Why are there no songs with lyrics like "when I was old...?" The recent discussions about millennials got me to thinking (with lots of song lyrics in my mind, including the Animals, Frank Sinatra, Exordium's In the Year 2525, etc.
Zager And Evans - In The Year 2525 Lyrics | MetroLyrics). We travel differently at different ages, and as technology evolves (or devolves, depending on one's point of view) we want and need different things.
To make a long story, short, when I first started traveling abroad in the late 1980s and 1990s, I was a grad student then assistant professor on a basic salary (depending where I was), and I still couldn't travel much since I had no money of my own or research grants. It started to change when I taught for a few years at Wellesley and Harvard, but they were minimal travel grants (like 1/3 of a plane ticket to Europe). When I got the tenure-track and tenured job at Colby everything started to change, but it was worse before it was better. While I was still in Boston, I not only taught at one/two colleges, but also worked full time at Mass Gen Hospital. So Colby actually made my financial situation much worse since I couldn't work other jobs.
Fortunately they gave grants of $3000 a year for research (which has pretty much remained the same). There were not euros in the 90s so it was easier, but now it's not and the euro is worth more than 1.37 times the dollar. So that's partially where I come to the stages of life.
- When we start out we do what we can and hopefully are as savvy as possible (for me that meant Delta and first Hilton then Marriott loyalty programs)
- This works till it doesn't -- it worked a long time, I have to admit, especially with Delta
- One reaches elite status in one or more programs, and expectations increase based on what one has received in the past
- People become loyal. It is a part of their being to rack up miles and points even when it is inconvenient (I did this both with Delta and Marriott)
- People get really elite status and think wow, I'm important -- until they're not
- FAST FORWARD to 2012-2014 with diminishing rewards and possibilities on both airlines and hotel programs
- DECISION TIME -- stay or leave?
I left Marriott (though never MRI) about two years ago. I have had about 2-3 total hotel nights in Marriotts in the past two years. I remained loyal to Delta throughout because they'd remained loyal to me. Suddenly they are not acting that way any more. The dollar has trumped the passenger. My letters remain partially answered, mostly not (and AMEX has been worse than Delta).
I think I finally got some messages through to Amex corporate heads today, attaching the Delta letter stamped EXECUTIVE PRIORITY, adding in my message(s) that it was a shame it is impossible to contact Amex via email despite one's status level.
All of this brings me back to the point that when I was very young, these were very good deals. But as I have gotten older, as the deals have decreased in value, as the costs have gone up, I have found my voice in many ways. I no longer stay at a hotel chain, but do get serious loyalty benefits, mostly through hotels.com. What I do with Delta largely depends on what Delta does with me. If they continue the path to 2015, I will use my Platinum Medallion Elite Plus status to burn up my more than 500,000 miles in the next year in order to get the best seats. If they consider changes in policy, so will I.
As for Amex, I'm done, unless I get a major apology, clarification about Skyteam Clubs, and what I get for my huge annual payment.
When you get older, you need more amenities, like comfortable seats on planes, comfortable beds and pools in hotels, and recognition that at least you have been loyal. That never mattered to me when I was young -- I was simply happy to be in places i'd never been.'
But now the days grow short, I'm in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine from fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs, and it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year