Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Air Canada | Aeroplan
Reload this Page >

Breaking STAR news for AE members from the MegaDo

Breaking STAR news for AE members from the MegaDo

Old Nov 6, 09, 12:56 pm
  #1  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Programs: OWEmerald; STARGold; BonvoyPlat; IHGPlat/Amb; HiltonGold; A|ClubPat; AirMilesPlat
Posts: 38,180
Breaking STAR news for AE members from the MegaDo

I've been at the STAR MegaDo with several others on our forum and we've had a great time through the week. While AC did not participate, we did meet with several STAR officials and had conversations with them. Here are couple of things I can reveal:

1. One of the next STAR site's IT enhancements for 2010 will be an availability search utility to show award inventory on all STAR carriers. This would not let us book on the STAR site, but it would let us do research more easily than now when we'd have to use both the AE site and the ANA one.

2. All STAR members are to participate in a mileage upgrade award program. While several do now, next year they all will have to let us book upgrades with our miles/points. It wasn't clear if this meant only higher Y fares to C/J, but that is most likely the case (as it is now). However, it does have implications for AC and AE and the likelihood of some form of mileage upgrades (which haven't been offered by AC/AE for almost a decade) will be introduced with a new mileage chart. (Rumours of that have been circulating, particularly given AE's recent generosity with those "almost round the world" awards for the same as a simple RT.)

3. The President of LH made a somewhat snide remark to us this afternoon in response to a question from a M&M member about F awards particularly on the new A380s. At the moment, LH does not plan to embargo them as SQ does, but it may consider only letting its own members have premium awards on this plane. This came after a preface to his answer, something about "certain STAR carriers that only offer business class have too many members redeeming their miles on LH first class, particularly when they can earn these miles from credit cards and magazine subscriptions." Now of course he did not mention AC by name, but how many STAR carriers can that description fit?!

So those are a few interesting AC/AE-related things that happened over the last few days. Certainly grist for the mill of posts around here! (I'll be offline again for a few days, so can't answer anything more, but feel free to post and I'll try to catch up Monday or Tuesday.)

________________________________

And I was so looking forward to finally meeting the Mods for this forum in Munich tomorrow night at dinner, but hear they seldom show to these events. Too bad.
Shareholder is offline  
Old Nov 6, 09, 12:58 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: YYZ at this time
Programs: ACMM / Altitude S100K / HH Diamond
Posts: 6,285
Thanks for the update! ^
PreferBulkhead is offline  
Old Nov 6, 09, 1:27 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: YYC, Canada
Programs: AC 35k
Posts: 1,756
Originally Posted by Shareholder View Post
2. All STAR members are to participate in a mileage upgrade award program. While several do now, next year they all will have to let us book upgrades with our miles/points. It wasn't clear if this meant only higher Y fares to C/J, but that is most likely the case (as it is now). However, it does have implications for AC and AE and the likelihood of some form of mileage upgrades (which haven't been offered by AC/AE for almost a decade) will be introduced with a new mileage chart. (Rumours of that have been circulating, particularly given AE's recent generosity with those "almost round the world" awards for the same as a simple RT.)
How very interesting... I wonder how that changes the SWU debate.
YXUFlyboy is offline  
Old Nov 6, 09, 1:35 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: YUL
Posts: 2,283
Originally Posted by Shareholder View Post
1. One of the next STAR site's IT enhancements for 2010 will be an availability search utility to show award inventory on all STAR carriers. This would not let us book on the STAR site, but it would let us do research more easily than now when we'd have to use both the AE site and the ANA one.
Not sure if this is good or bad the way it is perhaps leaves some secret seats available
getaround is offline  
Old Nov 6, 09, 1:53 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Body in Downtown YYZ, heart and mind elsewhere
Programs: UA 50K, refugee from AC E50K, Marriott Lifetime Plat
Posts: 5,083
Originally Posted by Shareholder View Post
3. The President of LH made a somewhat snide remark to us this afternoon in response to a question from a M&M member about F awards particularly on the new A380s.
A small clarification - it was Thierry Antinori who I believe is the senior VP of Marketing & Sales of LH who said that. He further insinuated that the LH team is looking to prioritise Miles & More members (HON then Senators) first on F rewards. I think this makes a lot of sense particularly if they do HON, Senators then *A Golds (then everyone else) in that order. How they would do that will be interesting - I suppose that perhaps the windows for booking will be different (HON get 365 days advance, Senators get 250 days advance, *A Gold get 100 days advance or something like that).

We also had a speech from Mr. Wolfgang Mayrhuber who is the CEO of LH. I was deeply impressed that a (very humble and quite personable) guy who runs a company of 105,000 employees globally managed to take some time out of his undoubtedly insanely busy day to meet with a bunch of FT'ers. I'm sure there are LH employees who have never seen / met the CEO yet we did.

And lastly (and not to try and hijack this thread because there will be others on this) - the *A MegaDo was IMHO a fantastic success. I was and remain very touched by the degree to which UA, CO, SAS and especially LH went out of their way to accomodate us in every manner. I have to say, after spending this much time with some very senior folks (and some not so senior ones) at LH, I am convinced that they get it. LH really understands the flying business and they truly, really and honestly value what their best frequent flyers bring to the mix. LH really saw this whole thing as an opportunity to touch and be touched by a bunch of passionate frequent flyers. I have no doubt that they will reap many rewards because of their efforts over the past few days. Speaking personally, my intention is to start flying LH metal as much as I reasonably can. And I don't intend to wait for the 380 either!
RCyyz is offline  
Old Nov 6, 09, 2:02 pm
  #6  
Formerly known as fsa_ea
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Up in the Air
Programs: DL DM/2M,AA CK/2M,UA GLD/1M,AS 75k,LH SEN,AY PLT,IC RA,FMT LT PLT,HYT GLB,HLT DIA,MRT LT GLD,HRTZ PC
Posts: 2,164
Originally Posted by Shareholder View Post
One of the next STAR site's IT enhancements for 2010 will be an availability search utility to show award inventory on all STAR carriers. This would not let us book on the STAR site, but it would let us do research more easily than now when we'd have to use both the AE site and the ANA one.
That should turn up the heat on UA's StarNet blocking!

Originally Posted by Shareholder View Post
This came after a preface to his answer, something about "certain STAR carriers that only offer business class have too many members redeeming their miles on LH first class, particularly when they can earn these miles from credit cards and magazine subscriptions." Now of course he did not mention AC by name, but how many STAR carriers can that description fit?!
Even better, with US Airways you can just BUY the miles cheap and then redeem for LH first. I just did that this week. With taxes and fees, $1,825 per seat for LH first SFO-FRA-XXX! Thanks US!
The Mileage Millionaire is offline  
Old Nov 6, 09, 6:29 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Seat 1A
Programs: Non-status paid F/J (best value for $$$)
Posts: 4,092
Originally Posted by RCyyz View Post
A small clarification - it was Thierry Antinori who I believe is the senior VP of Marketing & Sales of LH who said that. He further insinuated that the LH team is looking to prioritise Miles & More members (HON then Senators) first on F rewards. I think this makes a lot of sense particularly if they do HON, Senators then *A Golds (then everyone else) in that order. How they would do that will be interesting - I suppose that perhaps the windows for booking will be different (HON get 365 days advance, Senators get 250 days advance, *A Gold get 100 days advance or something like that).
...
My guess is that they would allow HON, and Senators to waitlist on F awards and clear them accordingly?
daniellam is offline  
Old Nov 6, 09, 7:36 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Programs: UA Premier Gold 0.5 MM; BA Silver
Posts: 1,019
Shareholder, I can imagine that your #3 could well be BD! BD certainly stopped Cash+Miles redemptions on LH F, at the apparent request of LH). Now they not only do not allow C+M, but they charge a surcharge for BD miles only redemptions on LH F.

I do not know of another program where a *A partner came in and told them to reign in their redemption rate and discourage redemptions by putting in restrictions and surcharges (that do not apply to other *A partners).
gbsfo is offline  
Old Nov 6, 09, 8:25 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,102
Great report. Thanks for the details.

I'm excited about a universal *A booking tool. I'm wondering how long UA will be able to keep up its cowardly and insidious blocking practice after the change, especially with its new alternate US airline CO joining the Star Alliance fray. I'd imagine people might shift their business . . .
PanHam is offline  
Old Nov 6, 09, 8:37 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: DFW
Programs: AA 1M
Posts: 30,352
Originally Posted by gbsfo View Post
Shareholder, I can imagine that your #3 could well be BD! BD certainly stopped Cash+Miles redemptions on LH F, at the apparent request of LH). Now they not only do not allow C+M, but they charge a surcharge for BD miles only redemptions on LH F.

I do not know of another program where a *A partner came in and told them to reign in their redemption rate and discourage redemptions by putting in restrictions and surcharges (that do not apply to other *A partners).
LH owns BD so I think they can do so. Unfortunate.
UA Fan is offline  
Old Nov 7, 09, 12:18 am
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Programs: OWEmerald; STARGold; BonvoyPlat; IHGPlat/Amb; HiltonGold; A|ClubPat; AirMilesPlat
Posts: 38,180
Thanks for the clarification on names and titles, RCyyz. I got back from my airport tour while M. Antinori was speaking and his authority and presentation made me assume he was LH's pres. He certainly was better informed than our lunch hour speaker [who actually was?]. I also concur with your impression of the various airline folk who hosted us, and made just that comment on the MegaDo thread. But it was also good to meet a few more AC/AE elites, and spend time with others met over the years.

I should add that the biggest issue with STAR is that their members still have final say on how things are implemented, so what the alliance managers would like to see may not always end up in application. But it was stressed that we need to pressure them (and our carriers/FF prgms) to fully participate in these initiatives. This ranges from SQ's refusal to released premium seats on the A380 and its newly configured 777s, access to lounges, etc. through to AC's not participating in mileage upgrading, and UA's STARNet blocking. (Note the IT enhancement will not be a booking engine, just a seat availability tool.)
Shareholder is offline  
Old Nov 7, 09, 2:27 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: YYZ
Programs: Aeroplan E
Posts: 566
Originally Posted by Shareholder View Post
He certainly was better informed than our lunch hour speaker [who actually was?]. I also concur with your impression of the various airline folk who hosted us, and made just that comment on the MegaDo thread.
The lunch hour speaker was Mr. Wolfgang Mayrhuber. He was the CEO of the LH Group.
AC_flyer is offline  
Old Nov 7, 09, 2:32 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Programs: AC 75K, SPG P, CX SL
Posts: 548
Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy View Post
How very interesting... I wonder how that changes the SWU debate.
Please please please don't let it come out of the same allotment as I/R space, it's hard enough to upgrade these days as a frequent flyer without having to compete with the people charging hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in business expenses through their amexs for the points...
ceaton is offline  
Old Nov 7, 09, 3:40 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: SEA
Programs: A3*G, AC, IHG Plat AMB
Posts: 1,588
Originally Posted by Shareholder View Post
"certain STAR carriers that only offer business class have too many members redeeming their miles on LH first class, particularly when they can earn these miles from credit cards and magazine subscriptions." Now of course he did not mention AC by name, but how many STAR carriers can that description fit?!
The first one that springs to my mind would be BD. They're in a whole other league when it comes to earning on non-flying activities, and have been the focus of much LH attention recently, particularly in F. So far LH has, even before the buyout of BD, managed to increase the rates for F from 2.0 to 2.5, removed the Cash+Miles option for LH F (only), and slapped a 10k miles surcharge on LH F when a Zone2-Zone7 RT (London-Singapore with some added gaming of the system) was only 50,000 to begin with. It was almost too easy on BD.

EDIT: Sorry, I realize now that this has all been mentioned before.... I just missed a few posts during breakfast and didn't bother catching up before replying! But yes, essentially just the same thing.

However I'm jealously waiting to hear about everyone's experience at the Mega-DO, and thanks for the info!

Last edited by DJ Bitterbarn; Nov 7, 09 at 4:06 am
DJ Bitterbarn is offline  
Old Nov 7, 09, 4:13 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Body in Downtown YYZ, heart and mind elsewhere
Programs: UA 50K, refugee from AC E50K, Marriott Lifetime Plat
Posts: 5,083
LH does indeed own bmi but it was made quite clear by M. Antinori that the decision to change their FF program (or merge it into Miles & More) is completely at the discretion of the folks running bmi. There's a new Pres in charge of bmi (I think he's a German if that matters) and they're letting him run the show.

As I said, LH understands the flying biz. They also understand that there are regional differences and one size does not fit all. A comment made by a senior LH person (sorry - can't recall who it was) was "one kitchen, many restaurants". He clarified this comment by noting that Germans prepare potatoes in a certain way, but the Austrians do it differently as do the Swiss (rosti) and the Brits (mashed). The raw material is the same, but the end product is different because it suits the market. So to LH, an airplane is an airplane. An LH 747 flies at the same speed as anyone else's 747. So it's the flying experience (including what happens on the ground) that is the differentiator. To LH, this very much includes the FF program.

A final comment - M. Antinori stressed that it's vital to have a strong FF program as part of the flying experince. So it's unlikely that LH will ever spin off M&M like AC did with AE.

Last edited by RCyyz; Nov 7, 09 at 4:25 am
RCyyz is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread