Whine Wednesdays: Frequent Flier Program “Enhancements”

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This week the Whine Wednesdays visits the frequent “enhancements” to the US based frequent flier programs where race to bottom seems to accelerate.

Enhancements Race To The Bottom

I have always wondered if the people running these programs really think that their members are basically stupid by framing negative changes as “enhancements” or “requested by customer feedback”?

Like on the UA’s announcement today:

Why are you removing the stopover policy?

Many members found the stopover policy to be confusing. Our goal is to keep the benefit while making the process of booking your multi-city trip easier, so we are introducing the Excursionist Perk, which is a free one-way award within select multi-city itineraries.

Plain English:

American Airlines removed stopovers and we are just following them. This allows us to charge more miles for the same itineraries.

Change of plans? We’ve simplified fees.

Now it’s easier to understand the fees for changing or canceling award flights – just check the chart below. Plus, fees are now in your local currency on united.com.

Plain English:

We feel that we are not collecting enough in award issuance and change fees. We will raise fees for most members.


Why these companies cannot be honest in their communication? Everyone with few brain cells left can understand what these “enhancements” mean for them.

I have stopped crediting most flights to US based programs due to the recent “enhancements”. I still continue issuing Marriott Travel Packages when additional bonus miles are offered to take advantage of occasional sweet spots on their award charts.