An Open Letter to AAdvantage re: Mileage Aggregation Services

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Mike Reed, Oct 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

?

Are mileage aggregation services such as GoMiles, Award Wallet, etc. valuable to you?

  1. Yes

    78.7%
  2. No

    21.3%
  1. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Dear American Airlines / AAdvantage:

    I read with dismay that American has joined the fight against "mileage aggregation" services such as GoMiles, Award Wallet, etc., claiming a dilution of benefit and increased stress on web servers.

    I am a user of one of these services, GoMiles, and find the service it provides to be extremely useful. As a frequent traveler, I have memberships in many programs, including airline, hotel and rental car programs - many of which also have affiliation with AAdvantage in that I earn miles for hotel stays and rental cars. While AAdvantage is my primary frequent flyer program, there are times that schedules or price dictate the use of another carrier, which often means the use of another frequent flyer program.

    The ability to view all of my program balances in one place is a significant timesaver for me, and actually serves to increase my loyalty to and satisfaction with each program as I don't have to maneuver through separate sites to get the information I want and need on current balance, redemption options, etc.

    More disturbing, though, is American's apparent belief that I shouldn't control how and where my personal information is accessed from. While American has no problem with me going to aa.com for my balance, there's apparently a problem if I give permission to another web site to do this for me. While I understand that AAdvantage is a program owned and operated by American Airlines, my ability to access my personal data belongs to me. As such, I am entitled to share that with anyone I choose and trust, whether that be a third party web site, a spouse or an administrative assistant - all examples of third-party access to my data - as long as I'm willing to also accept responsibility for any security compromise as a result.

    I'm asking you not to take this choice away. I understand that you perceive the loss of traffic to your site a threat to your control. In fact, it is. When you and you alone control my data, it becomes less valuable to me (as it takes more time to log into 12 different web sites, so I'll do it less frequently or be less satisfied when I have to jump through artificial hoops to do so).

    Please understand that these services are valuable to your customers. Rather than attempt to shut them down or turn them off, embrace them, work with them, and use their position with your valued customers to positively impact that experience. Provide open access to current deals, so that when I check my miles on a third party site I'm enticed to click through to specials you offer to help me use them. Open up so that through these sites I can see the true usability of my miles, providing me options I wouldn't have otherwise known about.

    Don't take something away from me. Make something I have now... better.

    Respectfully,

    Mike Reed
    http://gettingstatus.wordpress.com
     
  2. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Please note that I've posted a poll on this article so folks can vote. Please vote to show impact.

    Also, I've posted this open letter on my blog. Feel free to link to it as you see fit.
     
  3. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    If I were to answer the question as is, I'd say that the services are valuable to me. I'v dabbled with several and use AwardWallet on my iPhone. However, at the end of the day, this really isn't a big deal to me. I can track my points on my own with a little more effort, and I don't view this as any type of major blow to me as a customer.
     
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  4. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    For me, it's the multiple program aspect. Especially across non-airline partners, so I can see what my vacation options are in terms of flight, hotel, parking, car, etc. But even across multiple airlines, it's valuable to see everything at a glance.
     
  5. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Certainly it's a nice feature, and I use it for quite a few programs myself. I'm just not sure this is one of the battles I would pick to carry a banner on.
     
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  6. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    I'd rather make an attempt to stop it now, before it's too late. This anti-consumer behavior is NOT the way to rebuild a customer base.
     
  7. Eloy Fonseca Neto
    Original Member

    Eloy Fonseca Neto Silver Member

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    Congrats Mike! You made an excellent point! I didn't even know that this fight exists and I join on your side to defend what helps us and make our life better. So it would be a really shame on AA to fight for something like this whereas there are lots of thing that AA can do to improve their traffic and customers!
     
  8. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    It's a major time saver for me. I manage my entire family's and girlfriend's FF and hotel loyalty programs all in one place and to have to manually go through each and every one would be far more difficult. I'm sure it would lead to more lost miles/points due to forgetfulness on my part and the airlines would actually probably prefer that, but looking at it from a customer point of view, I definitely prefer these. Thanks for the great write up Mike Reed!
     
  9. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    Agree, major time-saver, money-saver and convenience. Well thought and writ response Mike.
     
  10. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

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    The claim that this is somehow about member/password security is suspect when American allows points.com to track balances.

    This is a very customer-unfriendly move.
     
  11. TheBeerHunter
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    TheBeerHunter Silver Member

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    Agreed, and that's what ticks me off about this whole thing. It really is about eyeballs and advertising and upselling -- be honest about it, for goodness sake.

    I really like Award Wallet. I like being able to see everything in one place, including my e-miles, e-rewards, etc. balances.

    If AA wants to come out with its own tool to do the same, I'd happily switch if it was as useful. :D
     
  12. ceieoc

    ceieoc Silver Member

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    Thank you Mike Reed for bringing this issue to our attention. My United and American Airlines miles can expire, unlike Delta or Continental Airline miles. I like the notice that you receive for miles about to vaporize from useful user friendly websites like GoMiles.com and AwardWallet.com. I have heard that many frequent flyers have lost millions of miles due to their inattention of the expiration date of their previously earned frequent flyer miles.
     
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  13. Lyssa
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    Lyssa Silver Member

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    Yes, well said Mike. I manage several hotel/air accounts for myself and my husband. It would be quite a pain to log into all of those sites directly. I'm already frustrated that I can't access my Southwest info via AwardWallet. If other airlines follow in this regard, it would hurt (not help) my loyalty to those programs.
     
  14. LizzyDragon84
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    LizzyDragon84 Gold Member

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    Well done, Mike. I'm an AwardWallet user and I find it very helpful to be able to access my American info via 3rd-party sites. While I understand that American is concerned about privacy and information-sharing, it is a risk I am willing to accept. I have a positive view of American and if in the future I couldn't access my info through these sites, I would become frustrated. It would tarnish the good image that American has.
     
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