Airline Tests ‘Make a Green Choice’ Earn Miles for Skipping a Meal

Hotels want you to re-use towels, not have your sheets changed, and even decline housekeeping entirely. They tell you it’s for the environment, but it’s really about reducing labor costs.

Don’t believe it’s about the environment when the hotel chain encourages you to fly out to visit their hotels, eat beef in their restaurant, extend your stay by flying your family out too, but says what’s really harming the environment is having your room tidied. I’ve always found it odd that a hotel chain promotes the idea that their housekeepers are bad for the environment.

When they’ll share the savings with you by giving you points that can be a good deal. Starwood used to give 3 times as much as Marriott does today, however.

For the very first time we’re seeing an airline taking a page from hotel ‘Make a Green Choice’ programs, letting you save them money on inflight meals and giving you miles in the process — and pretending it’s all about the environment. Oddly the real environmental threat that China sees today apparently comes from eating and not smokestacks.

Milelion reports on a new test at China Southern airlines, which is part-owned by both American Airlines and Qatar Airways.

They’re offering customers who opt to skip their inflight meal 200 miles. This is handled via text,

Dear passengers: China Southern advocates green travel, dine on demand and reduce waste. If you do not need on-board dining, reply to the number “1” to cancel your February 23 Guangzhou-Shanghai Hongqiao CZ3531 flight meal, you can get an additional 200 miles award (the flight plan is valid 2 hours before departure).

This is 200 frequent flyer miles for giving up an economy meal on a domestic flight with a distance of less than 800 miles.

I happen to think that airlines should sell premium food even in first class, but current meals on US domestic flights I’d gladly give up for miles.

I’d say that perhaps we’d see this idea in the U.S. someday but U.S. airlines simply cut inflight meals in coach and didn’t give you anything in return.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Hilarious. Only a delusional leftist would make such an empty gesture, and feel smug about it. The real green choice would be to not fly, but of course we know only the peons are expected to make sacrifices for mother earth, not the liberal elites…like Gore and Dicaprio that jet around the world on private planes to lecture people to cut their CO2 emissions.

  2. What use would 200 points on any airline be, when it takes (many) thousands to get any award flight? I’d rather amuse myself with the mystery meal option than get 200 points which likely will be orphaned anyway.

  3. Not enough incentive even $200RMB . What a jokes as people in China always prefer realistic cash.

  4. There’s much to consider here; if I sign up for their credit card and get those 500 bonus miles, coupled with the 200 miles for skipping the meal, I only have to earn at least another 11,800 miles to get a one way ticket.

  5. Pathetic! Apparently, our airlines and Amtrak have failed to learn economics; importantly, revenue management, i.e., profitability.

    Instead of providing free meals in domestic and rail first class, which are barely a step above GITMO, our transport providers should be selling vastly improved meals–to all classes, ideally before the trip.

    We know they do this successfully with certain European airlines. What prevents our U.S. air and rail firms from benchmarking with those foreign carriers that know how to make it happen?

  6. we all have things and reasons and business and whatevers that require travel.

    is it really “required” to have sheets washed EVERY day at a hotel? i would argue no. and i would argue that declining such services would, however minimally, nonetheless make a difference.

  7. On transatlantic flights from the US to Europe my go-to strategy is to eat ahead of time, put eye mask/earplugs/headphones on when I board, and go to sleep immediately after takeoff. I wouldn’t mind getting a little something for skipping the meal. In fact, it might help me convince others to do the same – so many times people don’t want to give up the “free meal” and arrive dead tired after their too-short sleep on the relatively short flight.

  8. The green choice is not flying. However if you aren’t planning to eat the meal it is less wasteful that they know in advance. It may not be saving the environment but in the end food waste is an issue we should work on. When you look at all the trash in the galley after the meal you realize the amount of packaging and junk that goes into creating that “delicious” meal. Moreover I have no issue contributing to the profitability of a company if they want to kick a little back or even if it just costs me nothing to do so. Why waste something for no reason other than it’s my “right” to be served something I don’t want?

  9. Honestly, food should just be eliminated from all flights.(even the ultra long distance) It would reduce packaging, reduce water usage from washing dishes and cutlery. People should be encouraged to bring their own food on board-most airline food is not healthy anyway.

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