If you’ve ever asked what the fuss over frequent-flier programs is about, then you know that the answer can be complicated.
Airlines love them because they’re worth billions of dollars in business. They also mean the world to many passengers, because at a time when airline amenities are evaporating faster than jet fuel spilled on a hot tarmac, perks such as upgrades and preferential treatment are just about the only things that make air travel tolerable.
So when two major airlines recently decided to upgrade their loyalty programs, they caught this skeptic’s attention.
Delta Air Lines has eliminated the expirations on its frequent-flier miles. And Southwest Airlines has completely revamped its legendary Rapid Rewards, adopting many of the features of competing incentive programs.
The response from customers offers fresh insights into the volatile relationship between air travelers and airlines, but it also presents us with new opportunities to fly smarter.
Read more “Frequent flier program changes you can root for”
I’m frequently accused of using this site as a bully pulpit, which is, of course, completely true.
I leverage this little corner of cyberspace to advocate for travelers who don’t have the clout of an elite-level frequent flier or the power of a corporate travel department to support them when they’re on the road.
Still, there’s something to be learned from listening to the other side — the folks responsible for inventing the fees and silly rules you have to put up with, the ones whose elite status affords them god-like treatment, the people who, let’s face it, don’t see the world the same way we do.
Read more “Your turn! The other side explains why we’re so wrong”
What does your airline owe you when your flight is delayed?
Airline terms and conditions — those difficult-to-read contracts of carriages — are often unclear or don’t address a specific type of delay. And if you’re flying to Europe, as Candice Sabatini was, there’s also EU 261, the much-discussed consumer protection law. But that’s widely interpreted as applying to flights from or within a EU member state.
Sabatini is a frequent reader of this site, and her recent American Airlines flight from New York to Paris was held up for mechanical reasons. One other thing to know about her is that she’s a gold-level elite customer booked in business class, so American should want to make her very happy.
Read more “Is this enough compensation? A mechanical flight delay, an automatic mileage credit”
I’ve been taking the predictable flack from the Flyertalk crowd after my recent tirade against loyalty programs. I don’t mind; I’m well-protected here in Orlando’s Green Zone.
Since we talk about right and wrong on this site frequently (see this morning’s post about the ethics of double-dipping on an insurance claim) I thought I’d share one reader email about loyalty programs that got me thinking.
Read more “Do frequent flier mileage programs make you dishonest?”
Award tickets are not free. Victoria Casey knew that when she made plans to fly to Europe on US Airways this summer. Each reservation cost her $50, in addition to the 320,000 miles she spent for four first-class tickets.
But Casey never imagined she’s be paying the airline for nothing — and paying it a lot more than $200.
Hers is a cautionary tale about the value of frequent flier mileage programs.
Read more ““It has now cost me $1,200 to go nowhere””