The internet exploded with the discovery of the Alaska Airlines’ devaluation for Emirates F awards. I say “discovery” instead of “news” because Alaska failed to announce the changes to the public with adequate notice (totally lame). Now they are blaming travel hackers in their Q&A about the devaluation.
As someone who just flew in Etihad’s First Class Apartments, my goal was to try Emirates next to compare the two. I even went as far as considering flying Emirates F from JFK to Milan on an upcoming family trip to Italy, but I couldn’t justify getting my 2 year old his own F suite when it took me until I was 23 to fly first class for the first time (United, what a treat…). The kid has to earn his stripes, so a $600 round-trip United fare will have to do.
Well it appears that my Emirates dreams might be over for now, but that doesn’t mean that travel hacking is going anywhere. The cool thing about “hackers” is that they find solutions in ways that maximize value, so that’s why we’ve “survived” every painful devaluation, the demise of manufactured spending, and the death of “fun” promos to earn boatloads of points (US Airways Grand Slam Promo, anyone?).
Even with credit card companies imposing “5/24” rules and “once-in-a-lifetime” bonus restrictions, people are looking for other ways to get a large sum of points relatively quickly.
What comes to mind for me? Complaining.
Sad, but true, complaining is the next “best way” to get free pity points quickly for some. Complaining about a hotel having spotty wifi, or saying you had a restless night thanks to noisy neighbors is a surefire way to get some points, especially if you’re a top-tier elite (through a status match, of course). Some people get as many as 25,000 points for such “burdens”. The same goes for airlines (although they’re not as generous now as they were in the past).
I am certainly not suggesting this behavior; instead, I am thinking it won’t surprise me if people go down this path more frequently as a way to “justify” paying more for an award.
I also will note that with modern CRM technology, complaints are often being marked on your “record”. After too many “complaints”, you might get “dumped” as a customer when they realize that doing business with you is costly and does not provide much value.
Devaluations feel like salt in a wound when they’re first announced, but as with anything in life, if you want something badly, you’ll “work” for it, right? SMH…
Do devaluations eventually lead to new all-time lows? Is this what addiction is all about?
What are your thoughts?