Letters – July, 30 2007

Letters – July, 30 2007

Bye, Bye Regency Club, Bye Bye Hyatt
As a longtime subscriber to InsideFlyer and one of the early members of Hyatt’s Gold Passport program, I want to call your attention to a recent change in Hyatt’s awards. For a number of years I have appreciated the opportunity to upgrade to the hotels’ Regency Clubs using the Platinum Extras Certificates. These certificates, provided to Platinum elite members after three stays at Hyatt’s, gave the member three options: complimentary food and beverage amenity, 1,000 bonus points for dining or upgrade to Regency Club. I always used the upgrade, even though it was only on availability.

Without notice, at least to me, Gold Passport earlier this year made the upgrade to Regency Club available after nine stays, increasing the requirement by 300 percent. I have communicated my deep disappointment in their action to the Gold Passport Service 800 line, even talking to an assistant manager of this department.

All I heard was an apology that I was not informed of this change, no explanation for the reason for this dramatic increase in stays required before upgrading Platinum members to Regency Club.

I will not be voting again for Hyatt in the Freddies, if this major change remains, but it is not clear that they care.
Stanley G. Karson

“Lifetime Status?”
My criticism of frequent flyer programs, particularly Qantas Frequent Flyer, is that they should not be permitted to use the word “Lifetime” in their Marketing programs. “Lifetime Status”, “Lifetime Points”, is false advertising when you consider the reality: there are a multitude of Qantas Frequent Flyer members who have flown regularly before 1998, yet the program does not and did not commence “tallying” miles or points flown toward “Lifetime Status” until that year of 1998.

Take my own membership, for example, I have been a Qantas Frequent Flyer full member since 1988 (nineteen eighty-eight), yet it’s as if I have NEVER flown between 1988 and 1998 since their “Lifetime Status” or “Lifetime Points” did not come into effect until 1998.

This point, in my opinion, makes a mockery of their so-called “Lifetime Status” status.

Qantas should add a new tier or level for their members, since it adds a new level anyway:


Bye Bye BA Miles
My wife and I each had British Airways accounts with 36,000+ miles. This was not enough for a trip from the U.S., so when they offered 20,000 bonus miles to get a Visa card and to put the accounts together in a Household account, we thought we had 92,000+ miles and would get up to 100,000 by using the Visa card. Then we would have enough for two trips at 50,000 each.

My account posted the Visa credits and the household account had nearly 100,000 when they took my wife’s miles away on March 30, saying she had no activity for three years.

I thought the household account protected both our accounts. Since she and I both charged on the Visa, it appears that we should have obtained two Visa cards.

I requested reinstatement to their Customer Relations on May 3rd, but so far no answer, other than an acknowledgement that they received the request. Do you have any suggestions?
Stanley K. Ink, P. E.

Editor’s note: Although I suspect the problem is that household accounts remain individual and are only joined at award redemption, I think at the very least you are owed a reasonable explanation from British Airways; one that we’ll try and get for you. And perhaps they need to be more specific about the benefits of that feature of their program.

Flight Search, Room Search Woes
Regarding Amex membership awards reservations, and the future of award reservations. They have a long way to go. Searching Albany, N.Y. roundtrip to Atlanta, I end up with travel between San Francisco and Atlanta. Searching for a room for my wife in Tokyo, Japan, I get three locations in Hayes, Kan.

I would say they have some serious search issues!!
Don Warren

Award Redemption Tip
Your article was great and helpful. One other arrow for the quiver is:

Using frequent flyer miles, book the first leg ASAP and have the flight ticketed; i.e. 331 days, 330 days, etc. and then when your return date can be booked, book it at no charge.

As you know, you can make one change without cost if the departure/arrival cities don’t change.

Sometimes when you wait for seven days to book your one week trip (if it’s seven days) the free seats are gone.
Don Warren

Editor’s note: Don, even I had forgotten about this timing trick for awards. Thanks for reminding me and all our readers.

Disgruntled Summit Member
I have been a Summit member of Frontier for four straight years, I have more than 155,000 miles, I stopped flying in November 2006 and will never fly that airline again — their frequent flyer program is a complete scam.

I live in Washington, D.C. — I cannot book any frequent flyer tickets anywhere out of DCA until October at the earliest, but then I cannot find connecting service, rendering my miles worthless. Frontier does not have enough flights in DCA since they left IAD and BWI, so now every flight is booked, and every seat is $500+, and they do not provide any frequent flyer seats — so I’m trapped in DCA without any way to fly out, or fly anyone else when using my Frontier miles.

I just spent an hour on the phone trying to fly my mother to DCA for Christmas for the birth of our first child — they could only book Dec. 13th and Jan 7th, everything in between was gone, and my mother has to overnight in Denver because the only flights available are early morning out of DEN.

Yesterday, July 1st, Frontier instituted a “new program” where they claimed they were adding new flights for non-blackout dates — this is not true — they continue to offer no flights on their DCA route because it’s too booked and they charge so much for it — leaving longtime loyal frequent flyer members like me marooned.

If you’re doing a story on Frontier and want to speak with someone who once thought Frontier was the greatest airline ever, and only flew them for four years, but now will give all my miles away just to send the message, please feel free to e-mail me and I’ll help anyway I can, even if its just to fill out a survey. Every year I filled out their stupid survey and rated them the best, this year I can’t wait to let them know how I feel, even if they won’t change a thing.
Corey “The Disgruntled Summit
Member” McDaniel

Editor’s note: Thanks, Corey, for letting us know of your experiences with the Frontier program. Your reaction to change your voting in the Freddie Awards is exactly why the Freddies are a valuable measuring tool for the industry. Let’s hope that those at Frontier who read InsideFlyer take note of your frustration.

But My Luggage Is Doing Its Job
When traveling to or from the U.S., Finnair and other international carriers typically allow two checked bags of 70 lbs. each.
Finnair AY 2421Z
Stockholm (Arlanda) — Boston

Suddenly we were told that this regularly scheduled flight was a “leisure” flight, and only one bag is allowed, of only 20 kg (44 lbs). When purchasing this ticket, the terms of carriage and online details make no distinction or designation of anything termed a leisure flight.

The general contract description is:

  • Business and Economy Class: two pieces of baggage with the maximum dimension of 158 cm or 62 in. (length + width + height) and the maximum weight of 32 kg or 70 lb. per piece.
  • Children under two years of age (infants) without a reserved seat may bring one piece of baggage with the maximum dimension of 115 cm or 45 in. and the maximum weight of 10 kg or 22 lb. and a folding pushchair.
  • Also note that a single bag may not weigh more than 32 kg or 70 lb. (for example a suitcase shared by two passengers traveling together).

    We are upset to be suddenly limited to one bag, and low (44 lb.) weight allowance when traveling to and from Boston by Finnair. This seems a scam.
    Bruce Henry Lambert

    Protecting Miles/Points
    Just read your excellent article in Miles Metropolis regarding the traveler whose airline and hotel accounts were hacked. I always, when possible, take the time after using a public computer to clear the cache, history and the auto complete under Content, thus erasing any information I entered.

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