Warning! Soon, airline loyalty will cost you

delta7Like many frequent travelers, Glenn Haussman recently received an e-mail from Delta Air Lines about an “update” to its SkyMiles loyalty program. It was so understated that some passengers didn’t bother to read it. But Haussman did.

“I was not thrilled,” says Haussman, who works for a hotel industry Web site in New York. “It made me feel less valuable to Delta.”

How can a loyalty program make passengers feel unappreciated? Delta is the first legacy airline to tie the value of its frequent-flier program to the amount of money you spend, as opposed to the number of miles you fly. Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the airline’s frequent fliers will earn “elite” status, which gives them access to upgrades and other perks, through a combination of miles or segments flown and annual spending on Delta flights.
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Why won’t insurance cover my lost frequent-flier miles?

Question: My wife used her Delta frequent flier miles for a trip to Manchester, England, to visit her mother. She bought trip insurance through Allianz. Two days before she was supposed to return, she called me to let me know she had been taken to the hospital with severe stomach pain.
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What do you do when points vanish into thin air?

What's the point? / Photo by Mitchell Bartlett - Flickr
Question: I’m having an issue with Points.com I thought you might be able to help resolve. I recently traded 6,000 American Airline miles for 6,000 JetBlue miles, with a transaction fee of $100. The interface stated that the estimated processing time was five to eight business days.
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Consultants help turn frequent flier awards into tickets — for a price

Christine Ballentine is a loyal US Airways customer, and she’s been saving up her frequent-flier miles for a trip to France this summer. But turning them into a ticket hasn’t been easy.
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Ridiculous or not? Airline rules were meant to be broken (by elites)

You don’t have to fly frequently to know the airline industry has some of the most ridiculous rules in the travel business. But if you fly enough, you may not have to follow all of them.

For example: Most passengers are herded through boarding areas in large, disorganized groups. Unless you’re an elite-level frequent flier; then you skip through a “breezeway” or over a red carpet, away from the long line, directly to your preferred seat. Frequent fliers also get to shortcut the lengthy security line at some airports, and they don’t have to pay many checked luggage fees and other surcharges.
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