El Al Blocking Partner Awards – and Delta Dynamically Pricing Them

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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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  1. Re: Amtrak Long Distance Trains

    Man…. I read the linked opinion piece (which is what it is). For something claiming accounting shenanigans, the piece provides not one piece of accounting to support the position. The author should be embarrassed. His piece is relying on emotion, not fact to make his points.

  2. I had no problem getting LAX-TLV and back with QF points on LY. The SFO-TLV, however, shows absolutely no availability on QF. Checking availability on the LY site is almost impossible unless you are willing to grow old in the process, but Expert Flyer seems to do a pretty good job of finding LY availability.

  3. As a published pundit on railroad affairs, the two articles here re Amtrak evidence a future Harvard B-School Case Study to explain what happens when a federal monopoly abuses its position in the marketplace with no congressional accountability, including:

    Relying upon senior/executive management devoid of real railroading expertise; focused on buy-outs and layoffs of the remaining managers with any pertinent experience to be replaced by airline flyboys is not considered “running the business.” Note the extraordinary high turnover of management; losing the important cohesive ingredient of continuity.

    A rank politicized Board of Directors incapable of providing stewardship and oversight of management as its Board members are political hacks lacking the requisite expertise in the areas of railroading; food/beverage; marketing/branding/positioning; HR/Labor Relations; Customer Experience; Product Development. With an acute focus on simply maximizing real estate deals in NYC, this Board has evidenced no fidelity to the national network of passenger rail.

    The dissolution of dining car services on Midwest/East long distance trains to NYC serves the corporate playbook to eliminate those trains by removing any service to court sleeping car passengers; thus, deprived of their higher revenue, enables Amtrak to create the faux case to convince Congress to allow the long distance trains to be derailed. Note-Amtrak failed to establish any system for product and cash control, e.g., Point-of-Service, barcoding, etc. For far too long Amtrak has buried diner operational costs into the sleeping car accounting ledger to prevent an accurate accounting of true costs. Although Amtrak claims its new “Flexible Dining Program” will allegedly save $2M in its first year, it also relegates coach passengers to an overpriced, unhealthy cafe car for snacks; re-inventing the “Sundown Laws.”

    Rather than confess to Congress its lack of capacity to own and operate the Northeast Corridor (BOS-NYC-WAS), Amtrak’s reaction was to push through Congress in 2008 a skullduggery approach to distort its excessive losses accumulated from the Northeast Corridor, the Passenger Rail Investment & Infrastructure Act (PRIIA). Violating GAAP, PRIIA enabled Amtrak to shift costs only applicable to the Corridor to all other sectors (state-supported and long distance trains), e.g., the high costs of maintenance and repair of infrastructure. Amtrak also applied its own, unaudited full cost methodology against the state-supported trains; utilizing the overcharges to subsidize its Northeast Corridor. This all happened concomitantly to Amtrak’s Board, including its finance committee, never bothered to ensure Amtrak was collecting payments for operations and infrastructure maintenance from the multiple commuter rail lines serving the Northeast. Talk about a racket!

    PRIIA has allowed Amtrak to manipulate its costs inflicting grievous financial issues on states whose treasurers remain unaware that Amtrak does not charge the states along the Northeast Corridor for their trains running twice per hour in each direction. Given the accounting “shell games” Amtrak has perfected, the only choice is to start over with oversight directed by the Federal Railroad Administration.

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