Are You Getting Discouraged w/ Recent Program Changes

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Mrlasssen, Nov 11, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Mrlasssen

    Mrlasssen Silver Member

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    Seems like there is never a week lately that goes by and we don't read about a devaluation. With so many unknowns on the horizon I am beginning to think the end of loyalty programs is coming.

    I know, we have all heard of the tricks played to get more points and points are really easier to get then they used to be, but my point is points don't go as far as they used to and are becoming harder and harder to use.

    We post and brag, on this site, and many others, about how we have found sweet spots, only to read later how an airline or hotel company has read about it and changed the rules.

    Someone said at the Tampa FTU that there seems like our community is growing and when will it reach the saturation point. I think we are on the verge of it now. Please feel free to leave a comment about this editorial if you agree or disagree. I'm sure all of us would like to hear more about this subject and have it opened up to discussion.
     
  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    (first post... Really, no replies in one hour?)

    Not getting discouraged. Encouraged to burn, burn, burn.
     
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  3. cvsara
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    cvsara Gold Member

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    Rules change. It is the way it is. Not only in our beloved little corner of the world, but in the world!. Yes, HH, UA, AA, IHG, Hyatt, have changed. Just like O'Bama care (Ugh), State and Federal Taxes, Gasoline prices, and teh cost of groceries, things change. Gotta roll with teh flow.
    Adapt, or - - -, well, we, as individuals, will decide.
     
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  4. flynow

    flynow Silver Member

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    Most of all the time the banks and Airline know what they are doing to us ! Get you to get the banks cards and then later on rise everything so you need more miles or Hotel Points !! What a Game. !!!;)
     
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  5. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    I'm not worried by any of the recent devaluations, and I don't think any of the potential devaluations being discussed will be the end of the world. The talk of some programs moving to being revenue-based has me concerned, but even then, I think I will be able to get something out of them. Not nearly as much as now, but I think I'll be able to get something out of them, just like I can get something out of most programs now, even though what that something is may change.
     
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  6. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    The old guard of travel service providers is getting fat and greedy. The industry is ripe to be disrupted by young and vigorous upstarts. Virgin Galactic is a good example. They haven't even finished building their new product, but already presold everything they offered.
     
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  7. royce242

    royce242 Silver Member

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    Yeah, I believe the system's good ole days are slowing going to begin fading as more and more people jump on board this game. I don't travel as much as most of you on here so I don't have an abundance of miles stockpiled, but the ones I do receive (most of them are for doing practically NOTHING, i.e. CC's), I'm fortunate enough to spend them and get a good rate nonetheless. As I've posted, I've flown to Miami from Zurich for 40K (plus a measly $95) 3 times now and it's been easy as pie. I've also taken my miles and used them for rental cars (via Delta and American), also at a good rate imo. I've been fortunate to do this, whereas many of you aren't blessed by good local connections and the ability to fly off-peak, etc etc. For this I am fortunate.

    But all good things must come to an end. I've prepared for the day where it won't even be worth collecting miles anymore. Once this day comes, I will accept it, be thankful I've flown for free dozens of times and just simply use a cash back card and travel with whichever carrier is cheapest with no thought of whose miles I'm collecting.

    So yeah, to make a long story short...I expect it, accept it and will deal.
     
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  8. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    "O'bama?" He's definitely not Irish!
     
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  9. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    Discouraged? No. Encouraged to keep a close eye on the programs I'm participating in, to see if they still work for me, yes. And encouraged to earn and burn as well. In the worse case scenario (revenue-based rewards programs become widespread) I can eventually see myself switching back to nothing but cash-back cards - but even then I'd still be saving significant money, and we're still a long way away from that point right now.
     
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  10. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    sure, however the momentum has picked up greatly vs. the pace at which programs used to change.
    For me personally the past few years has had a profound impact on me the leisure traveler & how I view/utilize programs, starting with UA changing Million Miler, the increasing pace of devaluations and more move towards revenue-base programs has me in high burn mode (i.e. I'm at my lowest mileage balance w/UA in nearly 20 years)..
    If I had business travel subsidizing my airline/hotel programs I would be on the optimistic side of your statement. For awhile now as a 100% leisure traveler, I only participate when promos help my balances to a great degree and I will not chase status the way I did in the past.

    Edit to add: As an example of my change, I have a trip to Naples Italy coming up soon, there are a few chain properties represented in the greater Naples area, when I compare the room/amenities that the chains offer to what I can source from the independents at 1/3-1/2 the cost, it becomes an easy decision. Free breakfast & internet, got it. A "sterile" address that some of the chains offer & room with a view? Got a great location, view not so much but then again I'm not traveling to Italy for the view from my hotel room. The above would never enter my mind 'back in the day' as I would have a mindset that I must choose a property that was part of one of the programs I was in all "to get/use the points"
    Saturation point would be once the CC companies stop throwing mega sign up bonuses and the numerous 'me too' blogs dry up.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
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  11. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    No, certainly not discouraged (as least not for very long anyway). I think we all need to continuously evaluate our own approach toward loyalty programs to make sure they are really benefiting us instead of the other way around, but there is certainly still plenty of value to be had in many circumstances...just not in the same way as a few months ago, or last year, or five years ago, etc.
     
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  12. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    Everything is cyclical.

    As an aside, the Federal Reserve has been pumping (printing new money) into the economy at the rate of 85 billion dollars a month for quite some time now. This will devalue my wages. Should I get discouraged and stop working because of this devaluation? My savings too will be devalued. Should I also prepare for euthanasia when the money runs out in my retirement? Absolutely not. We just got to go with the flow and devise ways to maintain our living standards (which includes free/cheap travel) as long as possible.
     
  13. ariosto

    ariosto Silver Member

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    Well Said
     
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  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Not sure what you mean by cyclical here. Do you think UA, Hyatt, or Hilton will at some point drop the number of miles/points back to where they were? Or run massive promos that fully compensate for the increase? I very much doubt that. Sure, there will be promos, as there have been with the lower awards rates. But I think it's unlikely that the value will ever return to what may very well have been an unsustainable level.
     
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  15. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    I think either or both of those things is likely to happen when the economy turns sour again - and it WILL turn sour again at some point. When times are good, there's less need to put inventory (whether airline seats or hotel rooms) on sale. The opposite is true when times are bad. And the economy is definitely cyclical.
     
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  16. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    QFT.

    Incidentally, business class 20 years ago had no lie-flats, no world-wide alliances, and very little ways of getting gobs of mileage other than, well, flying.

    Or, if you believe other economic models, we're at the zero lower bound, and fear-mongering about inflation is counterproductive, when we're in an environment with massive, longterm unemployment and 1% inflation, and what's going on is a central bank doing whatever it can to combat bad fiscal policy that is helping to cause that massive unemployment. ;)

    That being said, miles are different from money. Money is much more liquid than a UA mileage balance.
     
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  17. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    The business model of all airlines have changed. What the FF programs gave us during the years of bankruptcy and near-bankruptcy was determined by Airline executives bent on increasing market share across large markets and attracting high mileage customers. Today's business model calls for controlling capacity, unbundled product and high market share only at fortress hubs.
    While we think we are getting less, their models say we are getting much more.
     
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  18. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Sent a message to Chase that basically said that I was disheartened that two of their major transfer partners had, within the last week, dramatically reduced the value of my Ultimate Rewards. I told them that this new situation had made my Chase cards less valuable and my Starwood AMEX more valuable and wanted to know what Chase was planning to restore value to its customers.

    I got a ridiculous response from them. 1. Not our situation so we won't give you extra points, and 2. telephone numbers to call Hyatt and United to complain.

    First of all, I never asked for compensation. I was pointing out a new, structural problem with their product and asking their take on it and if they had plans to do anything (beats me what it could be but still!) to keep their customers using those cards. Perhaps if the letter had been better written and had said that they shared my frustration it would have been easier to swallow but this one was ridiculous.
     
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  19. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    What a ridiculous response from Chase! I can understand and appreciate their dilemma, as they had nothing to do with their partners' devaluations - but when a customer is switching away from spending on their cards to spending on a competitor's cards, it absolutely BECOMES their problem.
     
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  20. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    I'm sort of with you in this line of thought, mostly because of when i started collecting miles. Heck, when i started collecting AAdvantage miles it was well before American Eagle so the number of cities served by AA was really limited. They did not serve London or Rio and their two destinations in Mexico were Mexico City and Acapulco—I prefer Cabo and well below Cancun. So for most of my miles I've seen a high increase in value even with the occasional setbacks. And for me I much prefer today's biz class awards (lie-down seats) to anything even close to that of first class awards (recline only) years ago when it comes to the seat and comfort (I'm personally not a foodie-in-the-air so will leave that part of the equation to others). And as for United, for any member active today that started later, perhaps in the mid-90s, one might argue there's much more value today (even despite some setbacks) because of the current policies—has anyone forgot that in the 90s that United miles permanently expired after three years, lose it or use it with no chance to keep kicking that expiration can forward like you can today. Oh, and let's remember that in the 90s that that big credit card bonus you would have been doing app-o-ramas for gained you a solid 3-7K bonus miles. No shopping portals, no buy-miles when the arbitrage of purchase is beneficial, no auto upgrades at 100 hours (winky, winky), etc. I've learned to use my knowledge to even things out and aren't in the one-step forward, two steps back crowd. I'm in the two steps forward one step back frame of mind and still like my odds to pass GO.

    Anyway, we all have different ideas on what works for us and I actually enjoy like others seeing things work for you that are different than what works for me. The one thing I know I can't share with some of you is the idea of burn, burn, burn. But that's cool, I'm glad you are out seeing the world and enjoying it. I'll have my time to do so no matter how many miles it costs me!
     
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  21. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Just stay healthy, Randy! Every time I hear bad news about a friend or relative ----- I schedule another trip!
     
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  22. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Yeah, this attitude is why I find it hard to be too depressed. It feels like it's raining soup compared to when I was a college student.
     
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  23. Mrlasssen

    Mrlasssen Silver Member

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    This is great, there are so many different was to look at a glass that is half full or half empty. I think it is great that people are responding to my posting. If you are like me you have now seen the devaluation in different ways. There are some posts addressing the past vs the present in positive ways and I have to admit they are right. Let's keep this thread going and continue to share our options be they positive or negative. Thanks to everyone who has responded.
     
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  24. tondoleo
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    tondoleo Gold Member

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    FWIW, I am not discouraged. There will always be a deal to be had. Perhaps not as great as in the past. So long as I can leverage points and miles and status into something desirable and outlay little or no cash for my trips I am happy.
     
  25. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    Not to sound snarky, but why were you contacting Chase and asking them if they were going to do anything, if you weren't asking for compensation? If you just ask them to do something, without any suggestions as to what that something is, I can see how they'd see that as a request for some compensation.

    And what on Earth is Chase supposed to do? They're not going to change the earning structure for their credit cards (as a response to Hyatt & UA) on a whim. They may do that eventually, but not without thinking it through for a while (how much more $$ they'd have to spend on points/miles, marketing, etc.). And if there are internal discussions about that, they're certainly not going to tell you that.

    See above. What is Chase supposed to do?
     
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