Let’s face it – there’s no doubt that we’ve seen a ton of changes in some of our favorite loyalty programs over the last few months… and most have been for the worse. Specifically, we have seen devaluation announcements from Southwest, Hyatt, Delta and United, just to name a few.
The good news is that most programs give pretty good notice before the changes kick in. On the other hand, there’s always the sneaky players (cough Wyndham Rewards) that are far less courteous in giving notice before the changes are “discovered”.
What it really comes down to is this – programs are constantly changing, and it’s causing me to re-evaluate my “points portfolio”. The term “points portfolio” simply refers to the 87+ programs, between Mr. Points Traveler and I, that are being monitored in my AwardWallet account. Sure, diversification of points and miles is key, but there also comes a point of reality check: is it worth it to invest time in certain programs if they do not serve you well?
Here’s what I’m saying goodbye to:
Wyndham Rewards: Wyndham Rewards and my family have had some joyful moments a few years back. I remember the race-against-the-clock excitement of purchasing thousands of points and transferring them to airline miles. I also have the glorious-memory of using Wyndham points for my worst hotel stay ever – a windowless jail cell, complete with creepy teddy bear wall art (hey, at least I got a good story out of it). That’s pretty much it for me in terms of Wyndham points.
To top it off, Wyndham recently drastically devalued their program (in terms of transferring points to airline miles) even more without even giving notice. I’m not a fan of being in a relationship with a program that can not properly communicate, so with 1,531 Wyndham points set to expire in just days, it doesn’t pay to keep them alive. Bye bye, Wyndham Rewards.
Delta SkyMiles: I am convinced I have never flown Delta before even though my dad insists I have about 10 years ago. What does that tell you? I’m sorry to say it, but Delta is one airline I don’t give any attention to. Not only do they not work for me in terms of location (I am EWR-based), but their loyalty program just stinks in my opinion. Sure, I’m sure many Delta lovers will rebuttal by saying there are plenty of “gems” in their award charts, but I’m just not intrigued enough to even care. Am I a bad person to say that I would fly Delta in the case of a too-good-to-refuse mistake fare if one should come up in the future? Maybe (at least I’m honest). But for now, my zero balance with Delta SkyMiles will continue to stay at zero.
Hilton HHonors: Hilton was never a preferred program of mine from the start (nothing personal), and with so many other hotel programs that I focus my time and energy on recently (my current obsessions include Club Carlson, IHG, Kimpton, SPG, and Hyatt), it’s just not worth it to continue the aggressive pursuit of HHonors points. I’ll give Hilton praise though – their mid-tier HHonors Gold status is pretty solid (free hot breakfasts, free wifi, room upgrades, nice treatment, etc), but their points-redemption value have drastically devalued to the point where I don’t see myself ever going out of my way to earn them again. The free night certificates from my Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa were fun though. So long, Hilton.
Spirit Airlines Free Spirit: Need I say more? The one and only time I flew with Spirit Airlines on a LGA-ORD round trip for under $100, I had to dodge all kinds of ridiculous “extra fees”, only to be stranded in ORD on the way home. I learned the hard way that it is sometimes better to pay a little more to fly an airline that actually cares about having you as a valued customer. Purely speaking in terms of their loyalty program (if that’s what they want to call it), it’s not an easy program to make redemptions in to begin with, and the miles have a very limited shelf life. Considering that I’ve already made the choice to never fly them again, I don’t see a need to even entertain the idea of tracking my miles with them.
Hawaiian Airlines: I’ve tried to give Hawaiian Airlines a shot in my book, but I was never able to organically grow my balances past 1,000. Back in the day, you used to be able to earn Hawaiian Airlines miles on Amazon.com purchases, and transferring those miles to Hilton points used to be a good value. Now, however, the program hasn’t shown me much excitement, and with my balance set to expire yet again in a few weeks, it’s safe to say that I probably won’t ever have much use for Hawaiian Airlines miles in the future. If you can convince me otherwise, I am all ears.
What programs are you cutting loose from 2014 and why? Any similarities to my list? Would love to hear about your choices!