Randy Petersen's Opening Remarks – June, 19 2012

Randy Petersen's Opening Remarks – June, 19 2012

Class Act

In recent months I have voiced my thoughts on the various announcements Republic Airways Holdings has made regarding their plans for Frontier. And I have not taken it easy with my words about them. However, fair is fair and while I’m not certain who is making the marketing decisions for the interim management of Frontier, I can say without reservation that they are doing things unheard of in this business. Frontier, which recently cut back severely on its daily service to Milwaukee is now offering Wisconsin members of their EarlyReturns program a one-time opportunity to transfer their frequent flyer miles to the Delta SkyMiles program.

What? An opportunity to transfer miles from one program to another on even terms? Yes, that is correct. In some respect this is highly unheard of, but when we consider that in essence Frontier is pulling out of the major market for the airline it essentially replaced, Midwest Airlines, which owned this particular airport at one point, it is a very classy thing to put together. And likely not easy.

The details are that if Wisconsin residents choose to convert EarlyReturns miles to SkyMiles, it is all or nothing. Bad thing? Likely not since Frontier will only have a handful of flights to Milwaukee and their future is still up in the air.

What is even more classy is that beyond the ability to convert on a 1:1 basis to SkyMiles, Ascent and Summit members will also get a chance to try out SkyMiles elite status. Both EarlyReturns elite status levels will automatically become Silver Medallion (lowest tier) with SkyMiles within 7-10 days of registration. And that temporary status will continue for 90 days in which the elite member will be required to fly 8,000 elite qualifying miles or 10 elite qualifying segments to keep the status–so the key to this conversion is to time it around when you have travel planned. The status offer comes at a bad time because most business travelers have reduced travel during the summer months. So it might be good to ask for the conversion a bit closer to the Aug. 31, 2012 deadline (keeping in mind the 7-10 days for elite registration) to get the best possible extension into your fall travel, unless you have some international revenue flights this summer.

The manner in which EarlyReturns members must transfer miles leads me to believe that Frontier is simply purchasing the miles from Delta rather than it being a sign of any missing partnership that Frontier Airlines lacks right now. It can take eight weeks for the miles to post …. I’m just saying.

Anyway, as noted, very classy move and totally unexpected. Now, I hope Frontier Airlines will continue to over deliver on expectations because the future of the airline is uncertain.

And while maybe not as dramatic, I have just confirmed that the senior executives of the United MileagePlus program are committing to a live chat on Milepoint in early to mid-July to discuss their plans with that frequent flyer program and to update members as to the progress with the merger with Continental OnePass. This live chat promises to be not just another event given the recent, and some say continued, problems combining the operations of United with that of the Continental legacy. I’ve had minimal to no problems at all with my post-merger travel on United but understand I may be just lucky compared to some of the stories I have heard. I’m looking forward to this particular chat.

The exact date has not been chosen yet so it’s best to check on Milepoint.com.
And for the airline aficionados among our readers, there’s a long line forming for the next MegaDO scheduled to fly in mid-November. Some of the highlights include flying on the new 747-8i and one of the first United 767-400s that has been completely redone. There are rumors of other aircraft but these two should suffice since it will be the first MegaDO on a wide-body aircraft. Given some time, money and some luck, this might be worth checking out over on http://www.megado.com

With the change of seasons, here’s to easy reading and the pleasant days of summer.

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