Travel Companies are Running Scared of What’s on Their Websites Because China

IHG Rewards Club has issued an update to its terms and conditions. And there’s only one change, repeated a few times in a few different ways. They want to make very sure you know that Taiwan is part of ‘Greater China’.

Marriott had their website and mobile app shut off by Chinese authorities in Shanghai for sending out a communication suggesting that Taiwan and Tibet were separate entities from China.

China’s civil aviation authority demanded a public apology from Delta and changes to its website for listing Tibet and Taiwan as countries.

Delta, which owns a stake in China Eastern and is working to establish Shanghai as a hub, described “an inadvertent error” and I wonder how Delta’s partner China Airlines feels about that.

American Airlines — which not only flies to Beijing and Shanghai but owns a stake in China Southern — lists Taiwan as a separate region from China in defining their award zones. Hong Kong is a separate region as well. They do not refer to these as countries.

Usually these lists are taken from international aviation organizations. One award chart once listed the Palestinian Territory as a destination even though Yasser Arafat International Airport in Gaza hasn’t served a commercial flight in over 16 years. I asked the airline if they could tell me what was and was not a part of Palestine and they quickly removed the reference.

Delta, United, and American may think that aviation shouldn’t be political (except when they want it to be) but clearly it’s unavoidably so.

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 am sure someone is going to blame this on Trump supporters. I just cannot figure out how. I am waiting. Go for it. I need a good laugh.

  2. This is for the most part idiotic. Taiwan is a 100% sovereign country at this point whether China likes it or not. This is as dumb as the UK objecting to references to the US and Australia as separate entities. Hong Kong and Macau are Special Administrative Regions and as such, have their own currencies, passports and visa rules distinct from China’s. So it is totally logical that all 3 should be referred to as separate entities by any airline, hotel or travel site. Tibet, on the other hand, rightly or wrongly, is part of China as per currency and passports. So for accuracy’s sake, as far as travel sites (not political references) Tibet would be in a different category.

  3. China should be more concerned about cleaning up the environment in their its cities. Taiwan is clean, safe and certainly does not see itself as part of the Mainland.

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