The price of loyalty really comes with a price now.
What to Know Now
Airline loyalty programs are going to have an interesting year. American is in the process of converting over to a revenue-based program, while Delta and United continue to slash their elite ranks.
For consumer, this means fewer miles in pocket and a longer path to elite status. But for a few — those with the corporate card or deeper pockets — there may also be improvements thanks to extra premium class bonuses and fewer elite flyers competing for perks.
Among the various states of the mileage industry roundups, View From the Wing has perhaps the best deep dive into the year to come for mileage hoarders. In short, it’s going to be a rough year for most of us. What’s more concerning is the question of what 2017 will bring.
Social Quote of the Day
Since I have achieved @Delta Diamond Medallion Status, @hodgman has agreed to continue speaking to me in 2016.
Costly Airfares Keeping Fans Away From College Football Championship: The average secondary-market price for tickets to college football’s national championship is the lowest in years and well below the New Year’s Eve College Football Playoff semifinals. Read more at Skift
United Airlines Provides Additional Details on Recovery of CEO Munoz: United Airlines released a short statement on Wednesday revealing that CEO Oscar Munoz had undergone a heart transplant earlier in the day. Read more at Skift
Lufthansa May Make More Money in 2016, Thanks to Cheap Fuel: Deutsche Lufthansa AG is forecasting that operating profit will rise in 2016 as fuel costs decline a fourth consecutive year. Read more at Skift
U.S. Domestic Flights Continue to Get Cheaper: The latest government data shows that U.S. airfare continue to slide, even if flyers may not see a big difference due to increased fees and other costs. Read more at Skift
Southwest Loses Gate Skirmish With Delta Over Dallas Love Field Slots: Delta Air Lines Inc. can keep flying out of crowded Dallas Love Field, a federal judge ruled, thwarting a bid by Southwest Airlines Co. to control 90 percent of the near-downtown airport. Read more at Skift
Federal Government Blinks, All State Drivers Licenses Still Accepted at Security for at Least 2 Years: The federal government was threatening not to accept drivers licenses from 9 states at airport security checkpoints. But it is not happening and won’t for at least two years. Read more at View from the Wing
Uber Is Trying to Start a Price War With Its Rivals in the U.S.: Uber Technologies will drop prices in 80 North American cities on Saturday. The ride-hailing company hopes the move will increase demand in a seasonally slow month. Read more at Skift
The suitcase of the future will follow you around like a puppy: The biggest innovations in suitcases in the past year or two have been focused primarily on two things: Giving travelers the ability to track the location of their suitcase, and providing a backup battery for the many modern devices travelers carry. But one company is taking it a step further: This suitcase follows where you lead. Read more at Mashable
Ace Hotel New Orleans Is Now Taking Reservations: A former furniture store in the Big Easy has found new life as a hip hotel. Read more at Conde Nast Traveler
The Value of Guest Data for Hotels: For the hospitality industry, every visit, every request, and every challenge that hotel customer-relations management and operations can solve on-site represent opportunities to better understand guests and services. And each opportunity is capable of being evaluated through a data-analytic lens. Read more at Skift
Robert De Niro’s Caribbean Resort Plan Draws Criticism: In the year since the government of Antigua and Barbuda and investors led by the actor Robert De Niro announced plans to open a luxury resort on the smaller of the dual-island nation, protests have surfaced and the project has stalled, though the government vows construction will begin this year. Read more at The New York Times
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Photo credit: American Air's existing Economy Plus offering. American Airlines