For the Last Time

For the Last Time

No sooner did I finish toasting the New Year when I was asked what my New Year’s resolutions were. Gone are the days when I could get by with just one resolution — the age of multi-tasking seems to demand multi-resolutions.

Those that come to mind may be similar to yours.

  • I’ve got to get a MasterCard in my wallet for all the promotions that require it. I’ve been meaning to do it for some time now, particularly since I write about the promos (like Hyatt’s) all the time. And I’m embarrassed to say that I had to borrow an employee’s MasterCard to qualify for a 5,000-mile AAdvantage bonus for staying at Sheraton this month.
  • It’s time to change a very old habit. I miss the days of carrying around certificates for my upgrades, and I just can’t seem to get in the habit of monitoring my electronic-upgrade wallet and knowing what it contains. I let eight upgrades expire this past year because I didn’t know they were there — I could have used them.
  • Get better spam control. For some reason most of the e-newsletters I receive from my frequent flyer programs end up in my spam inbox, and I never get the chance to read many of them before they are deleted. I’m not sure if it is just me, but this could be a problem that needs to be resolved in 2004.

    Of course, resolving to make changes for the better is much easier than actually making the changes. It’s disheartening to think of all the (bonus) opportunities I’ve missed year after year as a result of failing to make good on resolutions. I need reminders; a support group and an explicit example of just how bad things can get if I don’t keep myself on track.

    That’s where InsideFlyer comes in. We talked to hundreds of readers about what they want most to change in their travel lives, and we consistently heard four universal themes:

    1. Quit Hoarding. After years of living the “Travel IRA” dream, many members are becoming frustrated and are anxious to develop a plan to burn and learn from their award redemption.

    2. Keep Status. If there is one constant in this world it’s not the color of your parachute, it’s the color of your elite card. But mileage runs in December are tiring, so let’s be more diligent to manage the requalifying requirements all during the year.
    3. Who’s on First. About 80 percent of our readers just can’t keep track of who’s partnering with whom. All want to learn.
    4. God is in the Details. To a reader, we all have a short list of things we wished we would have done in 2003. Let’s all resolve to make decision making a priority in 2004, and turn those “would haves” to “have dones.”

    To help turn these miles-and-point resolutions into reality, we’re making them the focus of a series of stories that will run during the year as “Online Only” features on InsideFlyer.com. The hope is that these small changes will lead to big improvements in your life as a frequent flyer.

    As for me, I’ve repeated my familiar New Year’s resolution — hopefully for the last time. How about you?

    As well, I’d like to remind you that we’re gearing up for the 16th Annual Freddie Awards — voting begins mid-January, and balloting continues for two full months. The Freddies are about how these programs deliver value to their members. It’s easy to say in an advertising message that you have the fastest way to a free flight. But if you can’t deliver that free flight once it is earned, then your program is of questionable value to members. I’ve become a big fan of the Freddies for this reason. The nearly 250,000 members of frequent traveler programs we expect to vote in this year’s Freddies will be making a determined effort to answer the age-old question of who has the best program. And they will do so at http://www.freddieawards.com.

    Right now, we don’t know who that will be. I’m thanking you in advance for helping me answer that question. So, think about the year past and get ready to exercise your voting privilege.

    And finally. What say you of the new cover design that greets the new year from InsideFlyer? I like the cover, but the cover alone doesn’t make us a better magazine, you do. In 2004 we’ll rise to the challenge to provide you with even more ways to learn the hows and whys of managing your miles and points.

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