I shared the below as part of my remarks at the Travel Hacker 101 Meet-up that I co-hosted with Richard Kerr. If you aren’t a member of the Travel Hacking 101 Facebook Group, you are missing out.
A new world, with AAdvantage Program Changes
We all gather here today, to celebrate the amazing life, of the Mileage Run. With American’s changes to their elite status qualifications, we must change. This is a wake-up call. A rebirth, if you will. For those of you loyal to any particular airline, and for those of you starting out, or just not loyal to any particular airline, it is time to embrace other airlines.
I hope to offer you some airlines to think about.
In the Western Hemisphere, you could fly:
JetBlue, which has an amazing culture as long as you don’t mind connecting in New York or Boston for the most part. Both great cities by the way.
You could fly Southwest, just don your Cow Bell, and don’t forget to get the single best opportunity in travel hacking, the Southwest Companion Pass, where by earning just 110,000 Rapids Rewards Points in a single year, allows you get to nominate a companion, who can fly with you for free, for the remainder of the current year and all of the next. If you don’t have a companion, look to your right, look to your left, it is a great way to make friends.
And then there is Delta which is a great airline operationally, I mean if you want to get where you’re trying to go, anywhere close to on time, Delta is your airline. And you get some SkyPesos too. I’m still not sure how to use them, but, you get them anyway.
There are other airlines in the western hemisphere, but, lets think bigger:
Overseas, you could fly Qatar Airways, It is after all, Richard Anderson (the former CEO of Delta)’s Second favorite airline. And as an added bonus, it may be the only airline where you can board an A380 via air stairs, rather than a true jetway.
You could fly IcelandAir which is actually a pretty nice airline for being a low-cost carrier and if you fly them to Europe you can have an Icelandic stop over with an IcelandAir stop over buddy!
You could try Bangkok Airways, a true Boutique Airline, that has a mobile lounge set up by the gate with beverages and cookies, and, has audacity to serve a meal, on a 45 minute flight from Phuket to Bangkok.
You could fly British Airways but, then you’d have to connect in London-Heathrow, so lets skip that BA.
You could fly Air France or Lufthansa, both airlines have very nice products The only problem is that every month or so, and sometimes even more frequently, one union or another, within the airline goes on strike.
There is nothing worse then arriving at an airline counter just to find out your flight has been cancelled. I take that back, worse than arriving at airline counter is arriving at the Lufthansa first class terminal only to find out that your first class experience has been rebooked on United, that can make a grown man cry, if you don’t believe me ask my wife.
But we must remember, other than those who are independently wealthy, we would not have the opportunity to travel the country if not the world without travel hacking. Remember also: we all have one common interest: travel.