A friend of mine forwarded this article by Chris Elliott, lover of loyalty programs. I kid, of course, about loving loyalty programs. The premise of the article is that business travelers are finally wising up and parting ways with loyalty programs in the face of recent changes. For sure, some travelers, perhaps a lot of travelers are reflecting on what it means to be loyal and taking a hard look at what next year will bring, especially if they tend to fly Delta or United. But quitting?

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I’m the first to say that one should take stock of where they are with their loyalty programs from time to time. Travel needs change, company policies change, the world changes. It’s a fact of life. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the article –

“I will definitely be loosening up my allegiance to Delta,” she says. “Value and convenience are now my top priorities.”

Here’s my thing. Why is it that it took the shift to a “revenue based” program to make anyone’s priorities “value and convenience?” For sure, living where I live, Delta is always the first airline I look to for my travel needs. I have Platinum Medallion status (upgrades, free bags when needed, priority boarding, etc). I don’t want to miss those things if I don’t have to, and the benefits of status add real value for my travel dollars. But I won’t fly Delta at all costs. Notably, it did not take the coming arrival of SkyMiles 2015 to help me reach that conclusion.

Yes, change is coming to loyalty programs, but it’s not the end of life as we know it. If you have to fly, there is still value in joining your program of choice. You might be better off participating in a partner program and crediting your miles there, that’s an individual decision. Do your homework, take stock of where you are every now and then, but don’t just leave value on the table because it feels good “sticking it to the man”….temporarily.

-MJ, August 11, 2014