Are frequent flyer miles worth sacrificing privacy?

The Uber story in the latest episode of Level1News (5/23) inspired me to de-Google myself. That got me thinking: Are frequent flyer miles worth it? Airlines do a similar thing—using personal information to select the highest price a given consumer will pay. If they haven't started using machine learning yet, they almost certainly will in the future.

So, with that in mind, will I save more money by avoiding an online account with airlines and frequent flyer miles all together? They would still get my name and email after the purchase, so it isn't like they wouldn't have any of my data. Still, even if I did have an account with an airline, I could just log in after selecting a ticket in a private browsing window.

Whatever the case, they wouldn't be pushing frequent flyer miles and online accounts if it was financially beneficial to them, which makes me think it isn't in my best interest. That, and there may be privacy concerns I am not even aware of. Thoughts?

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As you said, If they don't use machine learning already it's bound to happen soon.

I have an issue with accounts in general, I don't like when companies have my info so I try to have as little accounts as possible (or at least not under my own name, but that's kinda difficult when it comes to air travel). So that means no accounts with airlines etc.

In fact go one further and use a different airline whenever possible so that no single airline can form any kind of detailed profile based on your traveling habits. That means you go somewhere with Delta and come back with United, for example. the next time you go with American and come back with Delta. Etc etc

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Because you have to provide your name and pay generally via credit card or PayPal they have all the info they need for data mining.

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That is an interesting way to think of it.

I am going to have to say no. I am not sure it is a matter of getting you to pay top dollar for a flight you want as much as it is a matter of getting you to take flights you don't want.

So for instance if they see you have flown to a particular place a number of times, they might offer you a good deal on tickets to get to that place if they need people to fill up seats on that flight.

I say screw it and play both side of the bet to see what works out best for you.

On a side note, I would not be too concerned with your data security and the airlines. The point of security is to make it hard for someone to abuse your data. You don't have to stop living life and give up your frequent flier miles. The airlines will figure out who you are and where you are going because of your credit card information and your drivers license.

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That's a really good point—frequent flyer miles are probably a way of getting people to take underbooked flights. Playing both sides of the bet seems like the way to go in terms of getting a good deal, and it isn't like they don't already have data on me, so as you said, screw it. :slight_smile:

from working for a company that does a lot of flying Frequent flyer miles are just a way to lock you in with an airline. The amount of money you spend to get rewards is only good enough to keep you using them but not enough to make it an amazing deal. and the credit card companies and airlines already have access to tracking your personal info based on what has to be provided when you go on a plane.

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That's a good point; my current strategy is to get the cheapest direct flight and not factor in how many miles I'm getting by one flight over the other. Would you say that sticking to one major airline for the purpose of getting more miles saves or costs you money? Or just comes out about the same?

Most carriers provide cheap flights and frequent flyer miles are not a bad deal just not as great a deal as the airlines try to claim.

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