When does a Mileage or another Loyalty program make cost effective sense for you? When do you become a ‘Mileage addict’? As I have written all the posts that I have on Airline Miles, I have often wondered that myself. I wrote an article earlier this year as a part of my Economics of Airline Miles series titled Is Earning Miles really worth it? When does it not become worth it?
I just read this excellent article on CNN.com by Christopher Elliott titled – Confessions of a frequent flier skeptic. He does an excellent and ‘fair and balanced’ (hmm, I thought that was only on Fox…) review of frequent flier and other loyalty programs. He gives a view of someone who is skeptical of the value of frequent flier programs.
While I am an ardent earner of miles and hotel points myself, I agree with most of what he says. I personally fall into the category of what he calls a ‘managed’ business traveler. For me earning miles is a side-effect of travel I have to anyways. (That is why I call myself UN-roadwarrior, instead of a Road Warrior.) I do tweak my travel somewhat to ensure my earning stays on United and Hilton primarily. But that’s about it. Living near a United hub helps me a lot there.
There are many out there who travel in order to earn miles or status. Or are willing to pay drastically more to fly airlines they want to. There, as Christopher rightfully points out, lies the problem. I too am skeptical of the value of earning miles in this way.
While I have never done a Mileage Run till date, the only way I would do one is if I am in the last week of December and a 1,000 miles away from my next status threshold. Actually as it would be status on United, I would purchase the EQM using my Chase Visa ‘Choices’ points.
I see Christopher’s article as a great ‘wake-up’ message for some who have gone overboard. I have already emailed the link to a friend who needs an intervention when it comes to earning miles on Delta (that too Delta!?) It’s time to get real.