Posts: 683
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2003 3:32 am

Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Thu Apr 17, 2003 5:53 am

There is another thread that discusses Air Canada changes to their FF plan.

On a related tangent, I find FF plans aren't worth it anymore, except if you are really 'elite' within the plan. I have tried to use my Delta FF miles several times in the past year.

No luck. Only options are often the "Double FF Mile Option" (total rip in that they require 50,000 miles instead of 25,000).

Sometimes I feel like you can only redeem an award between "9-11pm on the 4th tuesday of every month, excluding blackout dates (plus an equally restricted return trip)".

What's the point? I m no longer very loyal to DL anymore because of this- it defeats the whole point of the plan's existence. More and more people are realizing this too.

Let's say the majority of your miles come from a Credit Card that cost $50 per year "fee". Maybe it takes you 3-4 years to get enough miles for a ticket.

So essentially you payed $200 for a "free" ticket over those 4 years. Then the ailine smacks on fee, surcharges, taxes, etc ($40?).

So you just paid close to $250 dollars for the ticket and had to shop long and had just to find highly inconvenient flights to redeem your "free" ticket.

The equivalent rock bottom fare during a sale would have cost the same ammount or less. Hence the gradual irelevance of the major carriers FF programs for the vast majority of people. This reduces loyaly and hastens the demise of the traditional carrier.

I used to be fiercly loyal to AA and DL, but now am realizing that these FF plans are just a small shell of what they used to be and are mostly a gimmick. They have little real value anymore.

AGREE? DISAGREE? I want to hear!
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Thu Apr 17, 2003 6:06 am

Fly Southwest. Double credit for internet booking so that 4 round trips gets you a free trip with no blackout dates.
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Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2003 3:32 am

RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Thu Apr 17, 2003 6:14 am

I have heard that about SW. My circumstance unfortunately does not allow me to use SW frequently since I live in NYC.

Come-on Herb! open up a mini-hub at JFK!

I have also heard JetBlue's FF deal is OK. This post mostly refers to the traditional carrier's mile-based programs.
Posts: 1943
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2001 4:57 pm

RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Thu Apr 17, 2003 6:35 am

You can actually earn a free ticket on Delta faster by flying AirTran, than flying Delta.....and AirTran serves both LGA and EWR.

A+ Rewards, which automated today.

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RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Thu Apr 17, 2003 7:23 am

If you fly often enough to make the minimum status level, thus getting the 25-50% mileage bonuses, then cool. If not, the airlines really don't care about you. Most casual flyers (those who fly less then 25K miles per year) are only loyal to price and convenience anyways.
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2001 12:35 pm

RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Thu Apr 17, 2003 7:46 am

Acutally, I think Southwest does have blackout dates.

Look at footnote #14.

The good thing I like about Southwest is that they don't limit the number of free travelers on each flight.

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Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2002 11:26 am

RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Thu Apr 17, 2003 7:54 am

It seems near impossible to get elite status on Delta these days. If you aren't in F or full fare Y you get .5 counted towards the 25,000 it just takes to make silver. I also recall that they don't honor segment qualifications. If AirTran had more flights in my market I would fly them more. It is like WN but you get an assigned seat and you can opt for upgrades over a free Y ticket in their FF program. AirTran has taken the WN model and molded into a carrier for both business and leisure travelers!
EWR-SIN 18.5hrs bring it on!
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RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Thu Apr 17, 2003 8:44 am

You're right Dan. I am a Silver Medallion flyer and I won't qualify for Medallion status next year, in all likelyhood. I qualified with 33 segments, but now I need 25,000 qualification miles. I only get half the value of them because I mainly fly on L, U, & T fares. I can't help that's what the company buys.
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RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Thu Apr 17, 2003 10:32 am

Here's what FF status (UA 1K) does that keeps me loyal:

1) I rarely have to wait in a line that is more that 5 minutes long.
2) I rarely have to be on hold on the phone
3) I get free lounge access when flying internationally on a *A carrier, no matter what fare my ticket is.
4) Upgrade opportunities
5) Preffered seating (econ plus)

Mind you, I rarely use miles for free tickets, so the restrictions almost never come up.
18 year vet! 2000-2017
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2001 1:47 am

RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Thu Apr 17, 2003 2:23 pm

Petazulu you are so correct. A+ AirTran and Southwest WN have the best programs out there. I am not too familiar with B6 JetBlue's FF loyalty program.

Only if you achieve "tier" level of some dug out of the earth mineral quality level, with in the alliance carriers, are you worthy of being a passenger on AA, UA, DL, NW, CO, US. "Your only ruby sir."

The upgrade opportunities (to the "employee lounge" or business and first class) are going next, as upgrades are now for just non rev stand by, then and only then maybe the highest level of mineral on most major carriers get seats that are left open. Fortunately today, most major airline gate agents overly accommodating, do their job cheerfully, responsibly and by the book. (I enjoy non rev travel in the premium cabin, and don't bash it, but often thought that paying passengers really should experience the pointy end of the aircraft first. Non rev, is a priveledge not a right.)

Many of the airport lounges are going the way of the Boeing 727, as the majors real in costs. You may get to go through the special TSA (discreet snob screening) line. But no one is traveling, it is so much easier to move through the airport now that passenger loads are off.

The airlines use all that data that they collect from us in their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) databases and often sell it to other companies (check your privacy statement with each loyalty program.)

Another reason A+ FL and WN have benefit.

Most carriers have/or are raising their award thresholds, and reorganizing their point/mile earning bases. It makes sense, as John Q Public will spend another $400 dollars, just to say at their next cocktail party they flew "free."

The loss of customers due to these changes will be minimal. (A lot of research dollars have been spent to assure, people will not switch, they will get over it, the bait and switch that is.) The business man still wants a large hub and spoke carrier that offers him 400+ destinations, an occasional upgrade, special line, and an uncrowded waiting lounge with a bar. It is the snob appeal. Where else in today's world can you feel so special (other then a hotel) for brand loyalty?

The fares are low on all carriers, fly who you want, when you want, at the time you want, as now, there is not a loyalty incentive.

2cents, Bf
Posts: 1943
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2001 4:57 pm

RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Fri Apr 18, 2003 12:23 am

I agree Boeing Fan...well said.

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RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Fri Apr 18, 2003 2:29 am

I have not experienced the blackout dates when redeeming miles.

As for Delta's FF program...I will still fly them...however, I will just get my miles on Continental. It is a lot easier for me to get 30 segments a year than 25000 miles. At the rate I'm going this year, I will get at least Silver Medallion, but retaining Gold might be a challenge.

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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 7:45 am

RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Fri Apr 18, 2003 3:38 pm

I agree mostly with Zrs70. In addition I also love that 100% mileage bonus as AA Plat and 25% as LH Senator.

I have never had any problems with reward tix, 5x LH euro tickets (<2 weeks notice), 1 longhaul F on LH/SQ, 1 longhaul Y NH/TG with AC miles and 2 longhaul C on Oneworld with AA miles. Always got to choose the exact flights that I wanted.

KLM on the other hand was different - a simple HEL-AMS-LHR return was impossible 3 months in advance so I had to route the return via GOT and buy a SK youth tix home. Dumped KL FD after that.
Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
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RE: Do FF Plans Have Any Real Value Anymore?

Fri Apr 18, 2003 6:39 pm

Things are changing these days. I am currently qualified for three free intra-European flights on British Airways', Lufthansa's and Swiss' FFP but there is simply no point using them for me at the moment - two German low cost carriers have established a hub at my home-airport and they now offer non-stop flights to 30+ top European destinations for rock-bottom fares. If I would use my free tickets on BA, LH, LX I would need to make a connection at one of their hubs (ZRH, LHR or FRA/MUC), losing precious time on a long week-end. On top of that come inconvenient travel dates thanks to black-out times etc and rip-off so-called taxes - the last time I took Swiss on a free ticket, the taxes, security fees, surcharges etc. amounted to something close to 70 €, while my local LCCs offer nonstop flights return flights incl. taxes etc. for as little as 38, 58 or 78 €. As for flee flights, the only point in still collecting miles on business and long-haul flights is the occasional leisure trip to selected destinations for example in Eastern Europe where no LCCs fly to and the traditional carriers' fares are extremely high.

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