Letters – February, 20 2013

Letters – February, 20 2013

Broken Engagement

I have 17,050 American AAdvantage miles that just expired on Dec. 12, 2012. I was not notified that my mileage was going to expire.

When I ask the representative why I was not notified, she told me that I had elected to not receive notice. This is a lie. Why would I elect to not receive notice? Anyway, the only way I can get back my miles is pay $200+ to get them back or fly with American Airlines or a partner airline within six months and pay the $30 to get the mileage back, something they call an “engagement program”.

I do not intend to fly with them or their partners again if I can help it.

Dawn Points Raid

I recently lost my Choice Hotel Privileges points even though I was aware of the date they would expire and had plans to redeem them. It has been quite the shock and one that I am not at all happy about. I received an email saying that my points would expire on Dec. 31, 2012 so I thought the best way to use them would be to order dining certificates. I made a note on my calendar and then at 7am on Dec. 31, I went into my Choice Privileges account to redeem my points only to find that all of my points were gone!

I expected, like I think most people would expect, that I had until midnight on the 31st, but I found out the hard way that I was wrong. I guess they had the points set to expire at 12:01am on Dec. 31. I don’t know when they were deleted from my account.

When I emailed Choice about this, I got a rather bottled response: “Choice Privileges points expire on Dec. 31st, two years from the year in which you earned them. This information is located in the rules and regulations. The points expire on Dec. 31 and are removed from your account on Dec. 31. You are required to use any expiring points prior to the expiration date. Thank you for your inquiry. I appreciate your membership with Choice Privileges.”

Really? Do you really appreciate my business? Is this the way to treat a loyal customer? I realize that you let me know that the points would expire on Dec. 31 but what you did not point out was the actual time that the points would expire. That information would have been particularly helpful to me. I’ve learned a lesson the hard way.
Jon B.

SWA/ Ryanair

Hell no! I’m not happy with Southwest’s new $40 fee for early boarding and think it’s crazy. SWA has turned into the U.S. version of Ryanair. This seems like a total cash grab. At this point, you’re better off booking with a legacy carrier with an assigned seat instead of flying like cattle.
J. Gerdon


I think Southwest’s $40 fee to board in the A group is the beginning of the erosion of Southwest’s “no fees” policy and is generated by greed. Personally, I think $40 is much too much to charge on a one-way ticket for the privilege to board early. By stipulating that the early boarding policy will be available 45 minutes prior to departure if spots are available, Southwest avoids having to include the $40 in the cost of the ticket. Come on Southwest, say it like you mean it, “no fees!”

Monitoring a Change

It is disappointing to see this move [from Delta in changing the requirement to obtain Medallion status] having been a loyal Delta flyer for so many years, willing to take connecting flights when other airlines had nonstops, willing to pay higher fares to maintain my status.

I’ll give it a go for 2014 but will monitor it carefully and see if the effort is still worth it. I won’t have to worry about the $12,500 Diamond limit because I used the AMEX card well over the $25,000 limit last year.

By the way, using the AMEX actually benefitted me in paying fewer bills each month, I never paid a dime in interest, and I earned lots of extra miles, too.

Nonetheless, I think I will have to start looking at other options (particularly since SkyTeam partner spend won’t count).
Bob R.

Editors’ note: Thanks for the note, Bob, and you’re not alone in watching to see how it goes with the new system. You’ve probably discovered by now that SkyTeam partner spend will count. According to Delta’s website: “Flight spend for travel on other airlines ticketed through a Delta channel (featuring a ticket number beginning with “006”) will also be included in MQDs.” But how that will play out in real life will be another aspect to monitor. At least SkyMiles members have some time to adjust to the changes since they don’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2014.


This [change in the Medallion program to include a revenue component to earn status] is Delta attempting to get more money from their loyal users and paring down the number of Diamond members I think. This will make it much harder for someone like me, who does the actual 125,000+ miles the hard way, rather than get MQM bonuses for business and AMEX spend.

They say it’s, “to make it more exclusive for their loyal members”–read that as “everyone is special, so no one is”–they have to revalue. Unfortunately for me, I shall from 2014 find it hard to qualify, so I will therefore be less loyal. Delta knows this of course and don’t care. The other annoying thing is the unspecified detail on their comment “adjusting MQMs for lower value fares.” I always take the lowest fare, and therefore might not even make Platinum if they devalue those tickets. Sad.


Personally, I’m glad that Delta has made this move [to a revenue-based system to earn elite status]. It has always irked me that I spend more on tickets (being a last-minute higher priced business traveler) and yet get very little as far as traveler perks, even though I am loyal to them as my preferred airline. Perhaps now I will see more upgrade opportunities. Kudos Delta!
Bob C.


This new move from Delta to add a revenue component to earn elite status is bad for the small businessman who flies Delta frequently but with a limited budget. I fly five transatlantic flights a year and with this change I probably won’t even get to Silver. I don’t want their AMEX card as I have other bank relationships–so I will vote with my feet to another carrier.

I also find it a disappointment for the alliance and affiliated carriers that I often use. So now I will have to pay to get a better economy class seat and my bags after spending over five grand because the MQD don’t count all the taxes and international surcharges that I must pay. Bad news and I’m a frequent flyer hit hard on this deal. I’m done with Delta.


I love the new program from Delta. It appears that they will now reward people like me who are loyal to Delta and actually spend money with them.

Close, But No Lay-Flat Seat

A friend of mine was flying from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia on an L fare and missed her international flight due to problems on her first segment from Reno to SFO. They rebooked her for the next day and when I pulled up the reservation, I noticed it rebooked as a Y fare. I seized the moment and used a systemwide upgrade and got her into a lay-flat bed. I sent her a text with a photo of her upgraded ticket and told her to go reprint her boarding pass. She didn’t know to print it at a machine rather than ask a gate agent. The gate agent saw what I had done and downgraded her from business and put her back into coach.

Dear Randy

Life is short and your message [in WiseFlyer] hit home regarding American/Alaska Airlines. I just wanted to say that was a beautiful way to answer the Alaska/American conversion customer’s request! Your words were well chosen and I also hope they have better health as time goes on. I have to admit that I am saving for the future and you never know when illness could change those plans at any time. My new motto for 2013 will be to travel like today IS tomorrow.

All the best to you!
Betsy Padgett

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