You Have 18 Months . . . Go!

Frequent Flier Programs, Star Alliance, US Airways

Remember the good old days when frequent flier miles lasted forever? Those were good times. Then a few years ago, the airlines decided that they would start expiring – they required that you earn mileage at least once every three years. Otherwise, they’d expire.

Well, Upgrade: Travel Better points out the sneaky move by US Airways to cut that time to a mere 18 months now. Once you click into the page on the US Airways site, you find that this new policy goes into place on Jan 31, 2007. If you need more than 18 months, you have the option to pay $50 + $.01 per mile to reactivate the account for another 18 months. After that point, they’re gone forever. The horror!

Wait . . . I like this idea.

If you can’t earn a single mile in over 18 months, what’s wrong with you? It’s not like you even need to fly. You just need to earn with any partner. That means you could get the credit card and earn miles, you can stay at a hotel, rent a car, and you can even buy some friggin’ flowers to get miles. If it’s not even important enough for you to do one of those things in 18 months, then you really don’t care too much about your miles, and the airlines should be able to wipe them off their books.

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5 comments on “You Have 18 Months . . . Go!

  1. OK, enough! Did US Airways slip you a little something to spread such anti-consumerish propaganda? Just when I was beginning to trust the CF as the lone prophet of airline truth. I SMELL LOBBYIST! I shake my head at you…

    While this move by US Airways will help to limit the financial liabilities tied to passenger accrued mileage credits, it also serves to dilute the marketing value of having a loyalty program all together. After all, why not extend these terms to make it easier for prospective passengers to become paying ones?

    Also, its not that unusual for people to fly less than once every 18 months. I know plenty of air flight virgins (*calm yourself, Cranky Flier*) in their mid-twenties and beyond.

    For the less frequent traveler, flying may be a more limited need, but certainty one of equal if not greater signficance at time of decision. Thus the availability of frequent flier programs and other price/schedule/package incentives may quite possibly weigh heavier than that of airport regulars like yourself.

  2. It’s amazing how worked up this topic can get people.

    No, US Airways doesn’t pay me anything, and I think that if they did, they wouldn’t be too happy with many of my other posts.

    The reality is that loyalty isn’t created with someone who doesn’t use your product at least once every 18 months. And you don’t even need to use the product. If you order a bouquet of flowers for your mother once a year, you won’t have to worry, because you still get miles for that and it will extend the life of your miles for another 18 months.

    I think that’s hardly too much to ask.

  3. CF, you commie bastage, you’re missing the point yet again.

    It’s not about whether or not you *deserve* to keep your miles if you don’t fly (or use another Mile-generating service) within 18 mo. If you earned the miles, you *earned* the miles. To say it’s OK for the airline to declare eminent domain on your FF Miles account is like saying it’s OK for your bank to take back money in your savings account if you don’t make a deposit in their prescribed timeframe. Using that analogy, why wouldn’t the airline simply freeze the account, stop sending statements (to minimize their cost) and simply hold the customer relationship in limbo? Or allow customers to designate an automatic ‘beneficiary’ (a charity or the like) upon opening an account in the event the account goes into the ether?

    Point being, CF, you’re just a bleeding heart little furball for advocating this sort of socialism from the skies. Have a nice day. :)

  4. Oh please, it’s not declaring eminent domain, because you clearly have the ability to keep your miles if you so choose. Just send your wife some flowers or spring for a night at a nice hotel once a year and you’ll be on your way.

    The airline doesn’t just want to freeze the account because then they still have to keep the huge mileage liability on the books. Yes, it’s non-cash, but it’s still on the balance sheet. There are plenty of miles that will never get used, so I see no problem with requiring activity to keep them active.

  5. When airlines sign you up for the FF program they agreed in principle to give you miles for flight, But then they added a clause in the fine print about “ability to change terms at any time” – just credit card companies. However, what people are complaining about is the “sneaky way” of changing terms.

    Somehow you aren’t getting the point from the perspective of a customer. Sending flowers via mileage malls or using airline credit cards are things you could do, but do you need to? Just to keep what you earned.
    Anyway, this is for others you don’t even need to “buy” anything to keep earning miles, you can do so without spending any money: by joining emiles, or e-rewards both are dotcom sites.
    A few of those methods are listed here:

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