I am a few weeks behind but the USA Today had a story recently about frequent fliers (flyers?) and how pleased they are with the airline mileage programs. Three of the key points in the study that the article referenced:
- Overall, a slight majority of frequent-flier program users — 53% — said they were generally satisfied with their primary carrier’s loyalty program and that they’d recommend it to a friend.
- Nearly half (45%) of those surveyed say they earn more points from credits cards and other ground-based promotions than they do from actually flying.
- Awards that cost more miles or points than expected was by far the biggest frustration among the survey’s respondents. That was cited by half the respondents — far more than the No. 2 complaint: suddenly changing rules.
So a slight majority of those polled are “generally satisfied”, meaning 47% are less than satisfied or didn’t respond. A good chunk of those same people earn most of their miles via credit cards and other promotion tools and yet they are upset with rewards that cost more. It seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, more miles in wild, the cost of the good being provided (a reward) goes up. To give you an idea of how the manufactured spend game works, take a peak at this article on Vice that focuses on Vanilla Reloads.
After United’s recent devaluation I am less inclined to amass large amounts of miles for “aspirational” awards on partner carriers, it just isn’t worth it. Sure, I’ll keep earning and probably burning for United business class tickets where I can find them but I am going to limit my aspirational type rewards to Starwood’s Starpoints. There is also a number of frequent fliers, in hopes of greener grass, jumping ship to American Airlines. After the merger with US Airways is complete I am sure that the American Airlines program will be degraded to some extent.
As Seth said, the frequent flier game has become a lot less fun. As a result, my attention is turning more to cheap fares and less to miles.
If you missed the news, United is lowering the value of their mileage currency on February 1, 2014. The main area of impact is international premium cabin rewards, with those flights on United metal going up in price slightly, but flights on partners going up significantly.
Be sure and book your rewards soon if you want the lower prices. After February 1, 2014, any change to an award that requires the ticket to be reissued has the potential to be repriced at the new reward levels. I do have a prediction: the implementation/roll-out of this new price reward chart is not going to go off without a hitch.
If you want more information on the devaluation and what different flights will cost, Seth has a great breakdown here.
It has been a snowy week so far in New York City. I arrived on Tuesday to blowing snow at the airport and as the day progressed the white stuff started piling up.
28th and 6 Avenue was in need of Mr. Plow by 8:30pm.
By the next morning the sidewalks were hit or miss, but the roads were clean.
About six months ago I switched all of my office to airport transfers in New York City from different car services (Carmel, Dial 7, etc.) to Uber, a service that lets passengers use their smartphone to schedule a ride in real time and have a drive at their location in a short amount of time.
At first, I was skeptical. In fact, I was hesitant to even use the service based on the negative press I had read. But, I gave it a try and had a mediocre first experience. The price was a little higher than what I was originally quoted in the app and the driver did not take the roads I had recommended, leading to being stuck in traffic for forty five minutes.
But I gave it another shot and after the second ride, I was hooked. Then Uber announced lower flat rates between Manhattan and Newark and I was really hooked. Sure, I have received less than helpful service from drivers or had cars that were not really that clean, but the majority of my trips have been great. The cars are usually very clean and new and the drivers are very courteous. Last week the driver called me after I requested a ride at Newark and asked if I minded walking upstairs rather than him driving all the way out of the airport to come back around. He was at the departure level and him calling me probably saved 20 minutes of waiting.
For the next 10 days Uber is offering double referral credits. So, for every person who signs up using my link, they receive a $20 ride credit and so do I. So, if you are looking for a new car service to try, give my referral link a click, sign-up for Uber, and take a ride. You may really like it, you may not, but it is worth a try.
We have hit a bit of a conundrum when it comes to planning a birthday trip for my wife and I. We are looking to travel in March and are torn between splitting our time in Seoul, South Korea and Osaka and Kyoto, Japan, spending the entire time in Korea, spending the entire time in Japan, or going somewhere completely different. We both like the idea of a beach but know that we would both go stir crazy after about three days. Now, if there’s a beach destination that also has some city exploration close by (within a 2-3 hour flight) then we may just be sold on that.
I have gone back and forth on the different options and just need to make a decision. Any ideas or suggestions? I am open to ideas and would love to know how other folks have explored Asia. If you are asking “why Osaka?”, after a bit of reading, it is definitely a food city and I love the possibility of exploring a town by simply eating my way through it.
If you have not listened to the podcast that Seth, Fozz, Rolando, and myself host, I would recommend listening to episode 42. We covered the Delta business class mistake fare, our travel and points strategy for 2014, manufactured credit card spending, and lastly, United’s “Flyer Friendly” ad campaign and following through with promises.
We enjoy recording the show and we hope that shows. We also hope that it provides useful information and some entertainment for our listeners. If you haven’t listened yet, give it a shot and let us know what you think. You can listen on PointsHoarder directly, subscribe to the podcast feed, or directly in iTunes.
The Sweet Setup chooses VSCO Cam as the best iPhone photo editor
Can’t say I disagree. I use VSCO Cam for just about every photo I take. For some of the more subtle changes, I use Snapseed.
I Flew on a Plane Without Going Through Security and No One Died (Washington Post)
Imagine if catching an 11 a.m. flight out of D.C. was a matter of hopping on the Metro at Petworth at 10:20, getting off at Reagan/National Airport at 10:43, and boarding the plane at 10:50.
That world is possible. I’ve lived it, and it is amazing. All we have to do is abolish the TSA. Entirely. Just let people walk off the street and onto a plane.
Would this increase hijacking? Probably. But there’s no reason to believe it would increase casualties from terrorist attacks overall. That’s because increasing airport security just leads terrorists to direct their assaults elsewhere.
It is an interesting idea and fun to think about, but it isn’t going to happen. We will see the expansion of PreCheck availability, but as a whole, airport security in its current form is staying where it is. The TSA has firmly embedded itself as part of the traveling way of life.
I posted this photograph to Flickr but a lot of my quick travel photos are going up on Instagram. If you like this type of photography, feel free to give my Instagram account a look.