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Old Apr 10, 14, 6:53 pm   #1
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View from the Wing [VFTW] discussions

The comments are running heavily against Gary's assertion that he still trusts AA to give advance notice of future devaluations:

http://boardingarea.com/viewfromthew...an-aadvantage/

IMHO Gary's position isn't so much his belief as it is his effort to encourage better behavior by AA in the future. As I posted there, I believe that excoriation now is the best way to deter misbehavior later. Corporations, unlike people, only respond to punishment.

Do people here agree with me or with Gary?
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Old Apr 10, 14, 7:23 pm   #2
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Hasn't worked on Smisek. Why would it work on Parker?

Last edited by sonofzeus; Apr 11, 14 at 7:10 am
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Old Apr 10, 14, 7:41 pm   #3
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He's just saving face. I find it ironic that Lucky, Points Guy, Gleff and others dropped UA like a hot potato and have been gushing over all things AA the past couple of years and then seem surprised at these changes and how they were handled. Blissfully ignorant of the all the loopholes, tricks, and workarounds they taught their readers, let alone that AA/US execs read them too.

Perhaps all this hoopla will delay the other shoe(s) to drop, but its pretty obvious there is more devaluAAtion coming to US AAir.
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Old Apr 10, 14, 8:29 pm   #4
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
I believe that excoriation now is the best way to deter misbehavior later. Corporations, unlike people, only respond to punishment.
An interesting hypothesis I'm sure many on the Air Canada forum would not share as numerous changes in recent years have been met with scorn seemingly to little or no effect.
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Old Apr 10, 14, 10:16 pm   #5
  
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He's just saving face. I find it ironic that Lucky, Points Guy, Gleff and others dropped UA like a hot potato and have been gushing over all things AA the past couple of years and then seem surprised at these changes and how they were handled. Blissfully ignorant of the all the loopholes, tricks, and workarounds they taught their readers, let alone that AA/US execs read them too.

Perhaps all this hoopla will delay the other shoe(s) to drop, but its pretty obvious there is more devaluAAtion coming to US AAir.
It will definitely change trip reports without free stopovers.
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Old Apr 10, 14, 10:58 pm   #6
  
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I thought the initial posts from OMAAT and VFTW were distinctly different. Lucky, the kid, pounded on AA almost immediately. Gary, who views himself as a go-to guy for FF programs (hey, I'm on WTOP, I'm in USA Today, I'm on ABC) missed the boat in his first post--AA changes awards you probably don't use, he trumpeted. Since then, he's been in catchup mode.

I try not to be an alarmist but hardly any blogger seems to view these changes as the harbinger of worse to come. While AA's 40K offseason economy awards to Europe have been reasonably available (and will likely disappear under the PAArker regime), US's Envoy options for 60K offseason have been mostly vaporware. And, while AA's biz to Europe during the summer has some AAnytime availability at 100K, US's has generally been at outrageous levels for years--265K ORF-GLA RT for most dates this summer has also been the norm the last few years I've checked.

While I think AA attempted to get out in front of these changes by making Suzanne Rubin available for interviews with select outlets, including OMAAT and VFTW, I don't think we've seen the end of this. I'm not about to dump my AA miles because I just don't panic about stuff like this, but I don't think the big changes are over.
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Old Apr 11, 14, 12:57 am   #7
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US & AA have been carefully preparing a plan so this merger doesn't look like the NW/DL or UA/CO fiasco. AA was very good at charming the frustrated CO/UA refugees, but the exciting changes they plan as part of their merger with US will frustrate these too.

That said Lucky will still do US-Asia via Europe trip reports using LM or similar and Gary will use the AS route to get his aspirational trips.
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Old Apr 11, 14, 4:40 am   #8
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Originally Posted by lwildernorva View Post
I thought the initial posts from OMAAT and VFTW were distinctly different. Lucky, the kid, pounded on AA almost immediately. Gary, who views himself as a go-to guy for FF programs (hey, I'm on WTOP, I'm in USA Today, I'm on ABC) missed the boat in his first post--AA changes awards you probably don't use, he trumpeted. Since then, he's been in catchup mode.

I try not to be an alarmist but hardly any blogger seems to view these changes as the harbinger of worse to come. While AA's 40K offseason economy awards to Europe have been reasonably available (and will likely disappear under the PAArker regime), US's Envoy options for 60K offseason have been mostly vaporware. And, while AA's biz to Europe during the summer has some AAnytime availability at 100K, US's has generally been at outrageous levels for years--265K ORF-GLA RT for most dates this summer has also been the norm the last few years I've checked.

While I think AA attempted to get out in front of these changes by making Suzanne Rubin available for interviews with select outlets, including OMAAT and VFTW, I don't think we've seen the end of this. I'm not about to dump my AA miles because I just don't panic about stuff like this, but I don't think the big changes are over.
Until a handful of years ago, Gary Leff had the kind of limited experience with AA that I would call him more of a FFP generalist than a reliable specialist on AA program matters. I think that still holds sort of true and may explain why he didn't think the OW Explorer and stopover award eliminations were that big a deal. And in fairness to him, or maybe not, these awards -- like most award types -- are not the mass marketed kind of awards that say the domestic US@25k miles roundtrip awards are.

I must say that journalists, much like bloggers, often are so interested -- wittingly or not -- in source-access/access-maintenance that they tend to go rather soft(er) on those whom they deal with more frequently when coming up with copy for "reporting" purposes. Often the sources want this kind of relationship and they "leak" or provide on-the-record access as a way to soften up reporting, to get facts buried or to put up trial balloons or otherwise lay the groundwork for the next move against a party. It happens in reporting/not-reporting on government/government personnel activities and it happens in industry-specific press with reporting/not reporting. This is no different. We are all prisoners of circumstance to some degree or another.

I have no doubt that what the "new AA" will do later this year or next is even worse -- far worse for consumers -- than what has been done by AA/US in 2013 or so far in 2014.
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Old Apr 11, 14, 7:17 am   #9
  
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Until a handful of years ago, Gary Leff had the kind of limited experience with AA that I would call him more of a FFP generalist than a reliable specialist on AA program matters. I think that still holds sort of true and may explain why he didn't think the OW Explorer and stopover award eliminations were that big a deal. And in fairness to him, or maybe not, these awards -- like most award types -- are not the mass marketed kind of awards that say the domestic US@25k miles roundtrip awards are.

I must say that journalists, much like bloggers, often are so interested -- wittingly or not -- in source-access/access-maintenance that they tend to go rather soft(er) on those whom they deal with more frequently when coming up with copy for "reporting" purposes. Often the sources want this kind of relationship and they "leak" or provide on-the-record access as a way to soften up reporting, to get facts buried or to put up trial balloons or otherwise lay the groundwork for the next move against a party. It happens in reporting/not-reporting on government/government personnel activities and it happens in industry-specific press with reporting/not reporting. This is no different. We are all prisoners of circumstance to some degree or another.

I have no doubt that what the "new AA" will do later this year or next is even worse -- far worse for consumers -- than what has been done by AA/US in 2013 or so far in 2014.
Agreed. When the DL revenue earning hit, a couple of the more prominent folks with extensive access were almost cheering.

VFTW may see these AA changes as minor in his personal perspective, and that's fine if he's not impacted (though as a supposed FFP expert he should better realize how much of a negative it is for a fair number of people). But it boggles the mind that anyone would preach a continued trust in a program that just sprang such a no notice grenade.

I have no doubt worse changes will come and I can't see why AA will behave any better in announcing and implementing them.
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Old Apr 11, 14, 9:53 am   #10
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USdbaAA is going to do things the US/CO way: monetize every customer at every turn. And they will do it THEIR way.

Get used to it.

Neither throwing a tantrum nor playing weird reverse-psychology games with AA are going to change that (although it appears to have at least gotten VFTW some clicks and attention).

We are living through a paradigm shift in frequency programs. Nothing we customers can do will change that.

Show me a blogger that is focusing on how to live through the shift and prepare for the other side and I'll subscribe today.

The rest is just listening to either shrieks of panic and/or the trio playing “Nearer My God to Thee” as the Titanic sinks.
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Old Apr 11, 14, 10:18 am   #11
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counter-point on OMAAT: http://boardingarea.com/onemileatati...nymore-do-you/
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Old Apr 11, 14, 11:29 am   #12
  
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I read VFTW for some of the content, but found that Gary to be entitled, arrogant, argumentative, and passionless through his blog articles.

He acts like he is an entitled person because of his status with hotels and airlines, thinks he is the authority on food (see his claims on the best BBQ, best thai food, best korean food), has to write an article refuting every published blog or print article that he doesn't agree with, and complains via his blog when things doesn't go his way. For example, his trip report about how he had to wait in line to check in at a Hyatt in Singapore even though he is a diamond member. Has it ever occurred to him that there might be other diamond members in line?

He wrote an response to MileValue (who I don't care for either) article about Delta award space. MileValue claimed that the award space was the best he's ever seen. Gary wrote an article saying that it is great award space only if you don't love your wife or need more than one seat. In another article about family travel, Gary responded to the article saying that you can split up between cabins.

Was there a falling out between Gary and FT? He often says that he is not welcome here.
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Old Apr 11, 14, 11:29 am   #13
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Wow, Ben really excoriated AA!

OTOH, AA would not be sad to lose customers whose travel purchase patterns resemble Ben's.

When Southwest changed to a revenue-based program they knew it would upset everyone who had learned how to game the old program. From the company's point of view that effect was a benefit. The company's objective was a program that benefited the 95% who are NOT willing to take the time to become experts.

I predict that FF programs will eventually have both revenue-based redemption without capacity controls and chart-based redemption with capacity controls. The former will satisfy the 95% who don't want to do any homework (including current Capital One customers), while the latter will appeal more to the other 5%, including FT'ers.

Both the 95% and the 5% abhor breaches of trust. I don't believe that zero-notice change is in the interest of any type of program, but management seems to disagree with me.

Here's a thought experiment. Suppose you were running Chase Ultimate Rewards and you decided that you were "overindexed". Too many people were redeeming for United, Hyatt, and Southwest points. You needed to devalue those redemption options. Would you give advance notice, risking a run on the bank? Remember that unlike, say, AA miles, UR points can be redeemed in a flash without any need to lock the points into a specific trip.
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Old Apr 11, 14, 11:40 am   #14
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Was there a falling out between Gary and FT?
Not that I know of. However he and Randy tend to promote their Milepoint forum to the exclusion of FlyerTalk. It's not unexpected for a company's owner to avoid patronizing its direct competitor.

I never understood the need for Milepoint, but sometimes two quieter forums can be more valuable than one busier forum.

I just wish that the blogs and Inside Flyer magazine would mention the two forums more proportionately to their relevance. FT has much more activity and is the primary source for most FF program information. It's not that I like the Internet Brands corporation more than I like Randy or Gary, who are fine people. It's just a fact that FlyerTalk is where the action is.
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Old Apr 11, 14, 11:52 am   #15
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Was there a falling out between Gary and FT? He often says that he is not welcome here.
We don't generally discuss members publicly, but I am going to break that rule this once. I had the pleasure of working with Gary for several years when both of us were senior moderators. He was exceptionally good at the task. He worked hard for many years to make FlyerTalk the place that it is. It's his choice to now expend his considerable talents elsewhere, as is the right for anyone who finds a business opportunity or passion they want to pursue. He will always have considerable good will with me.
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