Joe Ganley
Writing code since 1979
I have been a professional software engineer for over 10 years. I have written many kinds of software, but my particular strengths are interactive graphics applications, compilers and interpreters, and algorithms.

I also enjoy writing, woodworking, and home improvement. Also this.


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Thursday, April 26, 2001

I flew United last December, and they messed up in all the usual ways (e.g. we took off 1.5 hours late), plus a few new ones (e.g. we ran out of water halfway across the country, so no-one could have anything to drink or use the bathroom). For our inconvenience, they gave us each a $25 United discount coupon. I wrote them a nasty letter, and sent back the coupon, explaining that they could keep it because (a) I didn't plan to fly United again if I could help it, and (b) Even if I did, my work buys my tickets, and I always buy my personal tickets with miles, so the coupon is useless to me. Their response was to send me back two more discount coupons. So, for my next two roundtrips, I managed to avoid United altogether except for D.C. to Raleigh and back. The other flights, on American and Midway, went flawlessly. The United outbound was cancelled, and the return took off 3 hours late. So, I continue my attempt to boycott United. Toward this end, I would like to get rid of my United Visa and replace it with a different travel card. The
Travelocity MasterCard caught my eye. With it, you earn a "point" for each dollar you spend. However, nowhere on the entire site can I find an explanation of what a point is worth. It mentions that the 4,000 points you get as a signup bonus are worth a $100 discount, but it isn't clear if that is the normal rate, or if it is some sort of signup special or a sliding scale. Sigh. But in any event, I suspect that Orbitz is going to seriously cramp Travelocity's style anyway, so I don't want a big collection of "points" locking me into using Travelocity. Update 5/5/01: The rate is 8,000 points gets you $100 off at Travelocity, i.e. the payoff on purchases is 1.25% (the payoff on interest is higher). Pretty weak payoff for a premium card that charges an annual fee; Discover pays 1% with no annual fee, and my United card pays about 2% (assuming the conventional wisdom that frequent flier miles are worth about 2 cents each) with an annual fee.

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