Senators question airline frequent flyer programs, citing reports of ‘unfair’ practices

A United Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane passes a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 while taking off from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as seen from El Segundo, California, on September 11, 2023.Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Roger Marshall, R-Kan., asked the Department of Transportation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help “protect consumers against unfair and deceptive practices in airlines’ frequent flyer and loyalty programs.

“While these programs may have originated to incentivize and reward true ‘frequent flyers,’ they have evolved to include co-branded credit cards and now often significantly or exclusively focus on dollars spent using these co-branded credit cards,” Durbin and Marshall wrote in the letter they sent to the agencies.The letter cited reports that “airlines are engaged in unfair, abusive, and deceptive practices with respect to these loyalty programs.

Durbin and Marshall’s letter said the airlines can make changes to their loyalty programs without notifying the consumer; that there’s a disparity between the value of points at purchase and at redemption; and that the charge for transferring points is so steep that consumers ultimately lose the value of the points in the transaction.

Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, speaks during a news conference following the weekly Democratic caucus luncheon at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, Sept. 6, 2023.An industry analyst predicted that the airlines will push back on the lawmakers’ letter.

“I expect the airlines are going to fight this aggressively and paint a picture of doom,” Henry Harteveldt said. “There’s going to be some drama around this, that’s for sure.” “Airlines have been changing the value of their loyalty program credits for decades,” Harteveldt said. “This is not new. And airlines have constantly been changing the benefits people receive and don’t receive.”The senators on Monday also asked how the DOT and CFPB are planning to address the airlines’ practices and if they have the regulatory authority needed to protect consumers.

Senators ask US regulators to address airline frequent flyer programsSenators ask US regulators to address airline frequent flyer programs Read more ⮕

Frank Howard, Senators legend and World Series champion, dead at 87Frank Howard, a four-time All-Star, World Series champion, manager and Washington Nationals Ring of Honor member, died Monday at the age of 87. Read more ⮕

Frank Howard, the Washington Senators’ ‘Capital Punisher,’ dies at 87One of baseball’s most feared hitters, the gigantic slugger belted the final home run for the old Washington Senators in 1971. Read more ⮕

Frank Howard, 4-time Washington Senators All-Star, dies at 87Frank Howard, a four-time All-Star who slugged 382 home runs during a lengthy major league career that included a World Series title with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1963, has died. He was 87. Read more ⮕

Legendary Washington Senators slugger Frank Howard dead at 87Frank Howard, a towering power hitter for the Washington Senators during the 1960s, has died at the age of 87. Read more ⮕

Top House GOP group urges Speaker Johnson to work with senators on border securityThe House Republican Main Street Caucus sent a letter to Speaker Mike Johnson on Tuesday morning, urging him to look at three sets of priorities. Read more ⮕