Thursday, February 28, 2008

Is this how loyalty is repaid?

Am I the only person who thinks these points systems redeemable for flights are the biggest scam ever? This past week, I needed to set up a flight back east and decided to try and redeem some earned points.

I started with Aeroplan (Aeroplan is the points collection mechanism for Air Canada - for you non Canuckians). As far as their web site indicated, I indeed had enough points to fly to my destination and back, but when I applied to redeem them, there weren't any remaining flights to be had for that many points, only flights that needed 50% more - minimum! Worse, these higher point cost flights were not direct - oh no. In some cases, I would have visited 5 airports on my journey. So much for that.

Next, I was about to try Air Miles. Darlene told me about the hoops she has to jump through to book a flight through Air Miles and I freaked. She said be prepared to be on the phone (waiting included) for about 2 hours, maybe more. That's right - you can only redeem Air Miles by phone, which of course puts pressure on me to accept whatever crap flights they toss my way. The more I thought about the effort involved, the more depressed I got. Especially considering that Air Miles flights aren't exactly free - you still have to pay the fees and taxes, often in the order of several hundred dollars.

None of this really seems like a good deal to me. I try to be objective, reminding myself - you are getting the offer of flights for free. But to me it's like being promised a prime steak and getting a cheap hamburger.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Karl,

Sometimes it works better... yes, Air miles took me a little while, but more 20 minutes than 2 hours, and I'm going to Calgary May 21 to June 1 - Keep me a cold one! ;)

The biggest problem I had is that their call centre is probably in some foreign country and the girl didn't seem to speak either official languages - pas une bonne idée du tout!

Totally agree for the aeroplan however - A calgary - Montréal flight shouldn't involve a stay overnight in Winnipeg...

See you in May!