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(AOL News)   Frequent flier miles are the airlines' own Social Security time bomb waiting to go off in their faces   (money.aol.com ) divider line
    More: Scary  
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14804 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 May 2007 at 12:49 AM (9 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



61 Comments     (+0 »)
 


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2007-05-14 12:53:34 AM  
The first airline to shed the programme, to just say "awww fark it" can cancel eveyone's miles will win.
 
Rat
2007-05-14 12:53:37 AM  
AOL is still around?

© I just can't click it
 
2007-05-14 12:54:15 AM  
can = and
 
2007-05-14 12:54:30 AM  
I don't have a frequent flyer plan, but isn't there a set amount of time where you can use those before they expire? Also, I thought that the airlines can refuse the flyer miles if the seats are already full with paying passagers.

/doesn't fly much
//wants to, though
 
2007-05-14 12:55:14 AM  
is it just me or were the
Airlines With the Most Complaints
and busiest airports graphics were mixed up
until just a few seconds ago?
 
2007-05-14 12:58:44 AM  
Frequent Flyer miles are the reasons the airlines have been able to stay in business to begin with! They temper the forces of competition.
 
2007-05-14 01:00:31 AM  
I imagine they'll probably renege. Airlines can get away with pretty much anything they want since 9/11. They'll probably bail on their programs, make up some crap about security or terrorism, and then everyone will sit around and talk about how patriotic they are.

On a side note, businesses need to stop flying people around so often. It's wasteful, terrible for the environment, and disrupts their employees' personal lives. Videoconferencing was invented for a reason.

Hell, maybe they should do anti-frequent-flier miles - the more you fly, the more you are charged per mile. This would be a nice incentive to stop wantonly crapping all over the environment and wasting the planet's remaining fuel supplies.
 
2007-05-14 01:02:35 AM  
Redeem your points ASAP! The market cannot support all the airlines and one is going to fall. Don't bank on it not being yours! When that company goes to shiat, you will lose your points! Use them now!
 
2007-05-14 01:03:28 AM  
tokyogirl79: /doesn't fly much
//wants to, though


/doesn't fly much either
//cause I don't want to
 
2007-05-14 01:04:43 AM  
Mitrovarr: Hell, maybe they should do anti-frequent-flier miles - the more you fly, the more you are charged per mile. This would be a nice incentive to stop wantonly crapping all over the environment and wasting the planet's remaining fuel supplies.

That sounds almost as good as the maximum wage! fark the minimum wage... we know where the real problem with capitalism is!
 
2007-05-14 01:04:48 AM  
Mitrovarr:
Videoconferencing was invented for a reason.




true, but it's practically impossible to perform fellatio over a copper wire connection.
 
2007-05-14 01:05:46 AM  
Luckily for the airlines, they make it next to impossible to redeem miles for a flight you actually WANT. I suspect they will survive this problem just fine...
 
2007-05-14 01:07:46 AM  
you know what im thinkin?
they'll get over it
/i finally said it
//i feel so proud
 
2007-05-14 01:08:11 AM  
They'll get over it.

/obligatory
 
2007-05-14 01:08:12 AM  
This article was remarkably benign for having the "Scary" tag, and a headline including "airline" and "bomb."
 
2007-05-14 01:08:53 AM  
Darn you!

The Dogs of War: they'll get over it
 
2007-05-14 01:11:35 AM  
www.moderndrunkardmagazine.com
 
2007-05-14 01:12:24 AM  
The
***OMFG LOOK AT THIS PIC!!!***
article
***WE WANT YOUR MONEY***
was
***TAKE OUR SURVEY!!!***
hard
***ON TEH BUTTSECKS???***
to
***MORE USELESS PICS LOLLERZZ***
read
***Boobies***

/Anyway, that's how I saw it
 
2007-05-14 01:12:32 AM  
The airline industry is farked anyways. Stupid government bailouts keep most afloat. Let the market weed out the unprofitable ones.

/Southwest doesn't get bailouts
 
2007-05-14 01:12:37 AM  
....no obvious tag?
 
2007-05-14 01:13:14 AM  
He's not David Bowie: true, but it's practically impossible to perform fellatio over a copper wire connection.

Not until teledildonics really takes off.
 
2007-05-14 01:13:25 AM  
Mitrovarr

Right on about putting an anti-frequent flier charge on tickets. Pigouvian taxes are the way to go. Price the negative social costs of climate change into the flights we all buy. That would provide an effective market signal to businesses to improve videoconferencing technology and to generally discourage non-essential flights. That being said, I do a transatlantic flight 3-4 times per year to see my family. As was suggested by He's Not David Bowie, there is only so much intimacy possible over VoIP. I compensate by riding a bike in lieu of car ownership. I'm not sure if the carbon numbers work out though...
 
2007-05-14 01:13:30 AM  
does anyone know what that blue thing is on my lawn ? its very cold and smells like crap
 
2007-05-14 01:14:35 AM  
If I was an American, I'd probably get that world of warcraft Visa. (Probably being keyword, I havent looked at rates and fees yet).

Simply cos it'd mean getting to play for 'free'.
 
2007-05-14 01:19:51 AM  
Not like "bankruptcy" means anything to airlines, since the government keeps them running no matter what.
 
2007-05-14 01:21:45 AM  
Well I hope united honors theirs untill after this august. My mom got me a 2 week holiday to australia on her united miles for my birthday. Man I have a good mom.
 
2007-05-14 01:23:51 AM  
I'm a road warrior and armchair economist and have warned people about rapid inflation in flier miles for years. Use them as soon as you can! Seriously! It's like saving pesos - they will devalue so turn them into something while you can.

(although I currently have 600,000 onepass miles, I've used more than that amount in the last 3 years. have million miles spread across other airlines as well. and a stunning IQ. and an immense penis. and a fat pay check. and a girlfriend in Niagara.)
 
2007-05-14 01:27:47 AM  
FTFA:

Airlines have awarded more than 19 trillion frequent flyer miles over the past 25 years -- roughly equivalent to circling the globe 760 million times -- and more than 14 trillion of those miles are unredeemed.

Just some quick math here...if ~75% of all frequent flyer miles have gone unredeemed to this point, I think it's fair to say that the miles already awarded have, in fact, little value to those who've earned them.

Take, for example, the jet-setting executive who logs miles in the 100's of thousands per year. Just when and where is he/she going to find the time to do all of this redeeming? The simple fact of the matter is that those who have enough miles to redeem plenty don't have the time, and those that have enough time don't have the miles.

Furthermore, the article states that ~8% of all passenger trips are made with FF awards--a figure surely set by the revenue models at all airlines and subject to their adjustment. So, say that all US airliners go out 80% full of revenue passengers, to me there's still room on the planes, at least, to accomodate even a doubling of award redemption seats. Better yet for the airlines, with a modest reduction of revenue seats available (read: capacity) with some fixed or increasing demand for air travel, economics suggests that prices would increase to cover those costs.

In a lot of ways, I don't see this as any sort of ticking time bomb. Just the cost of doing business.
 
2007-05-14 01:28:11 AM  
www.monstropedia.org
 
2007-05-14 01:30:51 AM  
With planes fuller than ever, granting free trips could displace paying passengers, while unsettled U.S. consumers may be ready to cash in those miles to save money as the economy shows signs of slowing.

Is it just me or does this statement makes no sense whatsoever?

When I use frequent flyer miles I save money either way - whether economy is bad or good. BECAUSE IT'S A FARKING FREE TRIP!

What? The guy who wrote an article never saw rich people stand in line for a free buffet?
 
2007-05-14 01:34:58 AM  
Bukharin: I don't have a frequent flyer plan, but isn't there a set amount of time where you can use those before they expire? Also, I thought that the airlines can refuse the flyer miles if the seats are already full with paying passagers.

/doesn't fly much
//wants to, though


this story is pretty much non-news. You can only get a ff seat if nobody else bought the dumb thing anyway. ie. you can only go where nobody else wants to go, when nobody wants to go there.

/100k per year in miles.
//pretty much useless.
 
2007-05-14 01:35:18 AM  
Marzipanic


A girlfriend in NIagara? Man am i glad i'm not you.
 
2007-05-14 01:40:00 AM  
brandent

you need to update your farkit, mate.
 
2007-05-14 01:47:50 AM  
Cash 'em in when you find the seats - pay the fee to change. The airlines can cut their programs anytime - without warning.. but if the ticket(s) are issued they're good
 
2007-05-14 01:52:32 AM  
All the airlines have to do is raise the "cost" of a ticket and add expiration dates to miles.

Move along, nothing to see.
 
2007-05-14 02:02:53 AM  
Actual Farking: That being said, I do a transatlantic flight 3-4 times per year to see my family.

That's the point of the sliding rate I suggest - It's ok to fly a few times to a year to visit grandma, or whatever, but businesses that send people across the country to some pointless meeting every month piss me off.

I have a similar suggestion for gas taxes - the price you pay on the gas is equal to (current gas rate) x (30/(mpg of the vehicle you are filling)). So, if you have a nice energy efficient car, you get a subsidy, but if you INSIST upon driving a 10 mpg SUV you get nailed with 3x the gas price. Necessary work vehicles (e.g. if it's an SUV, you'd better work for the BLM or something) would be exempt.

Oh, and everyone who currently owns and drives a Hummer would be legally forced to drive a European smart car for life. If it's an H2 or H3, it legally has to be pink.
 
2007-05-14 02:07:04 AM  
JetBlue FTW!

Why pay all that cash. Yeah, you'll sit on the runway for a while at JFK, but who the hell doesn't? I'm not making a Valentines Day joke here either. It happens. Once you get out of JFK you're where you need to be in no time.
 
2007-05-14 02:09:52 AM  
they don't have to add a "cost" or "expiration dates" - they control the inventory. Try to find a flight to Hawaii, anytime. They'll keep giving the miles for flights, hotels, credit cards or meals and they can regulate how NOBODY will be able to redeem them.. 14 out-of 19 billion miles unused??? do you really think it is that is because they don't want to be used?
 
2007-05-14 02:17:52 AM  
Mitrovarr: "If it's an H2 or H3, it legally has to be pink.

Agreed. Well played.
 
2007-05-14 02:19:16 AM  
MITROVARR
wow - Now I can clearly see the correlation between FFY miles, hummers and gas taxes.. way to go - thanx
 
2007-05-14 02:21:06 AM  
Mitrovarr: I have a similar suggestion for gas taxes - the price you pay on the gas is equal to (current gas rate) x (30/(mpg of the vehicle you are filling)). So, if you have a nice energy efficient car, you get a subsidy, but if you INSIST upon driving a 10 mpg SUV you get nailed with 3x the gas price. Necessary work vehicles (e.g. if it's an SUV, you'd better work for the BLM or something) would be exempt.

uhm, if you're driving a 10 mpg suv then you already are paying 3X the price as someone who is getting 30 mpg, Al-Khwarizmi..
 
2007-05-14 02:26:26 AM  
I have a UA card adn a credit card with the mileage plan on it.

Over the last few years have accumulated over 300,000 miles.

Three Hundred Thousand.

I could go round the world first class twice.

The thing is, although I used some to bring my mum to visit me from the UK to Japan, we've been on holiday a few times, but I cannot seem to use these damned miles. Every time I try to book something with them I'm told it's a blackout date or the 'mileage' seats are already full. Months and months in advance.

I'm starting to think I should sell them to avoid losing them to the inevitable bankruptcy. (or rather, book someone else a flight with my miles and accept a cash gift of thanks)

Any farkers done this before?
 
2007-05-14 02:27:09 AM  
sorry, -trillion-
 
2007-05-14 02:56:23 AM  
A few months before the end of april I had been looking to book a free roundtrip flight San Juan-Munich with my US Airways miles and I was always short 25,000 (100,000 total for the trip on coach). I had almost given up until I casually checked a week and a half before the date I wanted to travel and to my surprise I got it for 65,000. 25,000 to get there on coach (super saver) and 40,000 to fly back 1st class + $54 for some imaginary fee or tax. So, for those of you having trouble redeeming miles, just check often, especially when it gets close to your travel date. Sounds reasonable that airlines would release unsold seats as the flight date moves closer.
 
2007-05-14 02:58:03 AM  
I have exactly 1,092,948 air miles on my Visa good for about $30,000 in free travel. Flying for me is like calling for a cab that I don't have to pay for.

//Doesn't mind paying the $120 annual fee.
//I'll come visit you anywhere in the world if you prove to be a fun time. ;)
 
2007-05-14 03:41:58 AM  
Last year my favourite airline went out of business - Brazil's national carrier Varig. Partly because the brazilian government owed them lots of cash, but partly because their rewards program was just too good. Too many miles, lounge access, upgrades etc. It was a good airline to fly with but clearly they just hadn't done the math with the miles.
 
2007-05-14 04:22:55 AM  
BiggerBastard: Come on over to Amsterdam, always a fun time here ;)
 
2007-05-14 05:52:19 AM  
Author of the article misses the point. Airlines sell most frequent flier miles. They are sold to customers like credit cards and hotels who give them to their patrons. FF miles are the main profit center for most airlines. Airlines will do nothing to upset this cash cow.
 
2007-05-14 08:05:26 AM  
Jeebus Hotdog - The airline industry is farked anyways. Stupid government bailouts keep most afloat. Let the market weed out the unprofitable ones.

/Southwest doesn't get bailouts


If every airline but Southwest disappeared, average quality would go up dramatically.
 
2007-05-14 08:40:06 AM  
BMFPitt

If every airline but Southwest disappeared, average quality would go up dramatically.

So would the number of dickheads sitting on the floor of the departure lounges.

/I farking hate Southwest
//Just assign the farking seats already
 
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