The Thing I Love Most About Doing Media Is…

Since this is my personal blog I will share something personal, that brings me joy, even at the risk of it being interesting to nobody else at all.

Now, going on the Colbert Report was just cool in its own right. There really didn’t need to be anything else to love that one.

But this is just a small personal thing. More than getting my point of view out there, and more than being able to send a newspaper article to my grandmother, I get a major kick out of frequent flyer memes going mainstream.

In my USA Today op-ed last week about the US Airways-American Airlines merger, I was drawing lessons from recent airline mergers and offering advice on how to make this one less painful.

Being able to include, as a shout out to all my beleaguered United freuqent flyer friends, “changes you’re going to like” in a national publication felt good.

Jeff Smisek, who was the CEO of Continental when it took control of the larger United, made a cameo in his new airline’s safety video and told passengers he’d make some changes they would like.

Unfortunately, space reasons meant that they cut “over-entitled” United elites from the piece, as well as Ben Baldanza referring to US Airways frequent flyers buying the low fares the airline was offering as not giving them the kind of loyalty they were interested in and spurring the “cockroach” movement.

Yesterday though featured “Skypesos”.

Delta’s SkyMiles changes are less dramatic, but they still shocked observers since the airline already announced tweaks to its program in August. Those changes boosted the amount of miles needed for some business class tickets and will take effect next June.

The latest update, which affects award seats booked for travel between February and May, requires travelers to hand over more miles if they’re flying to Hawaii using Delta’s “Saver” awards, plus other changes.

“(Delta was) too anxious, they couldn’t wait for higher prices,” Leff said. “They led everyone to believe that you were good with the old rates for travel through May and they changed their minds on that. So that was hugely surprising.”

Leff — who refers to SkyMiles as “SkyPesos” because he believes they’re worth much less than competitor currencies — noted the big problem with Delta isn’t its award pricing, but the amount of seats it makes available in exchange for miles.

Seeing Skypesos up on the NBC News website? It made me feel as though I had actually done something in this hobby.

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 – you are the class of the industry. Too bad other bloggers don’t model themselves after you – rather than becoming vehicles to pimp affiliate links under the guise of lame travel blogs.

  2. Gary,

    Thanks for making a difference.

    Reminds me of the day several years ago when Delta Flyertalkers pooled their cash to rent a truck advertisement at the Delta annual meeting.

  3. I guess there was a time limit. Because you could’ve talked a lot more about Delta so their scams could be known to more people.

  4. @I just threw up – hope you’re getting rest, and taking something, if you don’t aren’t recovering by tomorrow you might want to see a doctor. Feel better!

  5. One of the many things you should be proud of Gary, happy to see the rest of the media following your lead!

  6. Gary….this is proof that if the consumer acts accordingly, the producer will react. The waves have rocked their boats,…..keep paddling!

  7. Thanks for shooting straight with your posts. This sector is too complicated for part-timers to keep straight without some help from those who have demonstrated they know what they are talking about and will “call it as they see it.” And, beyond those of us who read and follow you, just maybe all travelers will benefit if travel industry firms know they face the risk of being called out for tipping toward their own interests and away from their customers’.

  8. Gary, you can proudly call yourself Shakespeare of Miles and Points, since you are so ably shaping the domain language and carrying it to the traveling masses 😉

  9. Brilliant stuff Gary! Yours is by far, the best blog on travel by a mile. And I could not agree more regarding Delta and do my best to stay clear of DL/Sky Team.

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