Did United Airlines overcompensate this passenger?

Gary Wiener’s question comes along only once in a blue moon. Did United Airlines overcompensate him after a recent flight delay?
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Why I love Delta’s new loyalty program – and why you’ll probably hate it

Loyalty programs may be the single greatest scam pulled on the traveling public.
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Are new loyalty programs fair to travelers?

Ranglen/Shutterstock
Ranglen/Shutterstock
If you’re unhappy with your loyalty program, join the club. So is William Beeman, a Delta Air Lines frequent flier who’s been trying to score an upgrade from San Francisco to Geneva after surgery to reattach his quadriceps at the knee.

Trying and failing.

For him, the process feels like a bait-and-switch. To avoid being wedged into a Lilliputian economy-class seat for 14 hours, Beeman says he worked hard to earn elite status on Delta. But when he tried to redeem his miles for an upgrade, the airline wanted even more.
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No more mileage runs? That’s bad news for everyone

Jozef/Shutterstock
Jozef/Shutterstock
It may be too early to write the obituary for frequent-flier mileage runs — those legendary year-end flights that offer a shortcut to an airline’s coveted “elite” status — but it’s easy to see the end from here.

With Delta Air Lines and United Airlines tightening their loyalty program rules in 2014 to require more spending in order to get singled out for special treatment, many of these frivolous round trips could vanish after this winter.

“With the new revenue requirements in place, mileage running will rarely make economic sense, except in cases where a traveler is just a few miles and dollars short of an elite threshold,” says Tim Winship, publisher of FrequentFlier.com.
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Are loyalty programs worth belonging to?

Aleksandar/Shutterstock
Aleksandar/Shutterstock
It’s time to question one of the most basic tenets of travel: Everyone should participate in an airline loyalty program.

A tectonic shift in the world of travel rewards is forcing passengers to reconsider their allegiances — or whether it’s worth being loyal at all. Given the already hopelessly convoluted nature of these programs, I’m surprised it took so long.

Frequent fliers have been hardest hit. In recent months, both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines revised their programs so that only the biggest spenders get the best perks. Soon, flying often won’t be enough to reach an airline’s coveted elite status. Expect more companies to follow.

Experienced travelers are taking a hard look at their loyalty portfolios. They don’t always like what they see.
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Are airlines moving the loyalty program goalposts?

Who moved my post? / Photo by rbrw - Flickr
Every week or so I get a complaint about the elusive nature of loyalty programs.

They follow a formula: Someone has given all of their business to a particular airline, but when they try to redeem their miles for a “free” ticket or an upgrade, they find it costs a lot more than they expected.
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Consultants help turn frequent flier awards into tickets — for a price

Christine Ballentine is a loyal US Airways customer, and she’s been saving up her frequent-flier miles for a trip to France this summer. But turning them into a ticket hasn’t been easy.
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Do frequent flier mileage programs make you dishonest?

I’ve been taking the predictable flack from the Flyertalk crowd after my recent tirade against loyalty programs. I don’t mind; I’m well-protected here in Orlando’s Green Zone.

Since we talk about right and wrong on this site frequently (see this morning’s post about the ethics of double-dipping on an insurance claim) I thought I’d share one reader email about loyalty programs that got me thinking.
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