I agree with Randy Petersen on his comments about taking away the FFB Equity Award Chart. I have all my old material and they say those awards will be good for ever. How would they feel if I say that my loyalty to them is "indefinite?" How can we fight this change?
Abby at WebFlyer
May 11, 98, 5:29 pm
This change is sure to cause many problems with FFB members of old. In the May cover story of InsideFlyer, we address the meaning of certain terms you may find in the fine print (or even in the large print!). Among them is the term, "indefinitely." While the technical definition may leave some room for interpretation on TWA's part, frequent flyers were definitely lead to believe that the equity chart would last forever. What can we do to fight the change? Well, always remember that these are loyalty programs. If you don't think they measure up, or if you aren't happy with the changes or their attitude, then switch your loyalty. You may never have the satisfaction of knowing first hand what it means to TWA to lose your business, but rest assured, this is the most powerful way to demonstrate that you are not happy. Another way to try to effect a change is to write to TWA, especially if you're an elite member. But simply having been loyal to TWA since 1989 ought to be enough for them to take note and listen. TWA has been through some rough times since then, and if you've stayed with them, you have definitely demonstrated your loyalty. The airlines really do listen, and they really do want your business. In speaking with our sources at TWA, I know that the last thing they wanted when they implented the new Aviators program was to alienate the flyers who have been with them the longest, and if that happens, they will make changes. Finally, keep speaking your mind on FlyerTalk. Others are likely to join you and help flood TWA offices with the needed mail to prompt a change.
May 15, 98, 2:47 pm
"As long as TWA has a frequent flyer program, you will be able to claim these equity awards." This is even stronger than "your miles will last indefinitely." I have written to TWA and told them I won't fly them again (after 1500000 miles) and I canceled a $1500 TWA ticket last week. The business they will loose because they won't guarantee my lousy remaining 77000 equity miles against the equity award chart past April 99 exceeds the award value by orders of magnitude. What kind of crazy business decision is that?
May 17, 98, 3:44 pm
Completely agree with, it is unfair that they changed their Equity awards. I was a Gold carder for 6 straight years, over 500,000 miles and was hoping to use those miles gradually over the next 10 years but now it looks I have to step up that timeframe. BTW in 1991 I was 500 miles short of gettting another Gold card and wrote them a letter asking for a waiver, they didn't even bother to reply. I haven't flown TWA since, I guess they don't mind losing business from steady customers.
May 19, 98, 8:42 pm
OK - I'm going out on a limb and siding with TWA. Aside from the people at InsideFlyer, I am probably one of the few consumers who believes the airline business is well beyond the average consumers understanding.
I hope people realize that change occurs in EVERY business, but only the airlines take the heat because they offer the most exciting and visible reward... travel. There is something about aviation and travel that gets people emotional!
True, TWA made promises regarding equity awards 9 years ago. But, so did all the other programs. It's unfortunate for TWA that it made the changes now and not when everyone else did. Plus, with communications resources like FlyerTalk, they will probably take an unfair share of criticism.
I am sure TWA did not these changes to make their members deliberately angry. Business decisions often must be made that will upset someone. At least give TWA credit for having the guts to make what were probably economically driven changes and for introducing some smart new inovations that make earning miles easier and also for finally recognizing me (and you) for the fares we pay.
You know, the more I think about it, TWA was pretty generous in allowing the equity awards to remain available for 9 years before giving another one year notice of the official end date for these awards. How many other businesses (perhaps your own?) do you know that would give you a fixed price, "indefinately" AND give a years advance notice for a price increase.
I know change is not fun, but that's life! Build a house with a view and sure enough a neighbor will build a bigger one between you and that view!
While the customer probably doesn't care, remember that the "promise" was made many managements ago. It's amazing the changes weren't more severe. The Aviators program really is one of the best in terms of customer recognition.
I agree with taking your business away from any company that treats you badly overall, but can you honestly say TWA deserves to lose your business (when they need it most) simply because the price changed on your award travel?
TWA, don't let the whiners get you down. You'll never be able to please everyone!
May 21, 98, 9:05 am
i've been saving up miles on twa in anticipation of getting the prized 'two round-the-world first class tickets' for 300,000 miles (which i notice has been dropped with the arrival of aviators).
with the end of twa's partnership with phillipine airlines, what are the chances i'll still be able to use that award in the near future? twa's ffb desk says the award can still be requested, but i'm at the mercy of phillipine airlines to honor it when i'm ready to go late next year.
twa definitely needs new, reliable partners. i've heard rumors that northwest may be a viable alliance partner for them. sure hope so; otherwise, i'll be spending my award miles at home -- bummer!
May 22, 98, 11:26 am
You said that you are siding with TWA on eliminating the equity awards. You said that all carriers have done this, so it is ok for TWA to do so also. Actually, that is not a true statement. The other carriers never (to my knowledge) said that a specific award chart was available "forever" and then yanked it later. It is one thing to change the rules of the program (as all carriers can do) and another thing to say that a certain set of miles are good forever, and pull that promise. I don't get it - e.g., why TWA is doing something which will enrage their best customers. I too am a 1,500,000+ TWA FFB'r, who does not feel good about TWA now.
I am particularly concerned as I have tried to cash in my equity miles for travel during the next four months to Europe, only to be told that the seats are already sold out in the free category. They force us to use the miles, and then do not provide the seats to do so.
Abby at WebFlyer
May 26, 98, 6:33 pm
TWA is sure taking some heat for going back on its promise. Other airlines may not have made the exact same promise, but it isn’t fair to say that TWA is the only one to break any promises. If you have any doubt, hop over to the Continental page and see how people feel about their NIP awards. Continental most definitely changed the rules after the game began on that award promise. Yes, you should definitely take your business elsewhere if you’re truly not satisfied. But, as my Mother used to say, there’s no need to cut off your nose to spite your face. If American or Delta or United don’t offer what Aviators offers - specifically the dollar-based Fare Rewards - then you’re only hurting yourself by switching your loyalty, especially if you’ve worked long and hard to build up a lot of miles with TWA. We at InsideFlyer don’t like the decision to lose the equity chart. Sooner or later, all of those equity miles will be used up, so we don’t necessarily see the need. But beyond that, many of the changes implemented with the new program are for the better, or at the very least, are no different from the industry standard. So switching your loyalty may not really serve your best interest, save to make a point to TWA. But making this point may not be worth what you lose by starting all over with another airline’s program, especially if that program doesn’t really fit your needs. The best way to make your point about a particular issue is still to make a lot of noise. To quote another on my Mother’s favorite cliché’s, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. We’ve seen other programs make minor alterations or exceptions in the past in response to member “uprisings.” United took a lot of heat over adding a Saturday night stay requirement to certain awards, and it was convinced to rescind the changes before they even took effect. Why? Noisy Mileage Plus members, especially elite-level members. So don’t think of these rules as static. I know, I know. I’ve already encouraged you (and some of you didn’t need much encouragement) to switch your loyalty if you’re not satisfied. But in perusing some of these FlyerTalk comments, I see I need to caveat that suggestion by reminding you to shop and compare before you make such a change. I’m reminded of the infamous decision to launch the “New Coke” many years ago. Nobody like New Coke. We all wanted the old Coke. But just because the New Coke was disgusting, it didn’t make Pepsi taste any better. The result? Classic Coke. A modified return to what we all wanted - and had - to begin with. Let’s keep hoping for this sort of resolution to the equity award chart issue. But TWA, lookout! You better pay attention to the squeaky wheels, or like the New Coke, you, too, are in the running for top honors from the Millard Fillmore Society of Mediocrity!
May 27, 98, 10:11 am
I don't think the point is that TWA changed the rules. The point is they broke their promise. To say that other airlines have broken promises about "awards forever" is not necessarily true and even if it is, is that a reason for TWA to join the crowd? What kind of a business is content to say, in effect, that "our service is the same as the competitor's"? TWA should be aiming for top of the line service, not run of the mill service, especially given their financial situation. I can't speak to Continental's NIP decision, but as an AA flyer I recall the changes they made about 9 years ago. They promised to continue the old award structure "forever" alongside the new one. Today I have 50,000 miles on AA that will never expire and can be used to claim the old awards. They haven't broken their promise. TWA should take a lesson from the political sphere and recall what happened to George Bush after he broke his "no new taxes" promise. Enough said. Loyalty is a two-way street.
Jun 2, 98, 8:53 am
If anyone has any reason to doubt the audacity of TWA, they need look no further than today's (June 2) Wall Street Journal. The full-page TWA ad on page A5 claims "Promises Made, Promises Kept". What a joke!
Oct 17, 98, 7:44 pm
I, too, was concerned about the Equity Miles award structure, so I e-mailed them from the TWA website. This is what they sent back:
FFB miles (including equity and non-equity miles) will continue to
have no expiration date. Aviator miles earned on or after May 1, 1998,
will not expire if, during the previous three-calandar-year period, the
member either 1) purchases a ticket and flies on TWA/Trans World
Express, or 2) accumulates a minimum of 10,000 bonus miles through
FFB Program awards will remain available for redemption through
April 30, 1999. At that time equity and non-equity miles will called FFB miles.
FFB award certificates requested on or before April 30, 1999, will be valid for one year from their date of issue.
Once an FFB award certificate is redeemed for a ticket, that ticket will remain valid for travel for a period of one year from its date of issue. Therefore, members enrolled in the FFB program prior to May 1, 1998, will have up to three years to complete travel on FFB program
Thank you for using the TWA website.
End of quote.
Sounds as though we have until 30 Apr 99 to redeem using the Equity Awards structure, then basically an additional two years to use the award. After 30 Apr 99, the Equity miles will still not expire, they just can't be used on the old award structure. So, it seems the promise that the (old) miles will remain available so long as TWA had a FF program is being kept. Am I missing something?
Oct 18, 98, 6:52 pm
Unfortunately, I believe that you are correct. The long response is not very precise when it comes to Equity awards, but they were clear over the phone (and Randy confirmed it). I still don't understand why TWA is changing the rules on these 10-year-old miles. Very odd for a struggling airline.
bryan at webflyer
Nov 24, 98, 12:47 pm
late word has it that TWA has extended the date to claim equity awards until Dec 31, 1999, eight months after the original Apr 30 deadline. This is better, but not great.
Dec 11, 98, 8:23 pm
I checked out the TWA Aviators site and it still reads (read?) 30 Apr 99 as the deadline for requesting awards, so I e-mailed them asking which was correct. They responded, "You are correct in that Equity awards may now be requested as late as
12-30-99. This also pushes the time limit for surrendering the certificate
for a ticket up to 12-30-2000 etc."
So, as I read it, we now have until 12-30-99 to request an award, 12-30-2000 to turn it into a ticket, and, since tickets are good for one year, the travel may be done as late as 12-30-2001.