Not the Best Frequent Flyer Program and Why Amex Lost Money

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Wyndham is buying La Quinta and it’s about the first hotel merger I don’t much mind since I prefer Wyndham Rewards over La Quinta Rewards.

    There’s no truth to the rumor that La Quinta is Spanish for ‘next to Denny’s’, apparently the name was chosen because when the brand’s founder started up the furniture he selected on the basis of price was Southwestern and he went looking for a name to match.

  • Norwegian broke BA’s speed record for a New York – London flight, flying eastbound across the Pond in 5 hours 13 minutes


    Copyright william87 / 123RF Stock Photo

  • The Pope performed a wedding onboard a chartered LATAM flight. (HT: Brendan Dorsey)

  • Despite growing revenue and beating earnings expectations net of special items American Express recorded its first quarterly loss in 26 years as a result of recently-passed tax reform which causes them to pay a repatriation tax on profits from non-U.S. units and to revalue deferred tax assets.

    Losses – even related to non-core business – do funny things both for public companies (trying to meet numbers) and in heavily regulated industries (since capital ratios change). We’ll have to watch for perverse consequences.

  • United is testing sharing more details of flight details with passengers. I wonder if this will make it harder to stretch the definition of ‘weather’ for a delay, the airline used to report weather delays to customers and the real reason at the United Cargo website.

    It’s a program called, “Every Flight Has a Story,” designed to help the airline better communicate with passengers about delays. Between Monday and Feb. 16, customers delayed at least an hour in Phoenix and Houston will receive unusually detailed information via text, email and the airline’s mobile app telling them why United delayed their flight, according to information shared this week with flight attendants.

    …Usually, Kirby said, “we would just say weather delay, and people look out and say it’s perfectly clear here, it’s perfectly clear in Chicago, you’re lying.”

    Instead, Kirby said United sent customers a picture of the thunderstorms, with a note saying, “…your plane is coming from Fort Lauderdale and it has to divert around this so it is going to be late getting here.”

  • No, Wallethub, Delta SkyMiles isn’t the best frequent flyer program in the United States

    “One of the first things that stood out to me about this study is that they named Frontier’s credit card tied for the best even though they say the miles you’d be earning with the card are among the worst,” says Gary Leff, of the firm Book Your Award, in an email. “The results here just make no sense. That’s not surprising when the value of the miles themselves only accounts for one quarter of the scoring. [This study is] at least as much about the airline itself rather than the frequent flier program.”

  • United’s new Olympics ad: what makes you feel like a superhero?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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