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(CNBC)   Airlines to customers: You know how Zimbabwe printed too much currency and now a loaf of bread costs like a trillion dollars? Yeah this is like that only with more 'screw you', thanks for flying   (cnbc.com) divider line 43
    More: Obvious, frequent flyer programs, American Airlines Center, United Airlines  
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5563 clicks; posted to Business » on 19 Nov 2013 at 12:48 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



43 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-11-19 12:25:10 PM  
SkyPesos. Ha.
 
2013-11-19 12:53:35 PM  
1%-er problems.

All this does is make it easier for their top tier flyers to upgrade at the expense of the the sub 100K/year folks.

I can't remember the last flight I was on where 1st class wasn't full. There's plenty of people with sky miles to spend.
 
2013-11-19 12:54:43 PM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: 1%-er problems.

All this does is make it easier for their top tier flyers to upgrade at the expense of the the sub 100K/year folks.

I can't remember the last flight I was on where 1st class wasn't full. There's plenty of people with sky miles to spend.


Some upgrades are free.
 
2013-11-19 12:57:58 PM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: I can't remember the last flight I was on where 1st class wasn't full. There's plenty of people with sky miles to spend.


They'll give a "free" upgrade to anyone in coach with any sort of FF status.
 
2013-11-19 01:04:29 PM  

12349876: Eddie Adams from Torrance: I can't remember the last flight I was on where 1st class wasn't full. There's plenty of people with sky miles to spend.

They'll give a "free" upgrade to anyone in coach with any sort of FF status.


Not to nitpick, but they'll give you an upgrade based on your ranking relative to other FF flyers.  So when I had Gold it was 50% of the time.  What matters is the amount of status flyers on the flight.  If I was going to Sarasota on a Saturday, then that's a definite upgrade.  If I was flying to Laguardia on Monday morning then there was no way.

Now, that I'm back to regular nobody status, I never get upgrades.
 
2013-11-19 01:14:58 PM  
In other news, company-issued scrip worth exactly what company decides it's worth, and they can change their minds at any time.

Seriously, frequent flyer miles are worth slightly more than "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" points.
 
2013-11-19 01:20:23 PM  

Rapmaster2000: 12349876: Eddie Adams from Torrance: I can't remember the last flight I was on where 1st class wasn't full. There's plenty of people with sky miles to spend.

They'll give a "free" upgrade to anyone in coach with any sort of FF status.

Not to nitpick, but they'll give you an upgrade based on your ranking relative to other FF flyers.  So when I had Gold it was 50% of the time.  What matters is the amount of status flyers on the flight.  If I was going to Sarasota on a Saturday, then that's a definite upgrade.  If I was flying to Laguardia on Monday morning then there was no way.

Now, that I'm back to regular nobody status, I never get upgrades.


The point was they'll fill up first class unless coach is completely devoid of FF status people, which I would guess is around getting struck by lightning in the odds department.
 
2013-11-19 01:22:15 PM  
Air NZ has 'Air dollars' instead of points. You can earn them off credit card purchases (1% of spend) or flights.

But they aren't 'points' - you can use them to buy any tickets you want, on any flight, at any time
 
2013-11-19 01:23:43 PM  
There was a time a few years ago when I wondered whether the entire air travel system wasn't on the verge of collapse. Sure, planes weren't dropping out of the sky every other month, but it seemed as if airlines were all just kind of hoping we'd accept that things like sitting on the tarmac for eight hours were the new normal. The system was just ridiculously overloaded, airlines were going bankrupt and/or merging left and right, flights were hella overbooked, hub destinations were disintegrating into chaos, and I traveled the country on half-empty trains.

The reforms put into place to correct these things seem to have only bought airlines a little time, as opposed to actually fixing anything.. It would be interesting if the deregulation that airlines fought so hard for actually wound up putting them out of business.
 
2013-11-19 01:44:19 PM  
Like there's EVER any award availability for the route you want on the dates you want in the cabin class you want.

They might as well require 500k miles for a free transatlantic flight in J class.
 
2013-11-19 01:51:52 PM  

peasandcarrots: There was a time a few years ago when I wondered whether the entire air travel system wasn't on the verge of collapse. Sure, planes weren't dropping out of the sky every other month, but it seemed as if airlines were all just kind of hoping we'd accept that things like sitting on the tarmac for eight hours were the new normal. The system was just ridiculously overloaded, airlines were going bankrupt and/or merging left and right, flights were hella overbooked, hub destinations were disintegrating into chaos, and I traveled the country on half-empty trains.

The reforms put into place to correct these things seem to have only bought airlines a little time, as opposed to actually fixing anything.. It would be interesting if the deregulation that airlines fought so hard for actually wound up putting them out of business.


media.npr.org

Read this and ponder the state of the american airline industry.

Short version: they farked themselves good
 
2013-11-19 02:02:54 PM  

peasandcarrots: It would be interesting if the deregulation that airlines fought so hard for actually wound up putting them out of business.


I don't think you get the business model here.

The airlines have been ruled an "essential public service", which means the government will always bail them out.  If they do well financially then that creates pressure for the union to negotiate better working conditions (pilots get treated like absolute crap), for customers to demand better service, etc.  It also creates pressure for better regulations and oversight.  Well, if they can convince the public they're constantly on the verge of bankruptcy, that justifies all their short-sighted decisions, from treating customers like crap to union-breaking to monopolistic mergers. They're never in actual danger of Chapter 7 because the government will be there.  That gives them a sort of fearlessness that is the root of everything we hate about airline travel in the U.S.  Meanwhile, what's the best way to stay close to bankruptcy?  Loot the company!  The more the executives waste money and run off with piles of it, the easier it is to waste money and run off with piles of it!

This is corporate welfare in the worst possible way.  The deregulation is just a symptom; that's just the spoiled kid getting candy well after the parents were conditioned to cave to temper tantrums.  The problem was the government ruling they were "too big to fail" without implementing any measure for nationalization or even receivership.  The executives are entirely free to run the company into the ground for personal benefit but stay in charge no matter how much it costs the public.  This is not an industry that cares about customers or even has to pretend they do; every aspect of it is optimized in favor of the guys running the company.
 
2013-11-19 02:03:23 PM  
Southwest is pretty straightforward--you redeem miles based on the price of the fare. My wife and I flew R/T from Louisville to Fort Meyers last year for under 30,000 points. No blackouts, all seats eligible. Not a bad deal.
 
2013-11-19 02:15:45 PM  

mjjt: Air NZ has 'Air dollars' instead of points. You can earn them off credit card purchases (1% of spend) or flights.

But they aren't 'points' - you can use them to buy any tickets you want, on any flight, at any time


Silly consumer. Read "We charge 2% or more over what we're willing to charge to maintain profit, give part of it back to you, and call it a 'bonus'." Gotta love suckers.
 
2013-11-19 02:20:00 PM  
It's really not that hard.

This morning, I booked Denver-Tokyo-Beijing-Seoul-Istanbul-Frankfurt-Toronto-Denver on a business class award ticket on five different Star Alliance airlines.  It cost 180,000 US Airways miles and $230.74 in taxes for two people.  I purchased 105,000 of the miles for $2,069.37 and scored the rest via credit card signup bonuses.  $2,300 out of pocket for a trip around the world in business class is a price I'll pay any day of the week.  Stop by www.flyertalk.com some time and read all about it.

Even with the devaluations, there's always a way to work the system.

/CSB
//wifey likes to travel
///don't steal our stuff while we're gone
 
2013-11-19 02:30:40 PM  
4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-11-19 02:33:44 PM  

FormlessOne: In other news, company-issued scrip worth exactly what company decides it's worth, and they can change their minds at any time.

Seriously, frequent flyer miles are worth slightly more than "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" points.


If you're flying a lot then just having the miles can be very useful - it makes it much easier to get upgrades, often without even asking, and a lot of the time the airlines relax baggage restrictions. The last flight I got before I stopped flying so much I got a free business upgrade from Dubai to the US and was able to bring  a little over 250 pounds of luggage and two pets with no extra charge.

If you don't fly very often and collect miles through credit card points or some other rewards program, then yeah - not worth much at all and you're probably getting scammed with extra fees or charges to pay for them.
 
2013-11-19 02:57:44 PM  
I am on track for about 40,000 miles in the air this year, problem is that is split three ways so I am a well traveled nobody.  If Southwest fits your patterns, jump on them where ever possible.  Free bags, free repricing, and a points program that encourages you to use them.
 
2013-11-19 02:58:32 PM  
They mentioned the AA/US merger, and that's got a lot of people worried. AA has one of the best loyalty programs, US, one of the most difficult to actually get an award flight. Since Parker's going to be in charge, the worry is that it will be like the US program, in other words, useless.

I used to fly a lot, and racked up quite a few miles when I did. I've since cashed almost all of them out for free flights so I wouldn't end up getting caught up in that race to the bottom.
 
2013-11-19 03:00:29 PM  

margarito bandito: I am on track for about 40,000 miles in the air this year, problem is that is split three ways so I am a well traveled nobody.  If Southwest fits your patterns, jump on them where ever possible.  Free bags, free repricing, and a points program that encourages you to use them.


Southwest will kill free bags next year.
 
2013-11-19 03:13:05 PM  

buzzcut73: They mentioned the AA/US merger, and that's got a lot of people worried. AA has one of the best loyalty programs, US, one of the most difficult to actually get an award flight. Since Parker's going to be in charge, the worry is that it will be like the US program, in other words, useless.

I used to fly a lot, and racked up quite a few miles when I did. I've since cashed almost all of them out for free flights so I wouldn't end up getting caught up in that race to the bottom.


AA implemented a new AAdvantage system this past weekend, redeeming miles just got a lot harder. Wait until the FlyerTalk people realize.
 
2013-11-19 03:17:54 PM  
This is why I hate most "reward" programs, particular "frequent flier" programs.  When there are people who are purposely logging trips for the sole purpose of scoring points... your system is a pile of shiat.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-11-19 03:28:43 PM  
peasandcarrots: It would be interesting if the deregulation that airlines fought so hard for actually wound up putting them out of business.

According to the boss of Spirit:
We grouped every airline into two buckets: airlines that make money all the time and airlines that make money in good times but give it all back in bad times. The airlines that made money all the time were extremely high premium airlines or extremely low-cost airlines. There was almost no one in the middle. (story)
 
2013-11-19 03:32:47 PM  
There's really no point to any of these loyalty programs unless you fly very regularly... we fly 2-3 times/year and there's no way we can accumulate enough points to do anything with before they begin expiring. I suppose one of those frequent flyer credit cards could fix that, but the annual fee on them is usually enough to check a bag or two on at least one, maybe two, trips per year... so why bother.

If you're flying regularly for work then this may be fine for you- fewer recreational flyers competing for the same seats. But then, you're the ones the airlines love anyway. Those who only go a couple times a year (if that) and will switch airlines to save $25/person aren't the repeat business they're looking for.
 
2013-11-19 03:39:41 PM  

mimg.ugo.com

STICK IT IN HER POOPER

 
2013-11-19 03:46:03 PM  
3.bp.blogspot.com

sorry
 
2013-11-19 04:47:18 PM  

djrez4: It cost 180,000 US Airways miles and $230.74 in taxes for two people.


19,000 miles in J for 90,000 points per seat is pretty darn good. I usually buy my award tickets through ANA for Star Alliance flights but 19,000 miles would have required 115,000 points with them.

Delta is nearly worthless, even when there's a 50% MR transfer bonus from Amex. Poor availability and outrageous prices when there is some. Usually 75-100% more than the same routing on ANA and sometimes 3-4x as much.
 
2013-11-19 04:50:41 PM  

FormlessOne: mjjt: Air NZ has 'Air dollars' instead of points. You can earn them off credit card purchases (1% of spend) or flights.

But they aren't 'points' - you can use them to buy any tickets you want, on any flight, at any time

Silly consumer. Read "We charge 2% or more over what we're willing to charge to maintain profit, give part of it back to you, and call it a 'bonus'." Gotta love suckers.


Perhaps I didn't make it clear - anything I put on my Visa gets one air dollar for every 100 dollars I spend. So I pay all my bills thru the card. Yes it's not huge, but it's better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick, as they say, and it adds up. Just the gas I put in my truck pays for a trip to Oz every year.
 
2013-11-19 04:55:26 PM  

mjjt: FormlessOne: mjjt: Air NZ has 'Air dollars' instead of points. You can earn them off credit card purchases (1% of spend) or flights.

But they aren't 'points' - you can use them to buy any tickets you want, on any flight, at any time

Silly consumer. Read "We charge 2% or more over what we're willing to charge to maintain profit, give part of it back to you, and call it a 'bonus'." Gotta love suckers.

Perhaps I didn't make it clear - anything I put on my Visa gets one air dollar for every 100 dollars I spend. So I pay all my bills thru the card. Yes it's not huge, but it's better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick, as they say, and it adds up. Just the gas I put in my truck pays for a trip to Oz every year.


Some folks don't understand how rewards work.

Is it a major amount? Of course not. But over time it adds up and if you use your card for a bunch of things then it can indeed become a significant amount over the course of a year. We have a Disney rewards card... it usually amasses somewhere around $200 in the equivalent of a gift card every year, and since we're there a couple times a year it ends up paying for a few meals on vacation. You just need to make sure you get something with rewards you will actually use.
 
2013-11-19 05:17:25 PM  

KarmicDisaster: [4.bp.blogspot.com image 480x640]


Wow, a real life case of the "toliet paper memo" from Snow Crash.

http://www.nocoercion.com/2012/02/05/a-couple-of-quotes-from-snow-cr as h/
 
2013-11-19 05:28:39 PM  

ZAZ: peasandcarrots: It would be interesting if the deregulation that airlines fought so hard for actually wound up putting them out of business.

According to the boss of Spirit:We grouped every airline into two buckets: airlines that make money all the time and airlines that make money in good times but give it all back in bad times. The airlines that made money all the time were extremely high premium airlines or extremely low-cost airlines. There was almost no one in the middle. (story)


I suspect if you add up all the profits of every airline since the Wright Brothers invented the airplane you'd have a number in the negative tens of billions of dollars.  It's a horrible business for a wide variety of reasons.
 
2013-11-19 05:33:32 PM  
I sure would enjoy seeing some legislation that makes 'miles' concrete. You know, like actual distance. Airways would have one date to adjust their current values to accurate miles, but after that date they're solid. It's 450 miles from Atlanta to Miami? 450 miles per ticket, please. Perhaps include a requirement to scale up a percentage for different classes.
 
2013-11-19 06:27:41 PM  

akula: There's really no point to any of these loyalty programs unless you fly very regularly... we fly 2-3 times/year and there's no way we can accumulate enough points to do anything with before they begin expiring. I suppose one of those frequent flyer credit cards could fix that, but the annual fee on them is usually enough to check a bag or two on at least one, maybe two, trips per year... so why bother.

If you're flying regularly for work then this may be fine for you- fewer recreational flyers competing for the same seats. But then, you're the ones the airlines love anyway. Those who only go a couple times a year (if that) and will switch airlines to save $25/person aren't the repeat business they're looking for.


Yep. Last year I got a ticket for 60k miles on United, but most of them were the bonus I got from using their credit card several years ago. When I cancelled it just before the first year was up, to avoid the annual fee after the first year, the CSR on the phone asked if the reason for cancellation was exactly what I was doing. I assume they get people doing that all the time, and maybe it's one reason they raised the fee on their CC offers I still sometimes get in the mail.

I do occasionally use other ways of earning miles, though, like rental cars, hotels, restaurant miles programs, and even taking worthless internet surveys every now and then. They add up. The article says that the change mostly affects business and first class tickets, so I may still wind up getting another in economy before I'm old and grey.
 
2013-11-19 07:08:09 PM  
Mrs. Phamwaa racked up a few FF miles on Untied. They were way too few to get a flight, so she decided to redeem for some merchandise. Turns out the "miles" were no good in the catalog.

We donated them to charity and told Untied to fark off.
 
2013-11-19 08:06:35 PM  
Just in time for that US Air merger, I see.
 
2013-11-19 11:56:58 PM  

mcreadyblue: buzzcut73: They mentioned the AA/US merger, and that's got a lot of people worried. AA has one of the best loyalty programs, US, one of the most difficult to actually get an award flight. Since Parker's going to be in charge, the worry is that it will be like the US program, in other words, useless.

I used to fly a lot, and racked up quite a few miles when I did. I've since cashed almost all of them out for free flights so I wouldn't end up getting caught up in that race to the bottom.

AA implemented a new AAdvantage system this past weekend, redeeming miles just got a lot harder. Wait until the FlyerTalk people realize.


As an AA employee who works in the aadvantage dept., what are you talking about?

The changes the article refers to apply mostly to first/business class. Generally speaking, they cost about twice as many miles as coach tickets, and generally speaking first/business costs WAY more than coach for regular revenue tickets. How dare they make a good deal into a decent deal! This is the worst thing to happen since the holocaust!
 
2013-11-20 12:13:45 AM  

Geotpf: KarmicDisaster: [4.bp.blogspot.com image 480x640]

Wow, a real life case of the "toliet paper memo" from Snow Crash.

http://www.nocoercion.com/2012/02/05/a-couple-of-quotes-from-snow-cr as h/


Wow, it's been too long since I read that book....(puts note to reread in my copious spare time.   Grr grad school)
 
2013-11-20 12:22:25 AM  
Did anyone seriously believe that frequent flyer benefits were immutable? I've been a participant for decades and have operated on the assumption that the rug could be pulled from under me at any time.
 
2013-11-20 12:55:05 AM  

phamwaa: We donated them to charity and told Untied to fark off.


Did you get the tax deduction, or did United? If them, I'd rather let them expire.
 
2013-11-20 01:44:03 AM  
I don't think I've ever understood the point of frequent flier miles anyway. They seem like grocery store trading stamps from days of yore.

 If you fly a lot, good for you. Given the innumerable other ways airlines have invented over the years to screw their customers, it seems rather dishonest for them to develop "free trip" plans as a way to "reward" passengers.
 
2013-11-20 01:51:18 AM  
I got a macbook air with my united miles.

I know I'm supposed to hate United because I'm on fark, but I find that Delta ends up bending me over (not in a good way) far more often.

The "Delta Difference" is roughly 45 minutes I've found.


/has to travel for work a lot
 
2013-11-20 02:30:08 AM  

omg bbq: I got a macbook air with my united miles.

I know I'm supposed to hate United because I'm on fark, but I find that Delta ends up bending me over (not in a good way) far more often.

The "Delta Difference" is roughly 45 minutes I've found.


/has to travel for work a lot


When I lived in the States I traveled mostly on United.  Well, Continental before the merger.  Never had any complaints with them.

Now I tend to fly Air France, which is quite good, but has a codeshare/airline alliance with Delta, so I have to be very careful when I'm booking tickets to the States because if I'm booking last minute there's a fairly good chance I'll end up on a Delta flight.  Ugh.

Their FF program is a mixed bag; they seem to be geared towards business fliers, in that you accumulate miles rather slowly (particularly if you're not buying a full-fare ticket).  But on the other hand the number of qualifying segments you need to reach status is about half what it is on Delta, which is rather nice.  15 segments for Silver status is pretty easy to make.
 
2013-11-20 04:44:31 AM  
Used to travel lots, saw this coming, used my miles miles a couple years ago. Pre-merger Continental was pretty saturated. The check in for the "Elite" line was sometimes longer than the general population line.

Thanks to cheaper communications and cisco telepresense, I don't need to travel anymore. So when I do, I'm just like the other rabble.
 
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