airport.

Destination DCA will give 25 lucky participants insight into the past, present and future of Reagan National Airport.

MWAA will randomly select 25 guests for lunch and a guided tour of the airfield at DCA.

The event will take place on June 23, 2015 from  1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

To enter for a chance to attend, go to

Entries open open Tuesday, June 16, 2015 and close on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 12:00 noon (Eastern Time).

This event sounds like great fun!

How to Secure a Parking Spot at DCA

Check Parking Availability for DCA Online
Check Parking Availability for DCA Online

Don’t leave things to chance.  If you are flying out of Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA) you can check the live parking status online before you leave your home or office.

Parking at DCA can be tight, especially on holidays.

There are only about 2,800 spaces in the economy lot, and limited offsite parking.

Even better, you can reserve a parking space in advance via ePark.  You can make your reservation online at from 24 hours to six months in advance of your trip.

Better yet, leave your car at home at take the Metro!

Guarantee Your Parking Space Advance at DCA

Reserve A Parking Space in Advance at DCA
Reserve A Parking Space in Advance at DCA

ePark customers are guaranteed a spot in their chosen parking lot, even if the signs say the lot is full.  You can open the entry and exit gate with the credit card linked to your online reservation.

There is no fee to make a reservation online!

Reservations can be changed or canceled online up to 24 hours before arrival time, free of charge.

How To Make a Parking Reservation at DCA

There are six simple steps to making a successful online parking reservation:

  • Select your date and time
  • Choose the parking garage or lot
  • Complete your personal information
  • Provide your credit card payment details
  • Print out your confirmation email
  • Bring the credit card you used in order to enter and exit the parking facility!

A 24/7 customer service center at 703-417-PARK (7275) handles all inquiries for parking customers, including ePark.

Easy, peasy, and good to know if you are traveling at a peak time!

Keep Your Frequent Flyer Miles Active with Thanks Again

Thanks Again Loyalty Program QR CodeThanks Again is a loyalty program that awards airline frequent flyer miles for parking and other purchases at 170 airports throughout the U.S.

If you sign up via BWI’s link, you can earn 100 airline miles or 200 hotel points for enrolling!  This enrollment bonus is valid through December 31, 2015.

Thanks Again allows you to automatically earn frequent flyer miles or hotel points when you park, shop and dine at BWI or any of the other participating airports, such as RDU, DCA, BOS, PIT, FWA, AUS, and dozens of others.

This is a great way to extend the expiration date on an inactive frequent flyer account, or to maintain steady activity on the account.

Thanks Again Bonus Rewards

Simply register one or more American Express, Visa, or MasterCard credit card and pair it with the rewards program of your choice.  You will automatically earn one  extra mile, or two extra hotel points, when you shop at any of 24,000 participating locations.  This is on top of any other points you are earning with the card.

Real big spenders earn 5x miles or 10x points if they spend $1,000 in a calendar quarter.  

 Thanks Again Participating Loyalty Programs

  • AeroMexico Club Premier
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  • American AAdvantage
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Frontier EarlyReturns
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • US Airways Dividend Miles

 Hotel Programs

  • Hilton HHonors
  • VOILÀ Hotel Rewards
  • Wyndham Rewards

Have you tried Thanks Again?

Act Fast for $79 Intro Fares From DCA to Dallas

Virgin America Inaugural Service from DCA to DAL
Virgin America Inaugural Service from DCA to DAL

Virgin America is inaugurating new nonstop service from Washington, DC (DCA) to Dallas (Love Field).

The airline is offering an introductory fare of  $79 one way, including taxes.

Tickets must be purchased today or tomorrow, April 25 or 26, 2014.

The fare is available for travel on most dates from October 13, 2014 through November 20, 2014.  

Do you like the graphics in Virgin America’s advertising campaigns?

Why Diversification in Frequent Flyer Programs is a Bad Idea for Budget Travelers

Frequent Flyer ProgramsIt seems obvious to the casual observer.

Diversification is a good idea in the stock market, but it is a bad idea as far as frequent flyer programs go.

In order to maximize award travel, you need to concentrate your earning strategy on one or maybe two frequent flyer programs.

Miles and points have no value if they are not used.  Zilch.  So there is little value in gathering a few miles here and a few miles there unless you will have enough to redeem for an award ticket or hotel room.

Miles and Points Programs Are Loyalty Programs

Frequent flyer and hotel programs are loyalty programs so it stands to reason that they reward loyalty.  If you spread your spending around, the less likely you are to accrue enough points in any one program to redeem an award, or to benefit from elite status.  Now I am not one for elite status, but if you are doing a lot of traveling, and can arrange your travel to concentrate on a particular airline or hotel chain, you may accelerate your points earning as you move up the loyalty program ladder.

35,000 Miles Won’t Get Me Where I Want to Go

Let me give an example.  Last year, I opened a The US Airways Premier World MasterCard® for a bonus of 35K miles.  I thought this was a great deal because the miles were awarded after making my first purchase — there was no minimum spend requirement.  Free miles, I thought.  (The offer now is for $30K miles after your first purchase, with an annual fee of $89.)

US Airways fit into our family’s travel plans, because they had a lot of flights from Washington National (DCA) to Hartford (BDL).  The US Airways card came with two $99 companion passes, so I thought it would be a good way for our family of three to save on travel expenses.  Furthermore, it allowed award redemptions for 5,000 fewer points. (Economy awards on US Airways normally cost 25K miles, but if you have The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®, they cost only 20K miles.)

When it came time to book our travel, there was ready award availability at the “economy” level for flights from DC to Hartford.

So what’s the problem?

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Washington’s Airports: Pretty in Pink

MWAA Cherry Blossom FestivalWashington DC’s airports are getting in the spirit of the National Cherry Blossom Festival with pink lighting to greet visitors flying in for the event.  This year, peak bloom is forecast for April 8-12, 2014.

Check out some spectacular photographs of Dulles International Airport (IAD) decked out in pink by photographer J. David Buerk.

At both Reagan (DCA) and Dulles airports, food and retail concessioners will feature specials such as pink cocktails. donuts and apparel, through April 13, 2014.

The most interesting offering looks to be the Pink Hana Roll with salmon and avocado at Matsutake Sushi, at Gate A18.  You can find a complete list of specials at IAD shops and restaurants here.

Four Small Hacks to Save Big on Car Rentals

UnknownExperienced travelers know that there can be a big variation in car rental rates from company to company.

It is all a function of supply and demand, and it pays to shop around.

I usually start by checking Priceline first, to determine which rental company is offering the lowest rates for my chosen dates.  Then I go to that company’s website to see more details.

Sometimes I use a rental code from an airline website, and sometimes I go through a cash back shopping portal like FatWallet.

On a recent trip, I discovered several other random factors that can make a big difference in car rental costs.

  1. Return Location
  2. Date of Booking
  3. Pick-up Location
  4. Pick-up Time

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Part 1: Reagan National Airport is an Art Deco Delight

The original Washington National Airport (DCA) Terminal building is an art deco masterpiece commissioned by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) in 1938 and completed in 1940.

If you have some time to spare on your next trip out of DCA in Washington, DC you should wander over to see the exhibit hall and the restoration of the historic terminal between Terminal A and Terminal B.

The wonderful art deco features have been lovingly restored by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. DCA is an Art Deco Delight The space now serves as a quiet retreat from the rest of the bustling airport.

There is an public exhibit area above the waiting room with historic photographs and artifacts from the art deco era. You can see glass balustrades and other examples of streamlined Art Deco ornamentation.

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The Airlines: Then and Now

The print edition of the today’s Washington Post has a great full page spread of infographics comparing  the airline industry of today to the days before deregulation in 1978.

© Goehrum Christian, Dreamstime Stock Photos

Frequent flyer programs emerging since deregulation generate customer loyalty among hundreds of millions of people, reports Dwuan D. June.

“There are trillions of miles out there — 85 percent of which have never been redeemed,” according to Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst cited in the article.

This statistic demonstrates the potentially large cost that airlines are carrying on their books, if consumers can figure out clever ways to leverage their miles.

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