Does the Merrill Visa 50,000 Point Offer Make Sense and American’s Uniform Disaster VP Promoted

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • The Merrill+ Visa has a 50,000 point offer worth $1000. This is a no annual fee card that will give you a Delta SkyClub membership after $50,000 spend in a year (or choose a $200 travel credit instead). Windbag Miles does the math.

    Delta Sky Club Seattle, credit: Delta

  • Before Franz Kafka became a major figure in literature in the early 20th century (he died in 1924) — even if you haven’t read his works you may know the term Kafkaesque which describes the bureaucratic situations his characters find themselves in — he wanted to be a budget travel writer. (HT: Marginal Revolution)

    Questions that his guides proposed to address are ones that tourists still seek answers for now. On which days do museums have reduced fees? Are there any free concerts? Should you travel by taxi or tram? How much should you tip? There was also a suggestion to include advice on where to find erotic and sexual entertainment for a fair price.

    Stach writes: “Kafka and Brod were convinced that a travel guide that answered all these questions candidly and supplied a select few reasonable and reliable recommendations would instantly beat out the competition … With a series of this kind, they could earn millions, especially if it was published in several languages.”

  • American’s uniform disaster VP Hector Adler gets bumped up to Senior VP. He retires next year. He ‘retired’ from Northwest Airlines as Vice President of Inflight Services in 2005 as well. Smart move, blame the uniforms flight attendants say are making them sick on the guy headed out the door.

  • On Thursday Brett Snyder tweeted that “United will suspend its Auckland flight for northern return in Nov” and the seasonality of San Francisco – Auckland is now confirmed. With Air New Zealand’s new Houston flight and American’s new Los Angeles flight in addition to the launch of United service there’s simply too much US-New Zealand direct capacity that isn’t sustainable during the off season.

  • El Al flight to New York delayed 4 hours when a cat traveling as cargo escaped. They spent the time trying to find the cat, didn’t find it, then took off.

  • How a jet engine starts:

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. I’m a little surprised that UA’s SFO-AKL flight will go seasonal. I was just on that flight — and it was SRO, with biz class sold out for weeks in advance. Also, the country was crawling with foreign visitors: you run into more non-Kiwis than Kiwis !

    But it was in the peak season. New Zealand-USA travel must be very seasonal, which does make some sense, given NZ weather. And UA can service these customers on Air New Zealand’s daily flight in that market.

  2. I’m not surprised that the AA VP who ignored employee concerns was promoted. That is what companies do–those who dismiss customer and employee concerns when it interferes with the bottom line are not only rewarded but promoted. Dougie and his accountants smile with this behavior: “Atta boy Hector. Keep up the good work”

  3. “uniform disaster” is a bit of a stretch.

    2000 complaints out of 70,000+ employees is less than 2% of the total workforce.

    Hector Adler is ex-Pan Am and people are somehow associating him with not caring about customer/employee experience lol. Shows how little people actually know.

  4. @Tony.

    When direct mail marketers send out mail, they’re happy with a 1% response rate. So when I read above that 2000 employees complained, I let out an eek. If my math is correct, 2% of 70,000 = 1400. Either way, it’s a lot of complaints.

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