Frequent flyer programs do roll back changes — but don’t like to admit they’re wrong when they do it.
American did just that when they introduced a $5 online award booking fee that never went into effect. The idea was dropped, no announcement. Because it was stupid.
If you don’t like Delta’s revenue-based frequent flyer program coming in 2015, or United’s copy cat version of the same and the gutting of the United mileage currency, there’s something you should do about it.
- Put your money where your mouth is, buy tickets from airlines offering you a better value proposition. Fly American and Alaska Airlines.
- Status match. Earn status with American or Alaska.
- Let American and Alaska know why you’re buying tickets from them. Let them see the increase in business that the policies of their competitors are earning them, so they don’t follow suit themselves.
- Let United and Delta know why you aren’t buying tickets from them.
The premise here is that each airline evaluates what is the best business decision for them.
You should evaluate what’s the best business decision for you.
And you should help airlines see how you’re making decisions, so they can consider and re-consider their own choices.
I’m not saying that either Delta or United will change, but we shouldn’t be fatalistic. Don’t stick with United and Delta because you assume it’s inevitable that other airlines follow suit.
- Even if AAdvantage and Mileage Plan were to eventually follow suit, you should travel with the program that’s most rewarding now.
- If you ascent to the changes that Delta and United are making, then you’re at fault (not individually, but collectively) for those changes lasting and other airlines from following their lead.
There are reasons for flying Delta, but make the decision a conscious one — in spite of the new Skymiles program.
If I were a United or Delta elite frequent flyer, I would email or fax copies of every ticket I purchased on American or Alaska to my former airline. I’d tell them every time I made a purchase with another airline and I’d tell them why.
Tweet them, too. Something like,
I’m leaving @Delta because #SkyMiles2015 doesn’t care about my loyalty, just the price of each ticket. Look forward to flying @AmericanAir!
I would also email American or Alaska and tell them why you’re moving your business, likely along with a request for status match. And I’d send a follow up note in six months letting them know how much I’d spent — and, again, why.
At the very least, leave no mistake that you’re somehow a marketing automaton who believes that Delta increasing the revenue requirements for elite status makes you more elite. I am not my fare.