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« Five Ways to Snag the Mileage-Award Seats You Need | Main | Tips for the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia »

December 08, 2009

Should You Stay Loyal to Your Loyalty Program Or Call It Quits?

When your preferred airline or hotel chain suddenly changes its award-program rules, devaluing your precious miles and points, at what point do you bail and throw yourself into another program's arms? That's question #3 in the FlyerTalk Challenge, from reader Jenni:
"With miles and points constantly being devalued, how do programs expect their members to stay loyal?  I run everything through my program credit cards, and I focus on one airline program and one hotel program to maximize my status and points. Do I start over when a program (ahem Hilton HHonors) changes its structure...again? Or do I ride out the storm and hope the program managers come to their senses?"
Most frequent travelers are smart to focus their efforts on just one airline and one hotel program, but doing so means that you're at the travel company's mercy when it suddenly changes its award chart. Since many of us have been in the same situation, I was very curious to read frequent-flier guru Randy Petersen's advice for Jenni. Randy recruited two FlyerTalk experts -- KiwiFlyer, who co-writes FlyerTalk's blog The Gate, and Pizzaman -- to weigh in too.

Their consensus? Stick with the Hilton HHonors program for the time being, but keep an eye out for the occasional HHonors award promotion that will double the value of your points, and always be on the lookout for a more suitable frequent-guest program as your travel patterns change. You can read the complete answer to Jenni's question here.

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