There are some companies out there that are HORRIBLE. They’re the ones that make you roll your eyes and sigh a few times when you hear their respective names. Of course, that’s not healthy. But you can sometimes feel a little better about the whole thing when someone else agrees with you; a someone who or a something that justifies what you’re feeling about those lousy places that give you nothing but agida (Hey, I’m from NY…look it up LOLOL). Welp, an online site called 24/7 Wall Street came out earlier this year with its list of the top 20 of American’s Most Hated Companies of 2019 and lo and behold (and to no surprise to anybody), a few of them are in the travel industry. Take a look…
Just when I thought I would maybe, possibly consider flying on Spirit, they graciously gave me another reason to go back to “Nope, no way, nuh-uh.”
One of the bombshell announcements from the Southwest Airlines earning call was that starting November 3, 2019, they would stop flights from Newark Airport and consolidate flights to the New York area to LaGuardia Airport. Now, I don’t know if anyone other than those who have lived in New Jersey knows the difference between getting a flight from Newark or a flight from LaGuardia. First of all, there’s the getting to and from the airport. Many people in New Jersey can take public transportation to Newark Airport with NJ Transit to the AirTrain. If not, they can drive there and only have to pay a moderate toll on the Turnpike or Parkway. When I lived there 20 years ago, we could drive there on HWY 1&9 and didn’t have to pay a thing besides the airport parking fee. The good old days. But New Jersey residents getting to LaGuardia would be kind of crazy – it’s not close, it would take at least two trains, and there’s a lot of traffic if you decided to drive it. So not really a realistic alternative.
I’m sure that the NJ residents who were accustomed to flying on Southwest weren’t happy with the news, so I decided to look at where Southwest flies from Newark and what options are still available. (Spoiler Alert: I hope you don’t mind flying on United)
A two-year-old boy climbed onto a moving conveyor belt at ALT earlier this week, which resulted in him falling through a luggage chute in one of the airport’s baggage rooms.
One of the benefits of having a premium American Express charge card is a yearly Air Travel Credit. If you have an American Express Gold card you get a $100 credit and cardholders of either the Personal or Business Platinum card you get a $200 credit. These credits have often been touted as an easy to way to offset the high annual fees of these cards but I’ve been leery of doing that as I never felt these credits were the same as cash.
Since for as long as I can remember, it’s been possible to skate around the rules of these credits and find ways to use them as cash, most often by buying airline gift cards or gift certificates. Slowly but surely, American Express has been shutting down those loopholes. Who knows if this is the work of the RAT team or not but there’s been a constant push to make you use these credits as intended.
The first thing to go was the trick to use the credits for United flights (but this might as much been United’s doing as AMEX). Just this year the easiest way to cash these credits out for American went away. At that point, I didn’t want to say I told you so but the writing was on the wall. That day has now come as apparently the gift card workaround is now dead for the remaining two airlines, Delta and Southwest.
So if these methods to use credits are gone, what are they good for and which airlines would those benefits be the best for. Turns out, not the airlines you’d think.