Guest Blogger Post: Milenomics’ Naughty List of 2013

Note: Today’s post is guest blogged by none other than the big man himself.

Sam’s away, and I have the day off (the Elves are working on overhauling the sleigh) so I graciously offered to take time off of my Holiday Schedule to guest write these next two posts.

The Original Frequent Flyer

I’ll take a moment to introduce myself; There are frequent Flyers, and then there’s me, Kris Kringle. In one night I fly more than most of you do in a lifetime–75.5 Million miles in just 31 hours. Due to Santa Global Entry (SGE) I’m able to cross borders without any customs forms or wasting any of my precious time. In fact, when Sam asked me what my T-Rate was, and I told him, “on Dec 24th I calculate my T-Rate in the $Billions.”

Surfing Santa
My Love of Surf is almost as big as my love of Cookies and milk!

While I rarely Fly commercial I have been known to slip down to Hawaii in January (I’m not a snow-bird, I call myself a Snow-Reindeer) and relax with Mrs. Claus. I also enjoy the surf, once my back has recovered from hauling all those toys that is.

Little Known Fact: Mrs Claus insists we fly coach, when we’re traveling for vacation. In 1972 her insistence of this ignited the great debate, Coach or First Class? I lost that debate; but I did put a pretty sweet Lie-Flat in my sled last year (Thanks to my friends at Dragon Air):

I went with the lie flat so I can stretch out while we do our TPAC and TATL flights.  The reindeer take 6 seconds to go TPAC and 4 seconds to do TATL, so I really enjoy the seat for those 10 seconds.
I went with the lie flat so I can stretch out while we do our TPAC and TATL flights. The reindeer take 6 seconds to go TPAC and 4 seconds to do TATL, so I really enjoy the seat for those 10 seconds.

I’ve Made My List, and Checked it Twice

Sam asked me what my Naughty and Nice list looked like, and if he could take a peek at it.  I offered to write up this list for his blog instead. And so, I present Santa’s 2013 Milenomics Naughty list, representing the ten worst developments in Miles this year.

10. Delta Devalues their Award Chart–Twice. I don’t fly Delta very much, but I know Milenomics is a fan. When they announced a first devaluation that was bad. But to go back and devalue again; even Rudolph knows better than that! Just look at the award chart now:

Delta 3 levels
Seriously? Was the incremental increase in mileage that important that you need 3 different charts?

9. Loss of Alaska Airlines Debit Card. Being so close to the North Pole Alaska is my go-to carrier.  Most of my elf suppliers don’t take credit, so the AS Debit Card was my go-to mile earning card.  Now that the card is leaving I’ll have to look elsewhere to pay the Elves for the toys they make.

8. US Airways Award Fees and Booking Engine. 2013 and we’re still charging an “award processing fee?” No one ways, unless you get sneaky, and no way to book partners online make for a very customer un-friendly experience.  Yes there are great values to be had with US miles, but the hoops to jump through to use them are Naughty indeed. Once the merger was in the cards any hope for an updated booking engine in 2013 went out the window as well.

7. US/AA Merger. I’m putting it on the naughty list this year–I just hope next year I look back and regret having it here. Many of my Elves are AA EXP and US Chairman’s Preferred (due to all their flying back and forth for parts and R&D). The elves are worried about the combined number of elites, and the format of the program. With little hard answers we hope for the best, but expect the worst.

6. Flyertalk, yes, that Flyertalk. What happened to you? You used to be so cool? Everything was easily accessible in the MilezBuzz forum.  Then they split off Manufactured Spending and all Credit Card related discussion. Now everything is a mess. Flyertalk is still the #1 source for all things important; but getting that information is so much more difficult now.  I wish for 2014 things would turn back around, and general Mile realted discussion was all funneled into one forum again, but I have a feeling those are wishes that will not come true.

5. Citibank devaluing Thank You Points (TYP). The reason Milenomics calls TYP a,
Fixed Value Closed System Credit Cards,” is because their value is fixed. Not so when you’re Citibank, who swooped down and decreed the value of them be reduced from 1.33 cents to 1.25 cents for travel.

4. Variable Load cards being pulled by Office Depot.  Blame the Bloggers, Blame the thieves, blame each other, but February made 2013 look like it would be a bad year for Miles. (Fortunately that wasn’t true).  The rumors that these cards would be pulled were around for a long time, but then the hammer fell, and they were removed in early February.

3. Incomm shutting people down, treating them like criminals, and keeping their money. The lack of Customer Service and the general treatment of their customers as criminals is a shameful thing.  Sure plenty of criminals use their products, a fact which seems to be turning Incomm into criminals as well. When you keep someone’s money without cause you’re on the Naughty List for sure!

2. Chase, for shutting down accounts across the country. And not only your account–but also your mother’s, brother’s, and anyone else at the same address. This would be like me, Santa giving everyone at a home coal for Christmas just because one little boy or girl was bad that year.

1. United Changes the very nature of their program. PQD requirements, Devaluing their award chart, and splitting partner awards out as a separate “second class” are bad enough. Raising fees, charging for changes that used to be free (on award tickets), and the general downward  trend, from worse drinks in the club, to lack of compassion from front-line employees make you #1 on S.C.’s Naughty list this year.  All while bringing back the “Fly the Friendly Skies” campaign.  United, you’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.

That’s the list, at least as I have it folks.  Sam will be taking comments, I’m off to continue oversight and final preparations for the 24th. I’ll be back tomorrow for my 2013 “Nice” list, with all the best that happened this year in the world of Miles.

Until Then,

Yes, I know my handwriting is awful and looks like your Parent’s wrote it with their left hand. I have carpal tunnel!








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About the author

- Written by Sam Simon. All ideas are my own, but I encourage you to see my point of view and I promise I'll try to do the same. Connect with me on Twitter @Milenomics.


  1. Dear Santa,

    I must confess that I do not celebrate Christmas, and this year Chanukah arrived with the Thanksgiving turkey. I usually just try ignore all the seasonal hoopla, but having joined the miles ‘n points game during the past 12 months, this year I have been inundated, beseiged and bombarded by too many websites that want me to spend, spend, spend! They offer miles, points, cash back and discounts to sweeten the deal, but basically they just want me to swipe my cards until you finally take to the skies to deliver all those gifts. And I’ll bet you all my orphan points that they’ll be back all too soon with January clearances!

    But this post actually made me chuckle; I loved the accompanying photos and your way with words, which is almost as good as Sam’s. So I am writing to you – my first ever letter to Santa – to say thanks for sharing and for selecting Milenomics as the place to do it. Please tell Sam that I love his blog and that I wish you both, along with Mrs. Claus and Mrs. Sam, a wonderful Christmas and happy new year.

    Safe travels!

    1. Elaine,

      I had just settled down to write my next guest post for Sam, but your letter found its way to me instead. Consumerism… the bane of my existance!

      A true story just for you: 7 or 8 years ago I invited Amazon Executives to my toy factory/distribution center. We briefly discussed a partnership, but the details fell apart once we got to the cookie-sharing agreement. Two months later I see my Elf tech behind Amazon prime 2 day delivery. And now I hear they’re working on flying gifts to the home! (I’ll get you Bezos!)

      And so I’ll leave you with this: If you must overspend, overspend your time with friends and family.

      I appreciate all the kind words,


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