As we all know, some chAAnges have recently been made which caused a ton of frustration among frequent flyers loyal to a certain AAirline. For reasons why I don’t understand, the majority of frequent flyers involved in the miles and points ‘game’ have seemed to love American Airlines and their frequent flyer programme for years. Sure, it was a great frequent flyer programme up until early this year, but the airline was never any good. Who doesn’t love flying an MD80 in 2016?!
I figured I would explain my reasoning behind why I’m not loyal to U.S. airlines (and will probably never be). First of all, let me just state that I love flying with United Airlines around North America. They’re part of the Star Alliance and that allows me to credit all of the miles flown with them to Lufthansa Miles & More (my primary frequent flyer programme). However, I would never be loyal to United in that I would never credit a single flight mile to MileagePlus. This isn’t just singular to United, but rather all American carriers. (Yes, I’ve been crediting some flights to Alaska, but those are just a small, insignificant amount).
The primary and number one reason why I’m not loyal to U.S. airlines is that they make changes to their frequent flyer programmes all the time and the changes usually sting… a ton. (And sometimes the changes aren’t announced). It is kind of funny – the U.S. airlines have the worst onboard product when comparing them to international airlines and they also are in a race to the bottom of who has the worst frequent flyer programme. It’s like they want to be the worst – and yet they state they are the best.
People complain all the time about U.S. airlines making changes and yet the people who complain don’t do anything about it. They continue to be loyal to an airline that has screwed them over. I’ve long been in support of being loyal to non-U.S. airlines as they make changes to their loyalty programmes much less and usually the changes are announced well in advance and don’t sting as much. U.S. airlines simply don’t care about their “loyal flyers”.
Elite Qualifying Dollars? I doubt we will see non-U.S. airlines implementing this scheme into frequent flyer programmes anytime soon. Why? Because they simply can’t afford to do that. People in Europe are already punished because most of the cheap fares earn 125 miles per flight around Europe… that’s significantly less than you would even earn under a revenue model in America. And status requirements are high – therefore, Lufthansa for example, has a fine balance of elites and there is no “overcrowding” of elites (like there is in the U.S.). Take a look at Miles & More – it requires 100k status miles for Star Alliance Gold. Now how many people are earning that through flights that earn them 125 miles? Not very many. And so the people who spend more and who fly more, are rewarded more – something that the U.S. airlines are implementing now while other airlines have already had this for a long time… just through a different way.
I will never be loyal to U.S. airlines in terms of frequent flyer programmes. There’s no point. All of them are racing towards having the absolute worst frequent flyer programme and they know their members will complain, but not leave them… that’s why they continue to destroy their programmes. People will continue to credit to them and eventually it will be almost impossible to earn elite status for the average passenger through all of the revenue requirements. They simply can afford the changes – something that most non-U.S. airlines can’t.