Prepare for a New Year of Travel, Don’t Let the Government Destroy Your Flute, and You’d Better Give United Big Money Or You’re Over-entitled

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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, 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. Gary, as a supposed ‘senior statesman’ of the travel blogging community, do you really need to debase yourself with your never ending anti-UA diatribes?

    ” …I covered this extensively when it was first announced. This change is presumably meant to weed out United’s over-entitled elite members from the program.”

    In 2013:
    – Delta devalued (twice, once in 2013 and one announced for 2014) and added MQD requirements
    – UA is devaluing shortly (book for 31 days at the old award rates Mr. Fancy Pants!) and added PQD requirements
    – SW devalued their cash equivalent points by 15%
    – Hopefully, the new AA will continue trying to differentiate themselves through better service and best in class award travel program (but, unfortunately, I do not think this will be the case)

    From my perspective, UA is DL is AA… The one that works best for each individual is the one that has the most flights from your home airport to the places you need to travel.

    Aspirational travel on the airlines nickel is coming to an end, no matter how many credit cards you try to sell me and no matter how much MS you can cheat out of the system…

    I do wish you a happy new year, and a prosperous 2014! Keep up the (mostly) good work!

  2. @Lark I believe that for the past couple of years United has been a fairly bad airline with a very good mileage program. They appear to be on track to become a fairly bad airline with a not very good mileage program. Delta is a pretty good airline with a bad mileage program. American right now is a decent airline with a pretty good mileage program. I do think there are differences. And I call out those differences and the reasons for them.

    I do not see the end of this hobby as you seem to. There are more miles out there, awards are more expensive, mostly cancelling each other out. Partner awards are much easier to put together than ever before. And the inflight offerings are better than in the past.

    We disagree, and that’s cool, but that’s all it is. Not everyone who disagrees with you is debasing themselves 😉

    Best to you and yours for the New Year as well!

  3. Gary — Thank you for pointing out the flaws in each airline. It’s not your fault that United stinks.

    And thanks for all the wonderful information you have provided us this past year. I have learned a lot from you and your readers. And I look forward to learning even more in 2014.

  4. @Gary: I am certainly not the arbiter of the internet… When I say something, it is purely my opinion in most cases.

    In this case, I do believe that as the ‘granddaddy’ of internet travel bloggers, you should hold yourself to a higher standard. This does not mean you should not be critical (and in the case of United, there are plenty of things to be critical of). I just think you should take a more mature, even handed perspective in your commentary.

    If I want to read some immature 20-something whine and rant about slights perceived or real, I can go read some schlock content like you’ll find in Hack my trip.

    If I want a more reasoned and well thought out perspective, that is what I hope to find (and usually do – I keep coming back!) on your blog.

  5. @Lark – thanks for your followup, and respectfully in re-reading the post I think we just see this one differently. I don’t think I was unfair in my comments here. United is losing on average 200k customers per month (look at their year-over-year drop in customers). That says something meaningful. Totally fine for us to have a different perspective on any given post of course. Best, Gary

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