For the past four years, I have faithfully used the same air carrier to travel to approximately 90% of my end destinations. The only time that I have not used this particular carrier was when the price difference exceeded $100 more than the cheaper carrier, or when the airline did not fly to one of my chosen destinations. As a loyal, frequent flyer of this particular carrier I have enjoyed perks such as free checked luggage, complimentary upgrades, and priority boarding and delivery of luggage. Although I enjoyed many of the perks, I find myself thinking that my loyalty has come to an end. This airline has decided that their loyalty to the customers who stay in the sky has a limit.
Commencing January 2015, the airline that I have chosen to invest my time and money in will begin determining elite status based not only on mileage, but also how much money you spend on your tickets. Yes, that is right. If you do not meet the threshold for miles flown AND dollars spent on the airline, you will not qualify for your elite status in 2015. Of course, if you sign up or have one of their branded credit cards, you will receive a break on the total dollars spent, but you still have to fly a certain number of flights.
In these difficult economic times, when the competition is high, it would make sense for a carrier NOT to penalize its most loyal, non-business travelers. Business travelers are often traveling on their corporation’s dime, so they will more than likely meet and exceed both thresholds. Your average household consumer is using the hard-earned money from their personal accounts to fund their traveling expenses. So, what’s a travelingchica to do in times like this when the it seems the love affair is over? Spend wisely. I have many more miles to fly, bridges to cross and sites to see. So now I am taking a page out of LeBron’s book… I am taking my travel dollars to the competitor with the best price. In some cases I may have to pay for a checked bag and I may not be upgraded to business or first class, but if there is a substantial savings that allows me to visit more destinations, so be it.
Just like friendships, my loyalty has a limit and it should never be taken for granted.