Another Devaluation — This Time It’s Airport Parking

We’ve seen devaluations in airline mileage programs, such as United and Delta.

We’ve seen devaluations in hotel loyalty programs, such as Hilton; Starwood; Wyndham; Marriott; Hyatt; and IHG Rewards.

And we’ve even seen devaluations of rental car and online travel agency programs.

But here’s a new one. Reader Steve J. passes along the devaluation of an airport parking program:

Park ‘N Fly had a “frequent parker” program that allowed members to accrue a free day of parking for every eight days your car spent on the lot. A member could then spend all days earned in one free stay or pay only for those above their available free days.

I myself had earned 7 days over the course of several years flying out of [Minneapolis]. That’s over 56 days at about $12 a day.

Recently, Park ‘N Fly sent out a notice informing its frequent parking members that they had “listened to your feedback” and the program was going to be “improved.” The improvement consisted of converting all its members’ points into 1 Free Day vouchers and mailing these out. Instead of being able to use them all for a single stay as before, now only one voucher can be used per stay. What is more fun, all received voucher coupons will expire at the end of 2014!

This is bad enough, but the worst way to communicate a change to customers is:

  • Without advance notice,
  • Telling them it’s an improvement
  • Either ‘to be competitive’ or ‘based on customer feedback’

It’s far, far better to be honest and respectful of your customers.


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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. As long as I can still hop a shuttle to In-n-Out on a layover at LAX, then airport parking companies can do as they like 🙂

  2. Well, apparently what they would like is to shed leisure travelers and focus on business travelers who don’t care what it costs because it will be expensed. For $12 a day most leisure travelers will make different arrangements to get to/from the airport. Will admit I can’t remember the last time I used Park N Fly. 2009 maybe? I didn’t even open that email from Park N Fly. Apparently I tossed out a coupon for one day’s free park. Oh well…the 50 cent a day discount for having AAA membership was another hilarious joke.

  3. This is nothing new. Parking Company of America did a zero-notice devaluation about 10 years ago, refusing to honor completed punch cards which stated that they were good for 10 consecutive days of free parking. I never parked there again.

    The smaller the program, the less seriously its management seems to treat the concept of loyalty.

  4. That is why I never use them. If on a business trip I park at the airport and company pay for that. If on a leisure trip I take a taxi since it is always cheaper and leave my car inside my home garage. 🙂

  5. This stinks. I used this program and it worked great. I would park there for business trips and then earn free days for my leisure travel. Luckily I recently used up all my free days on a trip to Europe AND I just got my free day voucher. If they would have turned my 5 free days I did have into 1 free day voucher that expired at the end of the year I would be furious. If I take a leisure trip I will use my voucher otherwise I will just park at the airport which is much more convenient, covered, and costs about the same. They just lost my business. Nice improvement of your loyalty program.

  6. Does anyone have the source for this information?
    I have no email from Park n Fly on this, and I had around 4 free days in my account. Their website simply says “Our Frequent Parker Program is currently being updated and improved. The new program will be launched in the next several weeks. More details will follow as they become available. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience!”
    and “We are in the final stages of rolling out our new Frequent Parker program. The current program has been put on hold effective immediately. Previous information and activity has been retained and will be reflected in the new program. Updated information will be communicated in the next several weeks”
    and the FAQ on the website still talks about the old program.

  7. I was saving up my days for a trip to Europe. I wasn’t going to have enough to cover the whole trip, but it would have taken a big chunk out.

    There is no way I’m giving them my money now. I’ll go to a competitor for the Europe trip, and I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll use the one day coupons. I might have to look at them more closely when I get home to see if I can give/sell them to someone else. I really want to make them honor the coupons or it’s another win for them.

    I’m seriously considering a letter to Park ‘N Fly and providing some “feedback.” …and I rarely write complain letters.

  8. Well, if this is true, I am done with Park N Fly. I have used their program for 20 years but they have seen the last of me. What a rip off.

  9. I was the guy who sent the original info to Gary. Just received a reply to my letter of concern to Park ‘N Fly. They claim that the vouchers were misprinted and that they intend to let people redeem multiple vouchers at once, not just once per visit as indicated on their vouchers. They still expire at end of 2014, of course, but at least this means people who have vouchers have some time to use them up – it’s like giving people some notice of the change, I suppose. Hopefully, this will actually be honored at check out at the PnF lot!

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