Finding “Normal” In Crazy Times

The last eight months or so of the pandemic have moved by at an incredibly rapid pace and glacially slow at the same time. Prior to ye old COVID-19, life had a sort of cadence for me, though there were plenty of imbalances. With all of that upset, we’ve all tried to find ways to achieve normalcy.  During the beginning of the pandemic, we escaped to a rural ski area a few hours from our house in western Maryland.  A friend had a vacation house there they weren’t using, and […]

We’re All Hoarding Points & Miles. Does That Mean They’ll Be Worth Less?

American Express points out in a recent article what most of us already know.  If you’re earning points and miles via a travel reward credit card right now, you’re earning at a much higher rate than your redeeming them.  That’s if you’re redeeming at all.  AMEX makes the point that many folks are hoarding their points and miles until they can use them again for travel.  Will that be in 2021?  2022?  That’s a really good question, and it’s also where the problem comes in. Popular travel reward credit cards […]

Whoa! (Targeted)10 Points Per Dollar On All Spending On Advantage Aviator Silver MasterCard

We all know airlines and hotels are hurting right now.  The COVID-19 pandemic has been brutal. In a nod to the reality that 2021 isn’t likely to be a “normal” travel year, some brands are already making big moves.  Hilton was the first hotel chain to lower elite status requirements for next year.  Airlines are jumping in, with American Airlines going first and United not far behind.  But, it’s not just enough to lower status requirements.  That only helps generate revenue if people want to travel and your value proposition makes them […]

Finally! United’s Return To JFK Means Cheap Award Seats On Transcons

Throughout the pandemic, one thing that I noticed was a lack of truly affordable awards for domestic flights.  Even in the face of an unprecedented drop in demand, cheap award seats were hard to come by.  In the beginning of the pandemic, I wasn’t searching often.  As COVID-19 has stretched on, I’ve started to search more frequently as friends have asked for help finding flights.  Uniformly, I’ve not found nearly as many saver awards as I would have expected.  Even on routes that consistently have some saver award availability, such as Washington-Dulles […]

United Treating Pilots Better Than Their Best Customers To Help Navigate COVID-19

Airlines are facing an incredibly unique set of challenges.  The “winners” from this time period will be those that continue to make the best decisions possible.  There’s certainly no playbook for navigating a pandemic while trying to run a massive airline. Admittedly, I’m running behind on writing about this story.  A few weeks ago View From The Wing covered news that United Airlines had made some unique concessions to their pilots to help them navigate COVID-19: Pilots also achieved permanent, positive-space First Class deadheads, with stand-by eligibility before paying passengers, […]

Hilton Goes First, Dropping Elite Status Requirements For 2021

Travel brands across the world have been struggling with how to get customers to travel since the start of the pandemic.  Many of those offers were patchwork in the beginning to solve a problem that seemed to be measured in weeks, maybe months.  Six months later it’s clear that travel is on a very slow path to recovery and major travel companies need a long-term plan.  Hilton recently made clear how much they value increasing/retaining their loyalty ranks in 2021. Hilton Reduces Elite Status Requirements Early on, Hilton was the […]

HELP WANTED: Hiring An Intern

Boy, have I been swamped lately…… I need your help!  Between my blog and podcast (with another surprise or two on the way) I’ve just run out of time.  I much prefer writing and recording than social media, but that’s really just me putting my head in the sand.  So, I need someone who has a bit of social media experience and a lot of excitement to work on a part-time basis as an intern/coordinator to help me make things great! The right person will be willing to maintain a […]

Why It’s Time To Start Lowering Hotel Award Redemption Rates (Probably Not Why You Think)

As 2020 starts to wind down, there have been plenty of announcements from airline and hotel loyalty programs designed to keep members engaged.  The first salvo revolved around reducing the requirements needed to earn elite status.  This was at a time when it seemed like we might get back to some level or normalcy fairly quickly.  Heck, at that point I thought I’d be home for 3 or 4 weeks and then back on the road.  Little did I know then that I probably wouldn’t get on another plane this […]

Hyatt Announces (Mostly) Customer-Friendly Extensions And Changes

Hyatt has announced some more changes and extensions to key benefits that should benefit most travelers.  In light of the virtually unprecedented financial impact of COVID-19, travel brands have had to quickly adapt.  Back in April, Hyatt moved to extend elite status and other key benefits such as free night awards.  At that point, nobody was really sure when travel would rebound.  The big chains made the decision to wave the white flag on getting loyalty members to qualify for status in 2020.  Now, Hyatt is tweaking a few things […]