Ah yes, the sounds of the season. I’m sitting here in early December listening to Bing Crosby croon about a White Christmas as I reply to yet another member lamenting about his sounds of the season, which start in early January with the launch of Delta’s new SkyMiles program followed by the launch of United’s new MileagePlus program followed by the merger of American’s two programs.
Yes, the season is upon us. And for good, bad, indifferent or the unknown I along with readers of InsideFlyer will somehow manage to get through it, just as we got through that other season.
Oh, what did I get for Christmas? A bronze statute of three running buffalo–perfect for my ranch–and a reminder that from time to time we’re all running from something. Running from a recent hotel category devaluation? Running from the fear of a revenue-based loyalty program? Running with the herd of status match seekers? I can’t remember a new year starting with as much change–and I’ve seen a lot of new years in these programs.
I’ll quote words from a seasonal song to illustrate my current state-of-mileage-mind … “all is calm, all is bright.” I’m calm. I have made plans over the years just for these events and I guess I take the simplistic view that all is bright because none of the programs exercised their ability to end the programs without notice. Hey, I have simple needs.
Things I hope are gone with the new year? A specific word kept popping up in 2014 in describing changes to some of the travel loyalty programs and the word seemed especially aimed at Delta SkyMiles. The word? Eviscerating. Painful. I find this particular word makes my skin crawl each time I read it. Last time I heard that word was from the movie Up In The Air. “NATALIE: You can start the morning in Boston, stop in Dallas over lunch and finish the day in San Francisco. All for the price of a T1 line. Our inflated travel budget is eviscerated by eighty-five percent … And most importantly to you guys on the road … No more Christmases in a hotel in Tulsa … No more hours lost to weather delays … You get to come home.”
But I did do my research–it doesn’t seem to be all about Delta SkyMiles. According to Google, Aeroplan, American, British Airways and United have also been accused of eviscerating their programs along with Delta. Interestingly enough, hotels are accused of changes that cut to the bone as much as the airlines but they are lucky enough to just be considered ‘devalued’.
I have no resolutions for my travel loyalty programs this year, similar in many respects to past years. Why change or challenge things that seem to work well for me? Yes, I did sit way back in coach on a few American flights; yes, I bombed to the back of the cabin on a few Delta flights; yes, I am not so happy at times with the progress of United’s WiFi integration. And yes, I’m apparently happy with all my hotel programs since the only redemption I did all year was some holiday rooms for the lovely bride and her girlfriends to Christmas shop–and there were no problems with redemption of my Marriott Rewards points. Guess I’m a minimal needs guy.
But I do have a single resolution and it involves the person reading this column. I’ve not been entirely pleased for some time with the attention paid to the online presence of InsideFlyer. I often excuse myself by saying yes, it needs attention, but look at what else I’ve done since introducing InsideFlyer online–founded FlyerTalk, BoardingArea and Milepoint. All fairly popular sites, and daily resources for many. So, after raising that brood of resources, it’s time to return to the start and that is this magazine. In 2015, my resolution is to improve the online utility of this magazine and tweak things a little to provide you with reason to remain a reader. That’s a simple resolution and one I intend to keep.