TripIt is doing the right thing for its users by coming up with a work-around to track the loyalty programs of airlines that don't want to be tracked by third parties. Delta, United, Southwest and American are still playing hardball.
TripIt Pro, which offers loyalty-program tracking as one of its services, introduced a manual way for users of its online and mobile subscription service to keep tabs on their miles or points accruals from American, Delta, Southwest, and United a couple of years after these carriers informed aggregators that such tracking violated their intellectual property rights.
Instead of users entering their program information and having TripIt Pro automatically update their airline, hotel and car rental, and other loyalty accounts, TripIt Pro informed users of its subscription service ($49 per year) that they can manually forward monthly or quarterly statements from the four refusenik airlines to [email protected] and TripIt will update their information.
One of the advantages of such services is that users can view all their loyalty program information in one place, on a single website or app.
Without stating it explicitly, TripIt believes that users forwarding their own program information to TripIt rather than TripIt using an API or retrieving program account information itself from the airline websites should ameliorate any intellectual property concerns.
But, Delta, for one, doesn’t see it that way, arguing that it still has a problem with such services because, in Delta’s view, passenger loyalty account information is actually Delta’s intellectual property.
“While we understand some customers use other travel tools to consolidate information, we do not have contractual relationships with them,” the airline states. “Delta does not allow the use of data from delta.com by unauthorized parties. The Fly Delta app has been consistently rated highly by our customers and we plan to continue offering highly usable information for their travel experience.”
TripIt’s manual loyalty program updating capabilities are included in iOS and Android app updates that went live over the past few days.
TripIt Pro’s Point Tracker lost much of its appeal for U.S. users with the absence of four major airlines so TripIt came up with what it sees as a solution.
“We’re introducing this new Point Tracker option and continuing conversations with airline partners,” a TripIt spokesperson says. “Our mission is to make life easier for travelers, and our goal is to give users secure access to as many reward programs as possible, in one place.”
“We are still dedicated to continuing conversations with travel-industry partners towards a solution that works for everyone,” the TripIt spokesperson adds.
A unit of Concur, TripIt Pro also offers flight alerts, the ability to share them with family members.
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Photo credit: The Delta SkyClub bar at LaGuardia Airport in New York. Delta Air Lines