Arthur Frommer doesn't bother with FF miles

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by SC Flier, Aug 15, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    :eek:

    After a radio interview on The Travel Show for a debate between two reporters about the practicality of frequent flier miles, Pauline Frommer and her father discuss their own participation in FF programs:

    Pauline: And, Dad, I guess I have to ask you, do you save frequent flier miles? How much do you concentrate on this issue?​

    Arthur: Pauline, I am a non-user of frequent flier miles. I stand firmly on her side -- the debater who thought that there was a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. It was just too much trouble to add up these points and then get a flight that you need.​

    The above lines begin in the 9th minute of the following segment:
    http://www.wor710.com/topic/play_window.php?audioType=Episode&audioId=5424706

    Hat tip via Twitter:
    GlobeTrotScott Scott Mayerowitz​
    Are Frequent Flier Miles Worth It? @paulinefrommer chats with me and @SamWillTravel http://ow.ly/63iS9
     
  2. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    Hmmm...I'd take all the worthless ff miles that may come from Arthur Frommer's flights.
     
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  3. TimeZoneCST
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    TimeZoneCST Silver Member

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    Are you kidding me?
     
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  4. SC Flier
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  5. sobore
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    Pretty surprising. FF miles are a form of currency. Maybe he is so wealthy it matters not. :confused:
     
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  6. TimeZoneCST
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    TimeZoneCST Silver Member

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    Seriously...what "work" goes into filling out an app, booking my ticket (someone else is doing this, by the way..), flying in an airplane (using my cc, or both), and checking my account? Oh, and did I forget to mention free upgrades and bennies? Sorry.
     
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  7. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    I agree that Frommer is saying something idiotic, and worse, he's saying something idiotic as a person to whom the uninitiated might listen.

    That said, there's a kernel of truth in here. Airlines want to have their cake and eat it, too, when it comes to frequent flier rewards. They tantalize would-be enrollees with references to 25,000-mile domestic rewards, and with pictures of happy fliers enjoying their international F seats. But are these and other awards reasonably attainable? The WSJ reported last year that while WN and AS could fulfill 99 and 75 percent of award requests, respectively, DL could manage only 13 percent and US was at the bottom of the barrel with 11 percent. For people who don't know all the tricks of the system, trying to redeem FF awards can seem anything from incredibly frustrating to downright impossible. I consider myself reasonably knowledgeable about how these things work, but even so, when it comes to trying to book transoceanic awards on popular routes in F or C, I a) start planning more than a year out, and b) hire a professional to do the work for me -- I can give excellent recommendations for Gary Leff and Brett Snyder, both of whom have done outstanding work for me.

    But still... a person with a moderate amount of knowledge of FF programs and redemptions has to plan a year out and hire someone at extra cost to be able get the tickets he wants. How must the average Jane feel, the person who has flown for years and years as a low-tier elite, doesn't follow FT or MP, has finally built up 250,000 miles, is ready to fly to Paris with Mr Jane for their second honeymoon, and can't find seats in F to save her life? Angry and frustrated, I'd say.
     
  8. travelgourmet
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    travelgourmet Silver Member

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    I think that his position is a good one for the vast majority of the flying public. If it takes you years to earn one free ticket, then it really isn't worth the trouble. And if you aren't going to get elite status, it is even less worth it. Sure, one can supplement with credit cards, but most people do not churn hundreds of thousands of dollars through a card.

    Heck, even for those that do fly a lot, I think that many would do well to step back and assess whether the FF tail is wagging the dog at times. There is value to be gained, sure, but every time I read folks proudly bragging about how they go out of their way on a routing or pay more to stick with a carrier, I sometimes just shake my head.
     
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  9. DJP_707
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  10. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Does he pay for his flights, or do airlines and travel destinations comp him?
     
  11. TimeZoneCST
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    TimeZoneCST Silver Member

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    travelgourmet, if I could offer two small counterpoints? Most CC users churn hundreds if not thousands of dollars on their CC easily. There has never been a higher consumption rate on plastic then there is today. In addition, FF programs not only offer round trip rewards, they also offer hundreds of entertaining, shopping and dining rewards that can be redeemed just like cash.

    I am thankful for the "status" I have for one simple reason that I have avoided spending nights in an airport by the use of priority phone lines that allow me to confirm seats on alt flights while my fellow travelers are standing in line wondering whether the will EVER get home, lol. That to me is WAY worth the little effort it takes to maintain some sort of status.

    Just my view point, hope not to offend.
     
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  12. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    I think that his position is a good one for the vast majority of the barely-flying public.
     
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  13. SC Flier
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    I suspect that he has comped status with airlines and hotels either at a published or unpublished elite level.

    I wonder what type of business CC he uses. Does his administrative assistant get all of his CC miles instead? Or does he have a card that offers cash back?

    I'll bet he just throws out (or recycles) his Coke bottlecaps, too! :mad: ;)
     
  14. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    I figure that worst-case, most flights can at least get you a free magazine subscription or 2. Whether that is worth going out of the way for is another matter, but may as well claim the miles.
     
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  15. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Not only has Mr. Frommer helped me find that easily identified gelato joint in Rome that's already crawling with tourists, but now he's helped me see that the RTW trip in F I took 3 months ago for $450 was a hassle and complete waste of my time. Is there nothing this man can't teach me!? :eek:
     
  16. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    I think one reason why most people bitch they can't use their points is if they can't get the exact flight they want on the date they want they believe the system is a failure. With a bit of flexibility and imagination I've always been able to get where I want when I want in a cabin that I wouldn't normally travel in.

    Actually non-availability of my requested flights has enabled me to do some routings I never would have thought of and produced some wonderful experiences.
     
  17. Jett Rink
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    There are many people that travel so infrequently that managing whatever little miles and points that accrue, or may accrue, in programs is just not worth the bother.
     
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  18. travelgourmet
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    Hey, we can all share our opinions, so no offense taken, but I disagree with your statements on CC churn. The average household in the US has an income of roughly $50k. Now, I know lots of folks live beyond their means, but I seriously doubt that "most CC users" churn the kind of money that leads to useful rewards. Yeah, there are shopping, etc rewards, but why work a card that provides points that can be redeemed like cash when you could choose a no-fee card that cuts out the middle man and simply gives you the cash back? I think that the average user would probably get a better return by minimizing the fees, as opposed to maximizing the rewards. Only the free bag benefits change the calculus on the airline cards, IMO.

    For the high-spend/high-travel CC user, I'd argue that hotel cards offer better value.

    Which is the majority on most flights and probably the majority of his listeners/readers. Which is why I think the claims that he is an idiot pretty much completely miss the point.

    I get the point, but Arthur Frommer was writing guide books in the '50s. He deserves some measure of respect for the trailblazing he did.
     
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  19. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Give the guy a break....so he does not collect and use FF points....
    do you think that the very rich all bother to collect points. ?
    Not everyone is afflicted with our disease. :D
     
  20. Jett Rink
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    Jett Rink Silver Member

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    Flying the corporate jet, and staying at the corporate apt/house won't garner miles or points. Not a bad lifestyle.
     
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  21. DestinationDavid
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    I've never been a fan of the idea that someone does something great and is immune from lighthearted critique.

    Sure, he was a trailblazer in his day but the product his company produces in modern times is something I find a bit lacking and outdated. With regards to this flap about FF programs, I don't see why everyone is so fixated on the fact that many of his listeners/target audience don't fly that often. FF programs have evolved past programs for frequent travelers, as MP demonstrates amazingly well. Credit card offers, bank accounts, eshopping, etc, have all opened the door to the programs for individuals who haven't set foot on a plane in 10 years.

    Mr. Frommer seems to have dismissed FF programs in general, which is more than a bit silly for the cost concious traveler, and makes one wonder if he's really in touch with the modern travel landscape.

    Being a pioneer is respectable, but part of carrying that mantle is good stewardship of your legacy and reputation, and this isn't a step in the right direction at all. That's just my opinion though. :)
     
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  22. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    Part of the continued discussion between the two:

    Arthur: "I go on all sorts of airlines that give frequent flier mileage, and then I forget to amass them."​

    Perhaps someone else feels like transcribing the full 90 seconds. Pauline's position is not much different from her father's.
     
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  23. mrredskin
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    mrredskin Gold Member

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    It's a little different when he is directly involved in the TRAVEL business. He should promote the use of these programs since millions have done things solely based on his and his minions' recommendations.

    I would agree that he doesn't bother since he probably rarely pays for a flight.
     
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  24. travelgourmet
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    travelgourmet Silver Member

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    Except I see as many examples of how the MP-type thinking leads people to make sub-optimal decisions in order to chase the miles as I do folks benefitting from truly great offers.

    I would also ask what use miles are for someone that hasn't set foot on a plane in 10 years...

    I would also note that Arthur Frommer doesn't actually write the guidebooks any more.
     
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  25. SC Flier
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    Yes, but he co-hosts a radio show called The Travel Show. :rolleyes:
     
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