Reassessing Airline Loyalty For International Frequent Flyers

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by sobore, Mar 21, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-nicholson/reassessing-airline-loyal_b_1357400.html

    Frequent flyers are accustomed to investing their loyalty and their travel dollars with one airline alliance for the sake of obtaining the perks that come along with accumulating elite status within a frequent flyer program. For those who travel domestically, this system of loyalty and reward is a two-way street: frequent travelers heap money into one airline's pocket, and the airline heaps first-class status and service onto the customer.

    The miles flow, the upgrades flow, the free alcohol flows -- and both the frequent flyers and the airlines reap the benefits of this mutually beneficial relationship.
    However, for frequent international travelers, virtually all elite status programs remove from the equation one of the most sought after perks that makes frequent air travel semi-comfortable and tolerable: complimentary upgrades. Instead, for frequent international travelers the relationship is downgraded from one of clear mutual benefit to one that is largely a one-way street benefiting the airlines, with the financiers being suddenly restricted from taking advantage of the biggest perk that makes frequent air travel tolerable and loyalty to one airline alliance worth the extra effort and expense.

    Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-nicholson/reassessing-airline-loyal_b_1357400.html
     
    jpdmnd, Mikus33, Kalboz and 2 others like this.
  2. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Interesting article. I don't get to fly much for work, but both my last company and my current company pay for business class for international flights. I seriously doubt free upgrades for elite flyers would change their policy of paying for the business clase fare. It'd be interesting to hear some other people's thoughts on if they think the international upgrade possibility would affect their company's decisions to pay for business class (assuming their company pays for them currently). I agree with the author that it'd be another win/win for the customer/airline. The only loser would be the airline employee who flies for free on standby who no longer gets those premium seats on the international legs.
     
  3. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    My company pays only for Economy (discounted, at that) and I get to choose which airlines I get to fly with a certain degree of freedom (dollar limited). So yeah, having that perk would affect my choices. Especially after my latest 747-400 flight on Lufthansa FRA-DEN in what appeared to be seats taken out of a TU-134.
     
  4. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    Well, I have SWUs for both AA and UA/CO, and my experience last year and so far this year has been that I get upgraded only about half the time. Indeed, one of my SWUs expired unused last year. What do you think my odds would be if every elite had unlimited SWUs (GPUs, eVIPs, whatever)?
     
  5. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    DL folks know all too well about the misery of using SWU's. International M fares can be a real bugger...:confused:
     
  6. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    There's another group - people like me. We get miles anyway and anywhere we can - thanks to forums like MP and the bloggers out there. I use my business purchases to further pump them up. And in the end, I have no real loyalty except whoever can get me across any ocean in the most comfort with the fewest points. Over the last few years, that's included BA, Swiss, Lufthansa and United.

    These articles continue to show that our loyalty (rightfully) comes after their profit and also rightfully, my comfort comes before their profits! So far, it's a fair game.
     

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