AF/KL accrual rate change

Old May 9, 15, 9:54 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
This is what happens when competition and options decline to the point where the airlines can operate like inescapable public utilities.
How many carriers operate from West Coast airports with one-stop service to Europe? Plenty.
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Old May 9, 15, 10:08 am
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
How many carriers operate from West Coast airports with one-stop service to Europe? Plenty.
How many of those carriers deviate from programmatic cartel pricing, or break from the pack with innovative / better products, service, or FF benefits? None -- except Icelandair with routinely below-market pricing for those who fancy 757s and stumbling through KEF at 500am.

There is not much point in having six or seven "competitors" offer one-stop (e.g. connecting) service on a given city-pair if they all charge the same fare, fly the same aircraft type, leave and arrive at roughly the same time, offer the same weak level of amenities, and treat you with the same level of indifference.

They're not "competing" -- and they don't have to because they will all, in the end, push back full. They are dividing a captive market from a position of consolidated pricing power. Like utility companies.
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Old May 9, 15, 10:16 am
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
Not as a rule. They can be if you hit a mystic trifecta of travel date, destination, and advance-purchase period. I'm looking for fall tickets to the UK and the only business class offers under $3,000 are on Icelandair, whose Saga Class is not really business class at all -- most tariffs are $5k-$6k.
Not to go off on a tangent, but: Dates? Willing to fly from YVR? Willing to fly to CDG? Just last week, DL was offering their nonstop SEA-LHR-SEA for under $2K through 10/31.
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Old May 9, 15, 10:29 am
  #19  
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Originally Posted by flytoeat View Post
Willing to fly from YVR?
Always willing to fly from YVR, and in fact last fall I got a DL economy ticket YVR-SEA-LHR and return for $795 or so when the SEA-LHR roundtrip alone priced out at $1,300+. Similarly, BA PE this fall to LHR is about $600 cheaper ex-YVR than ex-SEA. We are suffering from hub-captive pricing a little in SEA right now.
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Old May 9, 15, 2:16 pm
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
As behavior influencers for most people, FF programs are an ever-more-minor factor.

The whole point of these programs is to drive loyal buying behavior among the broad middle of frequent flyers. The lowest tier of customers will always go for cheap, and the highest tier will usually go for schedule / nonstops / convenience. The rest of us in the middle can be persuaded to buy loyally, pay more and / or accept suboptimal itineraries, in return for FF status and rewards.
I agree. And I'm surprised AS is moving this way because they have no broad international service (Europe, Asia, etc), and those partnerships seem to be an important part of their program. By reducing mileage accrual on international partners, they drive me away from their partners to the cheapest or most convenient carrier, I end up not generating EQM or RDM in the AS program on my international flights, and I'm less inclined to stay with AS as my primary carrier because I'm not very invested in the program anymore. A small move like this will ultimately drive some business away from their own metal to cheapest and most convenient carrier domestically too. If my international travel won't count towards AS, I'll either start flying cheapest and most convenient for all my trips or I'll find another FF program that works better for me. That seems like a poor strategy for AS, but they probably know better than me. It does look like the airlines don't need these FF programs anymore to drive business, fill planes, and be profitable, and they are acting accordingly.
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Old May 9, 15, 3:04 pm
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Figures! I'm looking at both right now for my first flight from YVR-AMS, and was watching the fare class to ensure I earn AS miles. Guess it doesn't matter much anymore. Might as well book on Air Transat and save some $.
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Old May 9, 15, 3:13 pm
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I'm assuming this applies to tickets already booked?
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Old May 9, 15, 5:15 pm
  #23  
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Originally Posted by travel_geek View Post
I'm assuming this applies to tickets already booked?
AS goes by fly date, well they have on the other devals. AS promos are also based on fly date vs registration date. Sounds like IT issues don't allow them to go based on booking or registration dates
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Old May 9, 15, 6:49 pm
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Originally Posted by CDKing View Post
AS goes by fly date, well they have on the other devals. AS promos are also based on fly date vs registration date. Sounds like IT issues don't allow them to go based on booking or registration dates
IT issues are not the only problem. They could decide to allow tickets purchased before the earning changes to earn full value mileage when someone calls in and can prove the ticket purchase date. That would cost them some miles, but would solve the customer frustration issues. But they also choose not to do that either. I don't think it would cost very much to do that. My guess is that there aren't that many tickets out there that are impacted, and lots of folks are not going to notice the earnings difference. For those of us that do notice though, it would be a reasonable thing to do.
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Old May 9, 15, 8:05 pm
  #25  
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Originally Posted by tcraig View Post
They could decide to allow tickets purchased before the earning changes to earn full value mileage when someone calls in and can prove the ticket purchase date. That would cost them some miles, but would solve the customer frustration issues. But they also choose not to do that
Alaska calculates that reneging on the promise in place when you booked the ticket will hurt them less than stepping up to honor it on their own dime, which is disappointing from a company that claims to be a customer service paragon.
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Old May 10, 15, 1:44 am
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These earnings reductions do change behavior. AA (and KL) got a lot more of my flying this year, to compensate for the DL changes.

On the other hand, after KL schwacked RO earnings last year, I've been flying Wizz Air. It's not worth paying $20-30 more to fly on RO, if I'm only going to earn 25% miles.

I suspect that we'll see reverses on some of these changes in the next few years (industry wide). The short term savings from these changes will eventually be overshadowed by changing customer behavior (that is, changes like this don't exist in a vacuum, in the long run).

The ideal options now for earning seem to be segments. AFAIK, nobody is offering fractional segments, so find a segment deal and eat your heart out.
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Old May 10, 15, 6:33 am
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Originally Posted by WhIteSidE View Post
I suspect that we'll see reverses on some of these changes in the next few years (industry wide). The short term savings from these changes will eventually be overshadowed by changing customer behavior (that is, changes like this don't exist in a vacuum, in the long run).
I definitely hope you're right, but I fear the general flying public is not nearly as tuned in to their mileage earnings as the average Flyertalker is. Sure, people like us will dramatically change their flying behavior (I flat out do not fly Delta anymore out of principle), but 99% of the traveling public wont change a thing. Unfortunately, the only thing that most people consider is the lowest possible up front price. Consideration for for extra charges like seat selection, meals, and ultimate returns from mileage programs is almost nonexistant to Bill and Mary who fly once a year to visit their children in Oklahoma.

Hopefully I'm proven wrong, but I don't see enough people changing their behavior to cause a switch back to the traditional system.
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Old May 10, 15, 11:08 am
  #28  
 
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I can't blame AS for these changes, which are put into motion by their partner carriers. It does make reaching Gold a bit more challenging. I scored some big savings flying YVR-LHR-TXL this fall, and then the EQM dropped from 100% too 50% Still worth the extra slog to the north.

Yep, it does suck, but I think I'm more irritated at the prices out of SEA for European or Asian flights. If DL is successful in building SEA into an ATL or JFK style hub, it will only get worse.
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