Randy Petersen's Opening Remarks – March, 25 2014

Randy Petersen's Opening Remarks – March, 25 2014

In less than three weeks after the announcement by Delta that they are moving to a revenue-based program things have quieted down–really quieted down. In the thread that initially announced the news on FlyerTalk, which garnered over 70,000 page views, there hasn’t been a single new post to the thread in more than a week. And in the thread started and supported by Delta, there were only 45 posts in the last eight days. Over on Milepoint, there was but a single post in the past week in the thread that had initially announced the news, so regardless of the social channel, this apparently is a topic that has become accepted. I’m not sure if I recall a topic with as much initial buzz, especially regarding a change as big as this, die down so quickly. Even the recent changes to United’s MileagePlus awards charts were still being discussed with some sort of daily activity three weeks after the announcement and the discussions continue nearly five months later. None of the petitions created to convince Delta to change their mind have blossomed to reflect hundreds of thousands of disgruntled members of SkyMiles. And so far, none of the competing programs have gone out of their way to match elite status to Delta. In some ways, it looks like just another day.

What is somewhat unique in all this, is that this move by Delta to a revenue-based program will likely be one of the major milestones in the timeline of the industry. Did Delta really research that well to know that the vast “middle class” would see no real change or danger in SkyMiles 2015? Is there that much common acceptance to the change? I’m not that sure, and it is likely that even SkyMiles is wondering what just happened. It seems likely that we’ll have a giant lullaby for the next eight months and then the topic will kick in again as it nears implementation time in January. But here’s what is evident to me. With the quick die-down of the conversation about this in the court of social media, it provides other programs a bit more courage to move to match or push their own boundaries of change in this area. That, or it may just be viewed as business as usual and this is the last we’ll hear of the topic.

In case you haven’t read it yet, InsideFlyer has ramped up our blog–about five years or more late. While we’ve long had different channels where readers could access news, information and advice on a more real-time basis, they have been scattered around. The InsideFlyer blog is being hosted on BoardingArea and has quickly grown a readership in its first few weeks, featuring content that takes a different approach. While most blogs are written from the view of an individual traveler (frankly that is what makes them so great), the InsideFlyer blog will post content not normally seen in blogs like our popular interview series and in-depth research into the latest frequent travel topics. For example, a recent report that Marriott was changing their Marriott Rewards program and that an announcement was imminent was passed along by several blogs. InsideFlyer took another approach–we contacted Marriott Rewards and talked to several of their senior executives to discover that Marriott has absolutely no plans to announce any changes. We certainly think this type of approach will help the InsideFlyer blog become a relied-upon read. Please join reading our blog at: http://www.insideflyer.boardingarea.com.

The Freddie Awards balloting has just completed and it turned out to be a remarkable year for the Awards–trending to over 20 million page views for the balloting. I’m always glad to be part of that process. Here’s to your personal choices of the best programs to do well in Seattle when the winners are announced on Thursday, April 24th.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *