News and notes from around the interweb:
- Discover card is dropping travel Assistance, baggage delay insurance, and emergency roadside assistance
- 27% of business travelers admitted to binge drinking while out of town on business and 11% said they picked up a stranger in a bar. No indication what percent were lying when they said they hadn’t.
- As airlines are increasingly profitable they change their programs in a way that shows they care less about loyalty.
“What’s significant is that with United and Delta, both programs become more complicated and less rewarding,” says Gary Leff, travel expert and author of the blog View from the Wing.
“These programs have become focused on transactions rather than loyalty.”
…But looking down the road, when business travel dips, will airlines have lost the loyalty from the fliers that used to help them fill their planes? “When the economy turns, airlines may have to start opening their wallets again,” says Leff. “In the meantime, it’s important for consumers to focus on the programs that still do reward their loyalty, American AAdvantage and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.”
- Alaska Airlines believes retaining their generous loyalty program is a competitive advantage as they go head-to-head against Delta in Seattle. And indeed they’re seeing record profits even as they grow to match Delta’s expansion.
- Tips for writing complaint letters.
- Back on Russian Television? This RT America ‘Boom Bust’ segment was pre-recorded some time ago, and since they had already used a portion of the interview I wasn’t expecting a second use.
The strangest thing about the interview, which was ostensibly on ‘summer travel tips’ when they asked me to come on, is that I started getting questions about the tax consequences of hotel spinoffs into REITs. My response was that while I have a passing familiarity with the issue I’m hardly a real estate tax specialist.
That part got skipped over, and it appears as though I’m answering the question (badly) when I’m pretty sure I was answering a different question — although what I transitioned to is the differences in guest experience between hotels that are chain-owned versus those that have been spun off.