This is a lightning round, I’m going to give one quick thing that overwhelms everything else and I’m not going to offer a detailed explanation — just a simple statement of the one worst thing about an airline, a hotel chain, or a rental car company.
In a few cases I may mention a runner up, but largely to emphasize that the one worst thing is even more significant than that runner up.
These choices are, of course, influenced by my idiosyncratic preferences — but I think they stand up:
- Delta: arrogance and dishonesty
- American: lack of award/upgrade availability (second was sacrificing every customer procedure from boarding to upgrades in favor of an operational reliability that doesn’t materialize, third is inconsistent product)
- United: SHARES
- Southwest: no premium cabin
- Alaska: changes to Mileage Plan without notice (Emirates pricing, JAL premium economy awards, Aeromexico awards)
- Spirit: that it exists beyond just pricing that other airlines need to match
- Hyatt: lack of footprint, there just aren’t enough properties to make it your exclusive chain though tougher elite status rules mean you almost need to (second is lack of viable 2nd elite tier)
- Starwood: meager earning for in-hotel spend
- Marriott: elite benefits (suites, lack of breakfast at resorts and Courtyard properties)
- Hilton: no longer possible to get outsized value for points (second lack of discernible benefit to top tier status)
- IHG: no meaningful elite benefits, hotels aren’t even supposed to honor benefits on award nights
- Hertz: failure to honor reservations
- Avis: no longer tries harder
- Silvercar doesn’t have locations most of the places I go.