Why don't legacies offer you miles not to fly once you purchase your ticket for a MR?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by THREEA4ME, Dec 15, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. THREEA4ME
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    THREEA4ME Silver Member

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    Just wondering -- if an airline obviously identified customers who were on a MR, why not email them and offer them the miles not to fly? They can then resell the ticket (as long as original customer agrees not to repurchase).

    Wouldn't this make sense to the airline to resell the seat? Afterall, if AA called me up and said, "We noticed you are flying 7 times LAX-ORD next month and if you are flying for miles, we'd like to offer you..." I'd jump at it and NOT fly.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    This would be a dual-edged sword, I think.

    Sure, there are positives all around, for mileage runner and airline.

    But the slippery slope is, does this then pave the way for more people flooding the elite ranks? The gating/limiting factor for many is having to take the time to travel. Remove that, and then all legacies are on the path that US has taken, where they sell status.

    As tempting as the idea sounds, personally, I am not yet convinced that this is the best way to ensure long-term value of elite programs.
     
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  3. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    There's a way to get elite status by simply buying it -- get a Centurion Card.

    We should have to fly to get the elite status -- it sets up brand loyalty.
     
  4. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    Not everyone is invited to Centurion. And the buy-in and the annual fee may be off-putting to most.
     
  5. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    And I also agree that by flying, airlines may have the chance to recognize additional ancillary revenue, even from elites. But...perhaps not as much an incremental gain as from non-elites to whom the seat would be "re-sold."
     
  6. misterbwong

    misterbwong Silver Member

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    What you're doing is pretty much equivalent to buying status (e.g. US's buy up program). Instead of doing actual mileage runs, they allow you to pay a (hefty) fee up front for status.

    If the fee is priced right and on the higher end I'd argue that the ability to buy elite status might actually increase loyalty to a brand and prevent a flood of elites. If someone pays $4000/year for chairman's club, it's a pretty safe bet that they'd keep flying on US.
     
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  7. ceieoc

    ceieoc Silver Member

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    If airlines did what you suggest, their employees would not be able to complete their mandatory on-the-job training in inconveniencing passengers, losing your luggage, serving cold food which should be hot, learning to run out of your favorite beverage selection, learning to fix an out-of-service AVOD, or a broken tray table, or a broken seat, helping the airline to lose money and watch them file for bankruptcy, learning to run out of toilet paper, delaying your flight, learning how to serve pre-departure beverages or swipe your credit card for on-board snacks, overbooking flights, cleaning up vomit from air sick passengers, learning to land at the correct airport and saying "buh bye" when you leave. You would miss all the enjoyment of being a passenger. Remember, time to spare, travel by air.

    To make it easy for an airline to identify a mileage run, all they need to do is add an additional check box on your reservation form. You could then select the "mileage run" option giving the airline the option of reselling your seat. If they get your money, and you only get status, you might not be getting a good value.
     
  8. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    Exactly. I'm glad it's very exclusive.
     
  9. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    Did I miss what your point has to do with the OP?
     
  10. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    That buying MR tickets and not flying is akin to buying elite status straight up. The only efficient way I can think of doing that is with Centurion.
     
  11. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    Ah, got it.

    On UA, one could also buy Elite Maximizer (simply cancel the ticket w/in 24 hours, but keep the RDMs/EQMs). Pricey, but depending on the number of EQMs needed, probably way cheaper than Centurion.
     
  12. MLW20
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    MLW20 Gold Member

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    Who's to say that those seats would now be filled/ sold? I am sure a plane that has mileage runners on it looks better than a plane flying with lots of empty seats.
     
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  13. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    Well, less weight theoretically means less fuel.
     
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  14. MLW20
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    MLW20 Gold Member

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    I highly doubt each flight is getting enough mileage runners to really make a difference in weight onboard.
     
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  15. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    This makes too much sense.

    At least at United, complaining about the inconveniencing of passengers, losing your luggage, cold food...etc. is a wonderful way to subsidize your future travel expenses by collecting e-certs. I say take every flight you can to maximize your chances of being bumped, treated like crap, or ending up one of many 767's that consistently has a broken A/V system.
     
  16. FlyIce

    FlyIce Silver Member

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    I don't belive that MR can be so clearly identified; are so different one from another.
    Then the downside of offering "not to fly" to someone that has a legitimate ticket is a potentilly high image damage for the airline.
    The airline also doesn't care if someone if flying for miles, for leisure or on business. The MRunner is just another pax, why they should offload it ?

    Last but not least, MR are probably a tiny number on total pax numbers, a process to find them will not "pay off".
     
  17. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    easy way to identify those customers: add a checkbox to the reservation screen "Is this a mileage run?". If checked, post miles immediately and add the seat back to inventory.

    Downside: MRs would just look for the best miles/$ fares and buy them all up independent of whether the route is actually viable for them.

    Alternative: just outright sell RDM and EQM - as some airlines do. Why bother the MRer and the airlines website with a fake reservation :)
     
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  18. mauld

    mauld Silver Member

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    How would an airline know you were doing a M/R ? A previous job I held had me doing transcons to attend a meeting or give a presentation, and then flying back that day. Many other business travellers to this all the time.
     
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  19. Titans26

    Titans26 Silver Member

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    When your invited your so excited you do not worry about the fee. The fee is worth every penny and more. I get a thrill from the reactions of acceptors at restaurants, hotels, shopping, airlines and ski rentals. Plus my sons and employees have an additional card from my account. They also praise it's value or perceived value.
     
  20. THREEA4ME
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    THREEA4ME Silver Member

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    First of all, I've received emails from AA asking if I would like a different routing on an already purchased ticket (From a LAX-ORD-FLL MR to just LAX-FLL) so I know they are tracking and using revenue management tools to either free up a seat they know they can sell or whatnot. My contention is that on some days, it is obvious that I'm mileage running LAX-ORD-LAX-ORD with 45 min between flights -- and if they can sell those seats again, wouldn't it be smarter? I'm geting 10746eqms and 21000redeemables if I fly, but I don't see why they couldn't email me and offer me the choice to NOT fly and, in effect, let them resell the ticket. Then they are getting double the fare (or even more if it is highly lucrative fare bucket) and I get to stay home and get the miles I covet.

    In January, I will fly 100K with AA (due to the stackable bonuses), but if an AA rep contacted me and said, "Don't fly and we will resell your seats and you will get the miles coming to you, I'd jump at it."

    And add to the fact that I'm Exec Plat and often get upgraded to first, they have a great chance to sell my seat for an even higher revenue generating fare bucket.

    Is this not a win-win? What does AA actually get once I board that plane and am upgraded to first except spending more money on me via booze and food? I'm also going to utilize the Admiral's Clubs at both spots too.

    I'm sure there is logic here I'm missing, but might this be a place where we are headed (afterall, if AA emails me about changing my itenerary "so my flights could be direct," why not offer me the chance not to fly?).

    And here's a shocker: if AA offered me NOT to fly if I paid them $100 NOT to fly, I'd pay them the $100! They'd make $700 on my 7 scheduled MR's PLUS they could resell my seat! I'd be extremely happy to have my seven days back.

    Now that's a WIN-WIN, no?
     
  21. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    What would stop someone from DFW who doesn't have access to the cheap LAX-ORD fare from buying a couple of them with no intention of flying them, purely to get cheap miles and status?
     
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  22. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    I'd go with latter. Can you give specific examples of ROI/why fee is worth it? I decided it wasn't.
    EXACTLY & this is why the airlines will not do what the OP (& I) would like.
     
  23. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I think that's the whole point... the cheap MR is generally (IMO) a consequence of fare wars between carriers, since if it was up to them they'd charge you $1 million a ticket. You can see that now where 4 CPM runs are actually considered good, whereas everyone would have laughed at that a few years back.

    If the opportunity was there for everybody to buy a whole boatload of miles on the cheap and not even have to leave the couch, we'd have millions of more elites than we do now. I know personally from the opportunities that show up every now and then that I could get a ton of EQMs on the cheap but it requires that I spend the whole day flying, and unless you NEED the miles for something, chances are that you won't just jump at that opportunity.
     
  24. THREEA4ME
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    THREEA4ME Silver Member

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    well, the LAX-DFW is targeted so they would have to show proof of address (which some people are doing via friends etc)
     
  25. THREEA4ME
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    THREEA4ME Silver Member

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    Excellent point -- of course, they could put in stipulations to this such as "We may or may not offer you the opportunity NOT to fly and might offer you said opportunity up to 12 hours before your flight" or verbiage to that effect. That would cut down on people who buy and then don't fly as you would not get the miles if you didn't fly. Clearly, though, it COULD be in their interest to offer us MR's the opportunity NOT to fly.

    Again, I'm proposing that AA be the one who OFFERS its customers (like it did to me recently to change my routing a day before my flight) and then sell my revenue seat once again. There are safeguards so that others can't game the system.
     

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