Old Nov 15, 11, 9:14 am
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: YYZ
Programs: O6*G; BA Silver
Posts: 6,900
A Relaxation Manifesto: the "Dr. Strangelove" approach to airlines and their programs

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying...

Every year, or several times per year, people seem to worry about switching programs, or where to go, or if to stay, and it all gets very intense.

This is an alternative set of ideas for those who get very anxious about airlines and the programs they offer.
  1. Most important of all: marketing is a powerful tool that airlines have used very effectively over many decades. While it is impossible to completely escape its effects, the most relaxing thing you can do is to realize that your airline-related hysteria is primarily caused by the aura that the airlines still manage to have - notwithstanding the fact there is nothing at all special about them.
  2. Never depend on an airline to do anything properly, such as get you anywhere when you need to be there, or get any of your stuff anywhere at all.
  3. Do you get so anxious about every industry you deal with? Grocery stores? Banks? If you did, I'm surprised you aren't in the hospital. See #1.
  4. Airlines offer programs involving points, upgrades, and the like, entirely for their own benefit, without regard to what you might get out of it. They are not rewards for your loyalty in any way, shape, or form.
  5. It is the ultimate goal of all airlines to make you think you are receiving benefits when in fact you are not.
  6. The superiority of one airline's program over another is always temporary.
  7. You are not important to the airline, no matter how much you think you might be.
  8. The following cannot all exist simultaneously, even for any subset of customers:
    • A generous upgrade scheme
    • A generous award flight availability scheme
    • A generous points earning structure
    • A quality product
  9. The best you can hope for with airline programs is a sort of arbitrage situation, in which your above average knowledge allows you to get an above average amount of benefits. The airline will always attempt to reduce your ability to benefit in this manner.
  10. The airline sets the rules. The airline can change the rules whenever it wants, without notice, and should always expect it to do so to its own benefit. Always consider your "assets" (points, upgrade credits) to be worthless, so that when they become worthless you will have lost nothing.
  11. Have no expectations and you will never be disappointed.
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