Airline Loyalty is a Drug. Here’s Why.

I’ll tell you what – the airline loyalty game is really working as intended, both for the airline and me. To be honest, it’s a drug, and I just fell for the ultimate trap…showing how real this drug is. Let me explain a little bit here.

My parents and sister are headed to Texas this summer for a two-week vacation, and I wanted to have the chance to visit them, even if only for a short while. Because my schedule is so jam-packed, the only thing I could make work was to leave early on a Saturday morning, and return home late on a Sunday evening. For me, that’s not necessarily crazy, though I can understand for many it’s just not worthwhile.

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Because of planning, I needed to fly into San Antonio, TX and then out of Austin, TX, so, my first instinct was to fly on American, since they’re not only my preffered carrier, but also operate out of the Dallas hub, with probably frequent connections to both cities. Here’s where I fell into the trap, not even realizing it until I had everything booked. I never looked at another airline to shop compare when purchasing this ticket.

It’s interesting. Literally, I went right to, found the flights that worked for me, and I booked it, without a care in the world to try to check out United, Delta, Southwest, or another competing airline. Loyalty works, and I’m the example. As an Executive Platinum, American feeds my complimentary upgrades, free changes, and free food – and it’s those simple things, and more, that made me book a trip without realizing that I could have looked elsewhere, perhaps for a cheaper price.

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Was it the french toast that made it worth it?

Was it the french toast that made it worth it?

Honestly, when I book these flights, I realized I’d probably get upgraded on most of them – an early morning Saturday Dulles to Dallas flight was sure to clear, followed by a 737 to San Antonio shortly thereafter. Then, a return from Austin to Dallas, and onward to Dulles – I’ve found upgrades to Dulles to be much better than of counterpart Reagan.

To be honest, I’m not going to look at any other airlines to see if prices are lower, now that I’ve booked my ticket and the schedule and upgrade opportunities look good. But, I used to be a different person – I used to shop around feverishly for the best deal Now, I’m suckered into one airline and alliance, just because of the perks I’ll get and the status I need to maintain.

The loyalty game really works. At least on me.

Have you ever booked a ticket before without shopping around, just because you’re loyal to one airline?

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  1. Ira Barrows says

    Not so much for flights but for hotels. As a Platinum Card holder in Accor for many years, I don’t even look at other hotels in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago or DC. I get upgrades, often paying cheapest price and getting huge suites, recognition and contacts who help me get the same benefits in Sofitels wherever they are located. I used to look for cheaper options but, like you, are addicted to a brand,

    That said, airline status is much more difficult to reach and there are would always be those with more who would get the upgrades. I prefer to fly the classier airlines (SQ, CX) but price and convenience are still factors.

  2. Roddie says

    I’ve done the same too often with American, Hilton, and National. I travel a lot for my son’s hockey “career” and frequently pay more for flights, cars, and hotels so that I can either maintain status, or take advantage of the few perks that status brings.

  3. says

    I don’t check other airlines either unless AA doesn’t fly where I’m going or unless AA’s route is too convoluted. I don’t have status but I’m a total miles junkie.

  4. Rob says

    I’m the same. I’m Gold with Virgin Australia and UAE them for all leisure trips as well as work. I don’t check the low cost competition, just book with them and enjoy the perks I’ve earned plus rack up the points.

  5. William says

    As a Delta FF, I generally stick to them, but if another carrier beats them by more than $75 for the same routing, I’ll book that carrier instead.

  6. Joe says

    My first stop whenever I’ve needed to book a trip has been Google Flights. I haven’t been flying enough to earn status.

  7. Daniel Mullen says

    I will always use ITA but unless AA is more that 20% higher than the competition, I will book AA for the same reasons. In addition to the perks of status, it helps to know all the rules and processes of a particular airline, and in the case of IRROPS it helps enormously to have status! EXP for 2 years and I maintain that mainly with leisure travel.

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