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October 27, 2008 8:24 AM Subscribe
Do consumer loyalty programs make sense or is it generally better to pick hotels and flights based on price and convenience?
posted by 2bucksplus to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My boss and I travel together on business about 12-15 times per year and all but one or two trips per year are domestic.
My boss is tied to one airline (American Airlines, ugh) and has 2-3 preferred hotel chains that he will go out of his way to patronize, often at a price premium. I prefer to travel on whichever airline is most direct and best for our schedule at a lower price and generally stay in the hotel most convenient to our event.
Is there any general consensus as to whether reward programs ultimately pay off versus lower priced and more convenient schedules? Should we factor in the time spent on a layover when a competing airline offers a direct flight or cab fares to get us across town? Did reward programs make sense at one time and have they worsened over the past 10-15 years? Has anyone ever done the math or should I keep a running tab of the cost and time differential?
I should also mention that I am mid-twenties while my boss is in his fifties and I believe there is a generational difference at play here. Yes he is my boss and also the owner of the company so this question is ultimately academic. Neither of us use our points for "personal" travel (I would but I fly JetBlue personally). To my knowledge, we have never accumulated enough hotel points to get anything free and we only use our frequent flyer miles to upgrade our flights to first class.