This week around the web, read about American Airlines says they don’t like value shoppers, find a new option for the west coast to Hawaii, an interesting take on the child facemask debate, and the best description yet of the issue with IHG Rewards Club. All that and more in this Frequent Miler Week in Review Around the Web.
Has American Airlines hired the Amex RAT squad to purge its membership of customers they don’t think they want to have? One Mile at a Time covers the latest move in asking some members to pay up or get their accounts shut down. Fascinating that they would bother disincentivizing customers from flying with them at a time when travel is at such a lull that they are cutting service to 15 cities. Someone sure seems focused on catching “gamers”. Personally, I find this kind of ridiculous. If I buy a variety pack of fruit roll-ups (do they even make these anymore??) because that’s the box that was on sale and I choose to throw away the grape ones because I really just wanted the strawberry and lime ones and it was cheaper for me this way, what business is it of General Mills and my grocery store chain? They got paid the price they advertised for the product I purchased and I use as much or as little of the product as I like. I support the right of the airline to price their product to get the best deal they can in terms of cash for the tickets they sell, but don’t fault the customer for in turn trying to get themselves the best deal possible on what they need even if it comes with extra stuff they don’t want (like that last leg).
The Time Has Come For Airlines To Choose: #RaiseTheMinimumAge For Masks Or Ban Young Children From Flying During The Pandemic
This post from Dan’s Deals highlights something that has been a topic of conversation and consideration in my household lately. I’ve read the recent stories of families being kicked off of flights and surmised that my family probably won’t be flying on most airlines any time soon. At the same time, I don’t find the solution as binary as Dan does and after some thought I have come to the conclusion that I hold what may be an unpopular opinion. I know that my 2.5yr old may be defiant and refuse to wear a mask. As a result, I’m not booking any trips by plane until I either get him accustomed to wearing it or we collectively don’t need masks any longer. But I can think of two friends whose same-age sons would probably be totally fine with a mask for a flight of up to a couple of hours. I don’t think the solution is to ban their sons from flying because my son might not keep his mask on. Neither do I think the solution is to just accept increased risk of transmission of the virus. Dan notes that children don’t magically become contagious at 24 months and he’s right about that, but the idea here is that we’re playing a probabilities game right now and trying to prevent as many deaths as possible. I recognize that my son won’t necessarily be a good player at this stage, so I’m not putting him on the field. Is it “fair” that I may not be able to fly for a while? It isn’t any more unfair than it would be to expose those around me to increased risk so that I can travel by air. Maybe my mind will change and I recognize that my opinion might be different if I were in a situation where a flight were somehow downright necessary. At the moment, I am not convinced that it’s unreasonable to expect passengers to be able to follow the rules or not fly. American Airlines would surely say that I should apply that same rule (follow the rules or don’t fly) to hidden city ticketing above, but a matter of public health is different in my opinion.
This story covered by View from the Wing was fascinating to me – particularly with regard to the “extended border” definition being applied, but also with the idea of keeping unnecessary information on file for 75 years. While I value safety, I’m also a bit creeped out here. Commenter Ari sums up the icky feeling: “A correlate: Imagine your carry-on is searched when you arrive from an int’l flight. Then, CBP puts a TSA style note in your bag saying that they photographed/inventoried every item and will keep the info in a shared government database for the next 75 years, just in case…even though no crime is alleged. Creepy.” Now also wonder how well they will protect that information from being hacked and shared. I know that I have given up a lot of privacy in return for convenience in terms of the way I use Google services, etc — but I’m not a fan here.
New Option: West Coast Awards To Hawaii For 12,500 Miles (Aeroplan) the ability to redeem 12,500 miles each way for flights to Hawaii on United from the west coast. I had noticed in the new charts that Hawaii is part of North America, but had dismissed it after realizing that the distance bands wouldn’t make it an exciting option for most people. However, Sam shows why I was wrong: it’s a good backup option for those in the right west coast cities, especially given that United releases pretty regular economy class space. The problem is the cancellation fees — but given that you can probably book economy space close to travel, this might not be a bad backup if you’ve been unable to find other options and your dates are nearing (and pretty firm).
I meant to include this post in week in review a few weeks ago as Loyalty Lobby hit the nail on the head with regards to my issue with IHG: They have a rewards program, not a loyalty program. The program makes the most sense for those who mostly stay at select-service brands both for work and play since you can earn free nights relatively quickly. Indeed, I can concede that the program is relatively rewarding in that way. But for those who stay often enough to earn the benefits of loyalty with other chains, and for those whose main focus is collecting points and benefits for higher-end properties, IHG doesn’t necessarily offer enough reward. Further, given the relative dearth we’ve seen regarding good accelerate promotions for the past year or two, they aren’t as rewarding as they once were. They need a shake-up.
That’s it for this week around the web. Check back soon for this week’s last chance deals.