A couple of comments I’ve heard over the past several days are worth addressing, because they represent ideas that make flyers worse off. And it’s flyers doing it to themselves.
The first is that — no matter how much better a program is — “I’m not going to switch because the program will other devalue too.”
I think this is a mistake. Of course you can’t turn back the clock. The past 4 years have been a great time to be an American AAdvantage Executive Platinum. If you held status with United or Delta you can’t go back and undo the past.
But right now in my view – and especially at the top tier and for the pricing of their award chart they are better than the alternatives that most flyers face. So you fly them now. See what happens later. Reevaluate as necessary.
The idea that a program or airline might be worse in the future isn’t a reason not to concentrate on them now.
We have no idea what the industry will look like in the future. A recession. Something else that reduces business travel. Another bankruptcy. Higher fuel prices. All of which could change the game markedly. The program you’re with now could devalue (again) in the meantime!
Someone else asked about whether to focus on American since this person is based in Phoenix and ‘someone at American told them the airline will drop Phoenix as a hub.’
Again, see what happens and react.
There is no reason to accept subpar treatment or options now because you think better options won’t still be better in the future. George W. Bush called that the soft bigotry of low expectations.
- I don’t think it affects plans one way or another what American might do over the next 3-5 years.
- Even if they de-emphasize Phoenix they will still have a substantial presence and larger than most carriers there, for quite some time.
- The industry as a whole could look different over that time horizon, and for that matter people move.
I don’t think it’s wise to make airline decisions now on the basis of out years, make it on the basis of the current value proposition and if that changes you can change too. And that’s true regardless of the airline you’re flying and which one you believe would work better for you today. (And it applies to hotel programs, too.)
And of course rumors relayed by someone at an airline, a customer service agent on the fine, or a flight attendant are more often than not wrong… even when plausible (Phoenix may be inconvenient as a hub for American since it’s between Los Angeles and Dallas and you don’t make money overflying your hubs, but Los Angeles is hugely space constrained so can’t really replace the Phoenix operations).