Beating Southwest’s Points Expiration Policy, Smisek Thinks Delta Can’t Touch United, and Ultimate Starbucks Tip List

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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. Seems like Delta has two very good gateway options in LAX and SEA. Am I missing something? Or is Smisek really just that jealous of DL’s operations and profits?

  2. Re: DL not being able to compete with UA to Asia.

    Is he for real? I have flown NW and later DL to China and Japan from DTW, MSP, and SEA in BE and coach for the past 9 years. All great service, and those DL hubs go to Beijing, Shanghai, and Narita (Tokyo). NW had some seriously good service to Asia, and DL has built on that.

  3. LMAO!

    Didn’t Delta specifically buy Northwest BECAUSE of their Detroit and Minneapolis hubs offered quick routes over the North Pole to Asia?

    Smisek has lost his mind. I live in Houston, and I (and many of my work colleagues and personal friends) avoid United whenever we can, even if it means connecting.

  4. Is Smisek so incapable of running an airline that he doesn’t even know where his competitors’ Asian gateways are?

  5. Ya gotta love Smisek’s thinking: SFO is the best. Why? Because that’s where UA is. Yeah, sure Jeff. That’ll sell a lot of tickets.

    I have Japanese friends. The NW fliers who are leaving are not going for UACO. They are leaving for ANA. Does Jeff think his UA product can compare to Asian carriers? Does he think his SFO hub makes up for UA fliers needing to trek out to Narita instead of using much closer Haneda?

    Time for a reality check. UA is gonna get spanked by the foreign carriers.

  6. And I mean if we really want to be technical, isn’t Guam United’s best Asian gateway?

  7. Has he even flown out of SFO and SEA? If I was connecting through, (taking away the fact that I live in Seattle)) I’d still rather fly out of SEA due to better designed airport (it is designed so that you can connect to any terminal without reentering security) and super quick passport control. Add the new international additions to SEA and the fact that it is quicker to Asia due to Seattle being closer to north pole and it is easily the superior hub to Asia.

  8. As a 3 per day latte customer with a sometimes spouse with green tea lemonade if you stand in front of me at the Starbucks line and try to break up your order to get a free drink in 7 1/2 visits versus 15 expect no GUARANTEE me to MOCK you for being a low rent dirtbag…………..there is a limit to the idea of free and when you are doing it in the privacy of your computer room that is all fine and good but when you start to inconvenience others because you are cheap and no no class then you should expect the wrath of your fellow human beings with JUST cause……….wake up and smell the coffee!

  9. There’s no doubt that Haneda is more convenient than Narita so I think Smisek is just spouting off randomly and making himself look silly…

    @JustSaying I don’t know how you could tell someone breaking up an order because they’re also picking up for a co-worker from somebody breaking up an order to game Starbucks. Personally I got no time for any of this since I only drink certified bird friendly coffee. But I think 99% of the time you’d be mocking some poor assistant who has to provide individual receipts to her **** co-workers or else get shortchanged…Mocking other people is just as “no class” as trying to save a few bucks and probably more so IMHO. Plus stating you guys buy “green tea lemonade” is pretty much opening you up to some mockery in and of itself. That’s fairly tragic itself. Best just to keep one’s thoughts about one’s fellow coffee shop addicts to oneself…

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