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Should FF Programs Change?  
User currently offlineWdleiser From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 962 posts, RR: 3
Posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2070 times:

Last weekend I was forced by my mom to go to Oklahoma City for a family reunion.

Anyways, most of my recent travel has been to Germany and to the Northeast. There were alot of business men on the flights between OKC and IAH. Heres the thing, they may do that flight 3-4 times a week but it is only an hour and a half flight. A business man who flies once or twice a month to Europe will get many more miles than that man flying 3-4 times a week on a short flight. Flying 3-4 times a week in my mind shows more loyalty than flying once a month on a really long flight.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that airlines should also include number of trips to the equation in regards to elite status? I think Southwest does something like this.... every 10 trips get one free. Or do you think airlines should just stay with the old mileage method for frequent flier points?

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCPH757 From Denmark, joined Sep 2005, 684 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2030 times:

That is actually a part of the elite qualification in most FF programs. Check out various programs like AF, BA, UA, AA etc.


Last flight: SAW-CPH on H9 on 02/11/09 - Next Flights: 23/12/09 CPH-AAL on QI, 30/12/09 CPH-LHR on SK, 19/01/10 CPH-CDG-
User currently offlineANother From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2021 times:

Actually I'd like to see a paradigm shift. Rather than give free flights, which are difficult to find etc. I'd like to see a program where they give us the 'equivalent' of money to be used in purchasing their products and services.

So rather than give me 2000 miles for a Geneva - London - Geneva return flight (minimum of 25K needed for a free trip on the same city pair) they would give me 'BA Bucks' worth the equivalent of CHF50 (or 20 or whatever).

I could use the BA Bucks just like real money to buy a ticket - where I want, when I want, how I want. I could use only BA Bucks, if I had enough, or top up the price with real money.

Upgrades could be offered for fixed amounts short/long/ultralong haul, again either BA Bucks, cash or a combination of both.

I think a program like this would instill a greater level of loyalty - because travellers could start using their BABs from day one.


User currently offlineWdleiser From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 962 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 1920 times:

Quoting ANother (Reply 2):

Thats a really good idea in my mind. I just think airlines unfairly reward travelers flying long distances vs. passengers flying many short hops.


User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8913 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 1898 times:

For the short-haul flyers, they might not get as many miles, but they do get segments, which counts towards requalification (for US-airlines) for every major except Delta (Delta is the only one where the only way to status is to fly the miles). However, domestic upgrades are a lot easier to get than internationals on nearly every carrier; DL, NW, US and CO all restrict the fares you can upgrade on (often full fare coach tickets only), AA has a co-pay program to upgrade but I think nearly every fare is upgradeable (plus there are the e-VIPs for Executive Platinums), UA can upgrade some mid-tier fares with miles (no co-pay) and also has 6 SWUs for 1K members.

Personally, with Delta's program, I'm fine with it, even as a primarily short-haul flyer. Last year I took 35 revenue flights (34 on SkyTeam; one quick STL-DFW hop on AA); I earned around 27,000 Medallion Qualification Miles. If I had to do it by segments, I would be 5 over, since the threshold is 30 is every other program. The difference is one trip for me (there are a lot of times where I'll have to do a double-connect one way or hit two cities on a trip). Not a huge difference for me as a short-haul flyer versus a long-haul flyer. I also look at it this way - there are plenty of new Silvers on the JFK-BOM run (simply because, you buy a business class or full coach ticket, you get 23,398 MQMs on the round trip. Add in another short trip somewhere else, and voila, they're Medallion. But, since they're travelling so infrequently, it's no real harm to me; these are people that I would very rarely compete for an upgrade with, so I'm comfortable with that. I, in general, know which routes to expect to sit in coach in (cough, LAS, cough) and others that I've got a good chance on (can't exactly pin it to a certain city, but time/day of week/destination is a big contributor to this).


User currently offlineMoMan From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1054 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 1898 times:

Quoting Wdleiser (Reply 3):
Thats a really good idea in my mind. I just think airlines unfairly reward travelers flying long distances vs. passengers flying many short hops.

Which is the reason that AA (I don't know about the others) has qualification through miles, points, and segments. That way it catches each segment of travelers and rewards them fairly.

I do like the idea of cash off tickets instead of award seats.



AA Platinum Member - American Airlines Forever
User currently offlineBoston92 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3390 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 1879 times:

Quoting MoMan (Reply 5):
Which is the reason that AA (I don't know about the others) has qualification through miles, points, and segments. That way it catches each segment of travelers and rewards them fairly.

AA and UA both have two different other ways with this. UA has Choices (Visa Card) which you get Choices and only use the ones you need on ANY flight. A $220 flight would require 22,000 choices, a $500 flight will require 50,000 choices etc...

At AA, they do the co-pay thing... If you want to fly from two rural areas that will cost the big bucks, you can use 10,000 miles along with a $295.00 co-pay.

Both of the above are very good ideas...



"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
User currently offlineAnalog From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 1900 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1820 times:

Quoting ANother (Reply 2):

So rather than give me 2000 miles for a Geneva - London - Geneva return flight (minimum of 25K needed for a free trip on the same city pair) they would give me 'BA Bucks' worth the equivalent of CHF50 (or 20 or whatever).

CO gives you $5 in your gift account (usable as cash for tickets) for every ticket you buy on their website. You just have to sign up. The travel club/gift acct system is a bit finicky, though.

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 6):

AA and UA both have two different other ways with this. UA has Choices (Visa Card) which you get Choices and only use the ones you need on ANY flight. A $220 flight would require 22,000 choices, a $500 flight will require 50,000 choices etc...

So basically it's a 1% cash back card that limits what you can spend your cash back on. Bad deal (assuming $1 spent = 1 'choice'). Just like the Capital One's crummy cards (actually they earn 1.25 -2 'miles' per dollar).


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 8, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1811 times:

Quoting ANother (Reply 2):
So rather than give me 2000 miles for a Geneva - London - Geneva return flight (minimum of 25K needed for a free trip on the same city pair) they would give me 'BA Bucks' worth the equivalent of CHF50 (or 20 or whatever).

TWA did this in the early years of their Frequent Flyer program. I believe the award levels were 25%, 50% and 75% off any ticket. The nice thing was that since it was a paid ticket, you'd get full mileage credit for your trip.

Returning to this type of system would be a benefit to both travelers and the airlines, since the airline could open more seats for award travel in a "partially paid with miles" class, and it would give the traveler an option of how much of their ticket they wanted to pay with miles, rather than piecing together open inventory for "free" travel.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineLaxintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26147 posts, RR: 50
Reply 9, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1785 times:

Personally, I've strongly felt FF programs, should be much more biased towards revenue generation and not mileage generation. I am glad several programs do have means to reward high revenue flyers then simply those that choose to take long trips on the rock bottom fares. As miles continue to be devalued by the masses, I hope airlines look further to change the paradigm by placing greater value on the actual dollars flyers bring in.

Quoting Analog (Reply 7):
So basically it's a 1% cash back card that limits what you can spend your cash back on. Bad deal (assuming $1 spent = 1 'choice'). Just like the Capital One's crummy cards (actually they earn 1.25 -2 'miles' per dollar).

Not a crummy deal at all, as they are basically giving you these Choices points above and beyond the other MP program perks and miles. The Choices points are free to use on any United flight you wish, and you receive a credit on your credit card statement equivalent to the cost of the tickets you choose to purchase using these Choice points with.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineHawaiian717 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3208 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1748 times:

Quoting ANother (Reply 2):
So rather than give me 2000 miles for a Geneva - London - Geneva return flight (minimum of 25K needed for a free trip on the same city pair) they would give me 'BA Bucks' worth the equivalent of CHF50 (or 20 or whatever).

The American Express Blue Sky card works this way. You earn 1 point per dollar spent, and redeem 7500 points for $100 off a travel purchase. You find whatever price you want for airfare, hotel, rental car, cruise, or package, and pay for it with the card, then go online or call when you receive the bill to redeem the points and the credit gets applied to your statement.


User currently offlineAnalog From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 1900 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1738 times:

Quoting Laxintl (Reply 9):

Not a crummy deal at all, as they are basically giving you these Choices points above and beyond the other MP program perks and miles. The Choices points are free to use on any United flight you wish, and you receive a credit on your credit card statement equivalent to the cost of the tickets you choose to purchase using these Choice points with.

Yeah, but if you use a card like Amex Blue Cash or another cash back card, you get actual cash that's more valuable than the Choice points. Plus cash is cash, and does not have limitations like the Choice points. If you use a cash back card to buy your flight you still get the normal FF program benefits too. I fail to see how these Choice points are in any possible way better than a cash back card.

Quoting DeltAirlines (Reply 4):
CO all restrict the fares you can upgrade on (often full fare coach tickets only),

With CO you can do international "BusinessFirst" upgrades on basically any fare. The cheaper classes have copays, up to $450+tax for S, T, etc. class. Free domestic upgrades are from all (or basically all) fare classes, but the upgrade order is by status and then fare class. This is for elites, dunno if it's true for non-elites.


User currently offlineSwiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1735 times:

I'd like to see miles and tier points earned on reward flights too, as it's another way of showing you are loyal to an airline.

User currently offlineAnalog From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 1900 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1724 times:

Quoting Swiftski (Reply 12):
I'd like to see miles and tier points earned on reward flights too, as it's another way of showing you are loyal to an airline.

 rotfl  That would be awesome! But it's not gonna happen. You could easily get back over 30% of the miles spent on a trip (say 60k miles for JFK-NRT, earn 13500 + 50% elite bonus -> about 20k miles. Net cost 40k miles.)


User currently offlineLaxintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26147 posts, RR: 50
Reply 14, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1719 times:

Quoting Analog (Reply 11):
I fail to see how these Choice points are in any possible way better than a cash back card.

The assumption is that you would have a MP credit card anyhow to take advantage of the airline mileage related benefits such as double mileage for UA or Star Alliance purchase, special double miles offers on purchase of gas, groceries, and added qualifying points towards elite levels in the MP program.

The relatively newly added Choice points, are simply free cash equivalent credit being earned towards another United flight. Its assumed a MP member would obviously be making future purchases on UA, which they can use these points in lieu of cash. Good deal in my book, as one is earning these Choice points concurrently with the other mileage related benefits.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineSwiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1705 times:

Quoting Analog (Reply 13):
That would be awesome! But it's not gonna happen.

Sad but true  Sad


User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6371 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1684 times:

Quoting Wdleiser (Thread starter):
Last weekend I was forced by my mom to go to Oklahoma City

My prayers are with you

Quoting Wdleiser (Thread starter):
I think Southwest does something like this.... every 10 trips get one free

Yeah, 16 one way trips gets you a free one...great for me since I do a lot of MCI-MDW-MCI roundtrips...those 8 roundtrips would only get me 8,000 reward miles, which is far far FAR from any free tickets with the likes of UA, AA, etc. and I can use it to get from New York to LA if I need to.


User currently offlineJEdward From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 133 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1681 times:

Be careful what you wish for in having FF points translate directly into dollars of a flight as doing so could trigger tax implications.

Back in the 90’s the IRS seriously looked into taxing FF points but eventually dismissed the idea as they were unable to distinguish the exact benefit of the reward and found it too complex to differentiate between miles earned on personal use (read mileage earned on tickets you paid for) vis-à-vis mileage earned from business travel (miles earned on tickets that someone else paid for).

Like everything in life, with the good comes the bad; and one of the good things that has come with a complicated FF system for Americans is relative freedom from tax.

If you want advice on how to redeem FF points, visit Flyertalk.



As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich. --S.C.
User currently offlineJEdward From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 133 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1675 times:

Quoting Analog (Reply 11):
With CO you can do international "BusinessFirst" upgrades on basically any fare. The cheaper classes have copays, up to $450+tax for S, T, etc. class. Free domestic upgrades are from all (or basically all) fare classes, but the upgrade order is by status and then fare class. This is for elites, dunno if it's true for non-elites.

Yeep. For BF markets any coach fare can be upgraded by any OnePass member (assuming the sufficient amount of miles and award space). Currently most fares require a copay of up to $450 oneway + miles (Y and most H fares are exempt from this).

For mileage upgrades in the domestic US market non-elites can only upgrade (again assuming space and miles) from a B fare or higher and elites can upgrade from any published coach fare; no copay is required.



As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich. --S.C.
User currently offlineStarGoldLHR From Heard and McDonald Islands, joined Feb 2004, 1529 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1623 times:

Quoting Wdleiser (Reply 3):
Thats a really good idea in my mind. I just think airlines unfairly reward travelers flying long distances vs. passengers flying many short hops.

Long Haul flights are a bigger financial risk and a bigger reward for airlines over a puddle jump.

A 747 can pull in $200,000 in revenue in 3500 miles from LHR-NYC.
It costs about $100,000 to operate it.

A 737 on a 350 mile jump from LHR-ABZ or SFO-LAX will pull in $15,000 if lucky, and cost about $12000 to operate.
Many on that jump will have connected from the Long Haul also.

Thats why S/H flights are always the first to be axed in bad weather... they earn nothing and are easy to place people on other flights.

At the end of the day,

Lose an economy FF S/h Traveller, who flies economy 20x a year.. you lose about $1-2k in profit.
Lose a FF L/H traveller who flies 5x a year, you lose about $5k in pure profit + a portion of the $2k in s/h profit.

who you gonna look after first ?

Quoting Laxintl (Reply 9):
Personally, I've strongly felt FF programs, should be much more biased towards revenue generation and not mileage generation. I am glad several programs do have means to reward high revenue flyers then simply those that choose to take long trips on the rock bottom fares.

In the UK there are independant programs like this, Airmiles (not affiliated to an airline) is the best example of this.. you spend you get about 1 mile per £10 spent.
You redeem actual mileage for the actual flight. (LHR-JFK 3500m requires 3500 airmiles).

Only thing is it's not very popular with the public and most people dont bother with it at all (you see the mile coupons for sale on ebay all the time).



So far in 2008 45 flights and Gold already. JFK, IAD, LGA, SIN, HKG, NRT, AKL, PPT, LAX still to book ! Home Airport LCY
User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3247 posts, RR: 22
Reply 20, posted (7 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1597 times:

Quoting DeltAirlines (Reply 4):
AA has a co-pay program to upgrade

Depends on the fare you're on and the route. For some routes you only need miles (domestic, caribbean). For some others (say US - Europe) you need 25,000 miles + $250 to upgrade from a cheap fare, but only 10,000 miles to upgrade from a full economy fare.

Quoting Analog (Reply 11):
Yeah, but if you use a card like Amex Blue Cash or another cash back card, you get actual cash that's more valuable than the Choice points

I have an Amex Gold Rewards Plus and I get points (a point for per dollar basically). The nice thing about it is that I can transfer the points to many programs, including Aeroplan and Hilton. Additionally, if I want to use those points to get, say, a business class or first class ticket, the points are much more valuable than getting cash back.

Tony



Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
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