However, Ramsey Qubein, a writer for Business Traveler and and an expert on frequent flier matters, believes the climate for working with airline rewards points is actually better these days due to the online tools, apps and websites that assist travelers in managing their accounts.
Qubein recently occupied a seat in the Etihad Penthouse to Abu Dhabi through points earned. He notes that the monitoring, the calling, the horse-trading that can be done between airlines, their partners and ancillary earning mechanisms are well worth the time, and he believes smart fliers can always gain the advantage.
“Alaska is a big favorite because it’s the only major US carrier to still award miles based on distance flown and it has a lot of partners like American, Delta, Emirates and Korean among others,”he says.
On the other hand companies like Delta are taking these programs and sending them in the opposite direction, says Qubein. “Delta is very challenging because they do not publish an award redemption chart and the website is tricky when it comes to pricing awards. Some can cost as much as 300,000 to 400,000 in points for a business class ticket or 150,000 for economy. Ridiculous.”
Qubein is a 30-something g traveler who has been able to maintain ain elite status with his airline programs. ams. However, this status may not t be as important to fliers in years too come, and it may not be as critical to the wave of Millennial frequent fliers who are about to become the e key market for the airlines.
“For me it is still paramount to maintain elite status but I travel