Inside Flyer Ceases Publishing After 29 Years: Randy Petersen Retires

Inside Flyer magazine’s blog offers the story of Randy Petersen’s retirement from magazine publishing.

The magazine launched a number of other activities that continue and thrive today.

During our time, InsideFlyer accomplished something that no other publication of its kind has–we left a legacy. Among the things InsideFlyer created, funded and willed to be relevant to the frequent flyer included the Freddie Awards, FlyerTalk and BoardingArea, along with its grandchild

On their consumer advocate legacy,

InsideFlyer beat back the introduction of a Saturday night stayover requirement on flight awards from United Mileage Plus in 2000, we led the rollback of the US Airways Dividend Miles elite change to drop status bonus miles, we provided the major funding and support for SaveSkyMiles which beat back an effort by Delta to offer fewer miles flown on discount fares in 2002 along with other related changes to that program and InsideFlyer championed the fight to have United honor the Continental OnePass Infinite Elite program at a higher elite level during the merger of those two airlines’ loyalty programs. We exposed and championed the infamous “LatinPass Run” that created a legend out of that offer and made mileage millionaires out of many. We made flying the Concorde available for thousands of readers when all they had to do was buy 21 subscriptions to the magazine in 2002 and we made a household name out of “The Pudding Guy”.

The ‘Concorde’ deal was that Inside Flyer ran a signup promotion offering Starwood Starpoints, and chose not to limit it to first-time subscribers or even ‘one per customer’. Starpoints back then transferred one to two into Qantas (and thus with double the transfer bonus) so 40,000 Starpoints was sufficient for 100,000 Qantas miles.

  • Inside Flyer cost $59.95 per year.
  • The magazine offered 2500 Starpoints per subscription
  • 21 subscriptions yield 52,500 Starpoints, which transferred to 125,000 Qantas points.
  • That was enough for a roundtrip ticket on the British Airways Concorde, New York – London, back then (though some folks chose to travel one direction in first class instead).

The Qantas award chart was so much better then… And many lounges and libraries received donated subscriptions to a frequent flyer magazine. I’m sure some were even donated to charitable entities for a tax deduction which reduced the cost basis of the Concorde award below the $1259 cost of the points.

Inside Flyer, in birthing Flyertalk, also paved the way for my own path into miles and points. And gave me the opportunity to meet some of my closest friends.

I wouldn’t have started this blog, or my award booking service, without being pulled into the miles and points world through the solar system that Randy created out of and around the magazine. I’ve even helped to defend someone from federal criminal charges related to miles and points, and as a result they stayed out of prison. In a very real way, then, the magazine actually saved a life of someone who doesn’t even know it.

To Randy Petersen’s news I can only offer congratulations.

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. Wishing Randy all the best in his new venture into retirement. He is a kind and gentle soul. It is my honor to know him.

  2. Best wishes for a happy retirement, Randy. My travel life would not have been as rich or memorable without your influence.

  3. Easily been a reader for 25 years, not always a direct subscriber. In the early days of mileage plan hacking, this was THE resource till FT started in 1998/9

    I understand ending the run of the physical mag. they probably just can’t get the ad revs or subs to make it work.. and with FT and milepoint now (and this blog of course) what else does one need?

  4. Still kicking myself 10+ years later for not taking *bigger* advantage of the 2500 Starpoint per subscription deal.

  5. I don’t know where to post this, so Gary, perhaps you can move it to the appropriate thread.

    I stayed a the Marriott Courtyard, South Park, Charlotte, NC over the week end and used the Chase Free Night certificate. Since the AAA rate was $75 +tax of $15 it wasn’t a great use of the free night, but since it expires before I could use it elsewhere it was better than nothing.

    Due to the bizarre way the hotel did the accounting, the reimbursement from Chase was shown as both a credit and debit to my folio. They were paid $13 for the night by Chase.

  6. Appreciate the heads up and walk down memory lane
    I can’t imagine Randy retiring 🙁
    Its a sad day indeed.
    I will forever be grateful to his magazine,Flyertalk and the time he took to share with me his exceptional knowledge over the years.Do I dare leave out the Freddie Awards.Wow what great years I shared with all those at The House of Miles and the events.He welcomed us all!

    The Frequent Flyer is about to lose one of the best consumer advocates and voices ever of the traveling public in any forum or platform.Inside Flyer was my gateway to everything miles and travel
    Flyertalk was the later bridge which opened my door to the travel community at large and education in of itself.
    He gave birth and inspired I believe quite a number of bloggers and program followers.
    His legacy lives on and thankfully a piece of Inside Flyer lives on in you Gary.
    Thanks for your blog its a brilliant and inspiring source.

    Hopefully we will be seeing and hearing more from Randy even in the post retirement
    Let the legend live on and Thanks Randy P for all those years! Well done my friend.Indeed RP take a bow!

  7. Thanks for sharing the news and a reminder of the great things that have transpired under Randy’s watch.

    What a great career and congrats to Randy… well earned.

  8. Where are we all flying to for the Retirement Party? Randy is a great friend and mentor in this crazy hobby.

  9. What Don Horn said.

    I was reading IF way before Flyertalk began. Maybe early ’90’s. Randy encouraged his readers to call the office to see if they had any upgrade certs laying around.

    When the magazine arrived, I’d sit down and read every word. Those were the days. I (we) were a wet sponge. That was then. This is now. Oh sure all of this information is available on FT and MP + the travel blogs. These days, there are lots of experts out there; but Randy was, and still is The Original. Randy is a class act. Anyone that’s ever met him knows how humble he is.

    All the best Randy! 😀

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