Good news for the miles junkies out there…
As an admitted collector of miles (or points depending on the program), I read with interest a recent article by Randy Petersen, the Publisher of Inside Flyer magazine. Titled “Web tools for frequent flyers,” it described how venture capital is funding start-up companies whose value propositions are all about making you a more intelligent frequent flyer. Not only will the tools keep track of how many miles you have, but they will also help you determine which bonus offers are best for you, which offer delivers the best bang for the buck, and how you should plan your award usage over the years ahead.
Now, as I fly to Vegas for The Beat.Live conference, I’m reminded that I’m more a collector of miles at this point than a redeemer. And that’s not because I’m trying to get on A&E’s Hoarders (which, if you haven’t seen, is worth a look just for the shock value). Rather, my redemption tends to lag because I either don’t make the time to use my miles or I have trouble redeeming when I do want to fly for fun. Although I have to say, my daughters have discovered this new form of “free” currency and have made a nice dent in my stockpile as they jet back and forth to school or wherever, and they don’t seem to appreciate how hard I work to earn this stuff.
I’m not sure where you come out on this one, but a tool that shows me how to collect more miles and helps me use them better would be very cool. And it sounds like some people agree, including some VCs who are usually wary by nature (I’m guessing their inner “miles junkie” kicked in when they funded these start-ups). Anyway, look for a few of these to hit the radar including; MileageManager.com, UsingMiles.com, MileWise.com, and Superfly.com, because I’m guessing the frequent flyers in your travel program have already noticed.
As to why I bring it up, our industry has debated the pros and cons of frequent flyer points and their impact on a managed travel program for years, and these new entrants might prove a boon or an irritant, depending on your perspective. Whatever you think (and maybe you didn’t think), at Carrying On we take seriously our pledge to keep you informed (and thinking), so consider yourself warned. Because I’m guessing this will grab the attention of some of your most frequent travelers who might now have a new inventory management tool of their own.
As for me, I’m all for it. I’m not sure how these new companies plan to make money, but if they charge a small fee for their services, I figure I can use my credit card and collect some more points.