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-   -   Is it just me? (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/milesbuzz/4290-just-me.html)

2 Many Miles May 23, 01 9:19 pm

I'm of mixed feelings on this subject.

First off, I want to establish that the benefits are NOT free. I pay a lot of money every year to hotels and airlines. Last year I probably spent well over $150,000 on airlines and hotels. I didn't spend too too much on car rentals.

I most certainly chose which hotels I stay at based on their affiliation. It factors into the room cost, if I have to pay for a suite, or if I'm going to get upgraded -- this is why I think IC is the best chain to have status at.

When I fly, I factor in the cost of lounge memberships and paying for premium classes versus using my status.

I don't expect the companies to fall over themselves and bow whenever I walk by. But at the same time, I do expect to receive all of the published benefits of the programs, every time.

Think of it this way -- if you went into a store that advertised "Buy two, get one free" and the clerk said that he didn't want to give it to you, or that he hadn't hear of the sale. That would probably upset most people. It's the same way with the hotels. Hilton advertises "Make gold, and get free breakfast every tiem you stay with us." It's no different than a Buy Two get One Free sale.

Being elite doesn't make me a better person -- but it does mean that I've qualified to a better "contract" with the companies.

Watchful May 24, 01 5:22 am


Originally posted by pynchonesque:
Something I see every time I'm checking in for a UA flight: the customer in line in front of me begins the conversation with the employee with a gruff statement like "I'm a 1K" and instantly starts demanding rule-bending -- not even a hello. The funny thing about this is that I find that a friendly, self-effacing manner, and a smile, can often get one many more perks than even the highest-level diamond/platinum/whatever cards.
When I am in line behind a self-righteous elite person giving the poor gate agent hell, I grin as I imagine the jerk checking in at St. Peter's desk and finding out he (it always seems to be a "he") has been reassigned elsewhere http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/smile.gif

pynchonesque May 24, 01 5:28 am

Watchful,

One needn't resort to waiting for religious punishment. I am of the opinion that these people get the short end of the stick even in this world. Everyone knows that it's common practice among restaurant employees to spit in the food of obnoxious customers -- I think airline employees do similar things to those self-righteous "elite" types.

ETOPS01 May 24, 01 5:46 am

The troublemakers always seem to have the words, "... And I'm a gold member, yadda yadda yadda" during their rants to gate agents, hotel agents, etc.

I once sat across from this guy and his family ranting on and on about how they were "promised" by the gate agent that all four of them could be "seated together" because he was a "gold member," only to discover when they boarded (just before the airplane door closed, mind you) that they were, in fact, separated by an aisle.

After listening to this dork go on for 15 minutes whining to the Concierge (on Continental), and mentioning that he was a "gold member" maybe fifty some-odd times, I just got enough and called out to him, "Don't you see there are no four contiguous seats anywhere on this aircraft... I'm sure the gate agent knew that too whenever she supposedly promised you about keeping you all together... and by the way I'm Platinum, you're outranked, so I'm telling you to just shut up."

Got a nudge from the FA's every time they walked by.

Even us "Elite" folks don't care for the nonsense that some of our elite peers put EVERYONE through. Some of us happen to get elite just by virtue of what we do - travel a lot, out of neccessity - and not because we're inherently better people. Unfortunately, some people confuse these marketing credentials of "status" as validation of their personal value, which is as misguided as it is pathetic.

I suppose these types want to be treated like royalty when the only royalty about them is that they're royal pains in the asses.

[This message has been edited by ETOPS01 (edited 05-24-2001).]

NoStressHere May 24, 01 6:36 am

Don't EVEN get me started on this one. This is NOT a loyalty or frequent customer program. They give these to anyone. Read >>anyone, even on the first visit.

And, this is the biggest scam piece of crap in American Marketing. All they do is mark up the goods, then give you a discount so you feel good. I have actually gone to different stores because I did not have my card with me and did not want to fill out another **** form.

One chain where I live has finally dropped it and gone to normal specials and pricing. I shop there as much as I can.



Originally posted by Watchful:
...Many other businesses do not automatically treat frequent customers specially. How would you feel about a special checkout station at the grocery?

Here in Houston, many of the grocery stores now have specials that are good only if you have a shopper card with that chain.



[This message has been edited by NoStressHere (edited 05-24-2001).]

NoStressHere May 24, 01 6:46 am


As to the original posting. Right On! You go!

Not only do you make some great points, but you continue to make good points. And, you have broken one of apparent rules in posting and won. Usually when a 'long' post is made, it gets worse and worse and full of nonsense. But you really make it work.

Yes, it is amazing what the airlines have done to us. We will take connections that cost us hours of our "valuable" time. We book a more expensive airline to get segments and miles. We will change flight times just to get an upgrade. We will pass on $400 coupons because the next flight can not give us first class. We will drive 10 more miles in rush hour to stay and the right hotel, and probably pass may others that cost less on the way.

Yet, when a flight is running 30 minutes late, we act as if our life has been ruined and we might as well call Dr. Kervorkian. Go figure.

Thanks for the dose of reality and a good laugh.

robertson May 24, 01 6:54 am

Homey,

I agree with your sentiments. Too often people believe that people will respect them purely because of the color of their card that they wave under the noses of the staff with whom they deal. The problem is that for many frequent travellers, they feel they have the right to a two way relationship. They give large sums of money to one company over another, and feel they should receive some recognition for it.

A flight attendant wrote a letter to a business travel magazine a few years ago and said, 'You get what you pay for. If you go to a car dealer and buy a little hatch back, when you go to collect it you shouldn't expect to get a big six-cylinder'. This is certainly true. But what if it was less clear cut than this. What if you had bought a hatch back each year at the same dealership for the last ten years. This is not as fanciful as it sounds. A friend of my grandfathers bought a brand new car, of the same make, every year at the same dealership for thirty years. Now in this circumstance, it might be reasonable to expect that while the car delivered would be of the same make, it would have a higher trade-in value, or be given a set of mag wheels for free. The traveller - service provider relationship is where the travller scratches the back of the service provider and in return the service provider scratches theirs. Airlines in particular realised the nature of this two way relationship and therefore instituted systematic and less arbitrary upgrade systems etc.

Where the line should be drawn is the demanding of services and offers which are clearly beyond the realms of possibility. Many travellers are guilty of this. What reassures me is that like the Continental airlines example mentioned above, some flyers do have compassion and are able to stick up for the staff who are bound by rules of politness and deference. Mind you, I do not quite know why the CSD or whoever was being complained to simply did not say, 'Sir, we would love to seat you together, but as you can see the flight is full and this was the best we could do. I apologise if it inconveniences you, but unfortunately this was the best that was possible under the circumstances. We are aware you have gold status, and it was the recognition of this status that got you seated in the positions you are in now.'

Homey, this site needs voices of conscience like yours. I agree with your views. The clothes certainly do not maketh the man.

ETOPS01 May 24, 01 7:40 am

Robertson -

For the sake of clarity, that's essentially what the Concierge was saying, but the guy just still kept going on and on and on...

... and it was as plain as the guy was obnoxious that the cabin was configured 3-3-3 where he was sitting! (What did he expect, have a maintenance tech come in and reconfigure a row just for this bozo?!)

[This message has been edited by ETOPS01 (edited 05-24-2001).]

PG May 24, 01 8:07 am

Nice post homey. We need diverse viewpoints like the ones in your post.

Tango May 24, 01 8:47 am

flying for status can make a difference some of the time. If your status gives you double miles, the value of those miles (for reward tickets during peak times) is worth more then what it would cost to buy those tickets.

Two round-trip tickets to Europe in the winter will cost you (during sales) no more than $800 total. The miles earned on this translates into a peak award ticket to Europe in the summer that would cost (to buy) much more than the $800.


cigarman May 24, 01 8:54 am

I agree 80%. I always make fun of a certain high profile poster who always complains about the hotel changing the brand of mineral water. It's like looking for waldo...in ever one of his trip reports he always mentions the water. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/rolleyes.gif I find a certain airline seems to have a high percentage of these elitests. Currently they have posts about linen service slackers and missing godiva chocolates... say hello to UA flyers...
But having said that. I come from humble roots and I agree with you most of it is hot air. But, some perks are important. And I am proud of my platinum card. I EARNED it. Sure it isn't my self worth...BUT I flew hundreds of segments to earn it. I suffered through countless "fun" trips to the airport. Dealing with parking, delays etc. I do have some (and this I think you agree is key) REASONABLE expectations.
As for the poster who kinda poked fun at the status posts under the "from" part of our ID. I think they benefit the community. If someone asks a question and they recieve a answer, it gives you a feel about the credibility or knowledge of a poster. A platinum probably knows more than a silver. A good example is in the CO forum right now. A well meaning silver level flyer gave some really off the base advice on international upgrades (how easy to get). I countered they were mistaken. Now who does the newbie believe? I think the status potentially gives you a clue who has done it more times. I fly 300 flights a year. The other poster might fly as little as 2 to earn silver. Anyway, just my thoughts.

fparker1 May 24, 01 9:20 am


Originally posted by cigarman:
...I find a certain airline seems to have a high percentage of these elitests. Currently they have posts about linen service slackers and missing godiva chocolates... say hello to UA flyers...

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/wink.gif



------------------
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MileJunkie May 24, 01 9:28 am

homey, i think there are obnoxious people everywhere, with or without a status.
While I agree with most of your post, I do want to reiterate what previous posters so eloquently stated: when I was in mid-20's and just started traveling, i would sit in the back, in the middle seat, and stay at Motel 6 (literally). No complaints, i was happy to travel and see places. And i would feel great no matter when or how i got there.

Now in my mid-40's, no more! i've seen places, and how and when i got there matters.
After 20 yrs of travel, i've learned there are cetain things which will make me more effective and productive (i travel for business, my clients pay for me to come and solve problems) when i get there. That includes restful night, upgraded room or not -- but, based on my experience, I stand a better chance to get a good night sleep when upgraded. Ditto with the flight - FC is a lot easier on my old body.
so, do i feel special? not really, but i care about the treatment. do i feel entitled? not really, but i appreciate the perks.

homey May 24, 01 10:41 am

fellow travel enthusiasts,

this turned out to be a good discussion. we have good people in here, i like it. everyone has very thoughtful responses.

here is the summary (i think): no matter how badly the travel company lets us down, no matter how elite-metal we are, we do not have the RIGHT, nor are we ENTITLED to abuse their employees. in short, we should strive to be nice, no matter how tired, how pissed off, how re-routed, and how middle-seat we are feeling. just like they are supposed to be, right? i bet a lot of people are pissed off at the notion that THEY have to suck it up, when they are the ones paying the money. you can stick up for your rights, and point out that the hotel is not honoring the contract, but you cant be a dick about it.

as Fters, we should strive to set a new standard for customer behavior. if i walk up to a desk with an FT t-shirt, i want the clerk to think, "oh goody" not "oh sh!t."

think about it this way - you wont be judged based on how you are treated, you will be judged based on how you treat others.

for those in a rush, quit reading, the rest is all details. for the curious, keep going, but watch out, its long, and kinda preachy.

here is how i approach these things: regardless of the *contract* between me and hotel chain X, when im in the lobby getting my room from the clerk, we are two human beings, with real lives and emotions. at that moment, i am not a number, and they are not a huge faceless corporation. its me and frank, and the goal is to get a good room, and a partially hydrogenated snack. yeah, i can wave a print-out of the perks in franks face, and make a fuss, and blind him with the reflective glare of my well-worn elite card, but what if there was a better way? how the heck did people get good service and perks BEFORE there were frequent traveler programs? by being NICE! (being rich and paying a ton of money helps, but you still get your spat in.)

reducing it to that, me and frank, two humans trying to get something done, here is my final comment on this.

[soapbox mode = ON] http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/smile.gif

people do not care about your emotional state, they care about THEIRS. its human nature to focus on yourself, and no amount of customer service training is going to make one person REALLY care about helping another. only you can create conditions so that the clerk *wants* to help you. ironically, it isnt about you. thus if you want them to do nice things for you, your task is not to impose YOUR hurting emotions on them. rather, it is to identify and empathize with whatever emotions they are experiencing. if you tap into their emotional state, and if you talk about THEM and not YOURSELF, they will enjoy themselves in your presence, and you will get superior service. thats the key.

understand that it is REALLY HARD! it takes a lot of practice and patience.

hint: do this before they know your name, your elite status, etc. take the initiative and be nice first. then if there is a problem with your reservation, they will think, "this person is a good person. it would be wrong for them to get hosed." and they are way more likely to help you.

for me, the goal is to get a good room, etc, not to hurt the clerk, even if i am hurt myself. thus, the above strategy is the one i use. it works with everyone, by the way, not just good old frank at the hotel.

im not special, im not good looking, im not rich, im not famous, and im a mediocre tipper. all i do is forget about myself and focus on them for a few SECONDS, and boom, stuff happens. my behavior says, "YOU are elite." instead of "*I* am elite."

[soapbox mode = OFF]

ziobacio May 24, 01 10:52 am

Just curious, why do so many assume that only young, college-age people care less for perks and more for getting there? (I suspect that I am older than most of you -- early 50s.)

I also travel on business, although nothing like some of you who spend 100s of days a year in the air. You have my sympathy!

To politely continue the discussion, why do so many of you contend that *you* deserve special treatment when it's your company paying the bill? (This excludes self-employed road warriors, obviously.) If your company bought a fleet of Caprice sedans, would the employees who drove them expect special treatment from Chevrolet? If your corporation buys all its cabinets from Steelcase, do you expect a nice new desk for your home?

I think the resentment, if any, of not-so-frequent travelers is that this is a zero-sum game. Special consideration for Titanium Exclusive members means less-titled travelers get less attention. I've seen discussions on these boards about the audacity of proles trying to use overhead bins and WC above their "class". Arguments about whether it's proper to keep all of Coach travelers in their section until the Upper Classes have gotten off the plane. A Super Duper Traveler spends ten minutes with a gate agent trying to wrangle upgrades, and the next traveler gets short shrift. Or FC desk agents stand around while commoners wait in line for one over-worked agent. A new kind of class warfare?

Recently, in Austin, there was an interesting story about a popular local restaurant (Matt's El Rancho) being so crowded that some long-time customers were trying to get earlier seating by pointing out that they had been going there for 20-30 years, etc. The response was almost unanimous that the long-timers were pushy so-and-sos, and they should take their chances on seating with everyone else. Restaurant mgmt forebid staff from giving such special treatment.

Sorry for the long post -- I suspect the sides will never agree, but it is an interesting discussion!


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