Much has already been said about the changes United MileagePlus announced last week, especially regarding its partner awards. You don’t need me to pile on, except that I have to add that even I was a bit surprised at just how much they jacked up partner redemption rates. I already said a little about what I thought was coming several months ago when I posted Seriously, It’s Time to Think About Tomorrow. Then there were my couple of random thoughts on the dog finally wagging the tail and not the other way around here and here. I caught a little flack about all of that, most of which I wouldn’t post on a nice clean blog like this one.
I’m sorry, but I’ve never subscribed to the theory that the airline exists to support the frequent flyer program. Believe me, the reality is quite the opposite and that reality is now dawning on many for the very first time. The things that are happening are a predictable conclusion in a world of airlines being managed like semi-actual businesses and 85 percent and higher load factors. That truth remains the same whether US Airways and American merge or not.
Just as predictable is the truth that “the end” is not here, but that the game has changed. It will be interesting exploring the new reality. We will figure it out.
-MJ, November 4, 2013