Dec 30 2010
Our browser is warning us of an untrusted connection. Pulling the links down until the situation can be confirmed as safe.
In the 2009 film, “Up in the Air,” George Clooney’s character crisscrosses the skies with the dream of reaching a milestone: ten million miles flown on American Airlines. As this blog post so eloquently notes, cynics doubt that such a milestone is physically or logistically possible. I tend to agree, if only because managing so many miles would have driven Clooney’s character to the psych ward sometime in 1998.
First of all, it is rare that business travelers fly one dedicated airline anymore, much less consistently over the course of decades. Throw in multiple Web accounts, log-ins, passwords, not to mention expiring miles, confusing redemption rates – tracking the miles becomes nearly impossible. Make no mistake: “Up in the Air” is firmly rooted in the genre of fiction.
If the film were non-fiction, then we most certainly would have seen a cameo by GoMiles.com. GoMiles addresses a tremendously real need: it allows you to manage frequent flyer miles, all on one dashboard, quickly and intuitively. And it’s free.
In this world of information overload, GoMiles takes varying, disparate streams of information – air, car, hotel, and other accounts – and consolidates it under a “single pane of glass.” More importantly, GoMiles is a proactive platform. It alerts you when points are due to expire and helps you prevent them from expiring. All the while its search engine helps you decide whether to buy a ticket or redeem miles. (If only GoMiles reminded you to buy your wife an anniversary gift, then it’d be just like those saucy middle-aged travel agent-women of yore.)
GoMiles’ site is simple: helpful screen shots supplemented by key talking points (“Manage Everything in One Place,” “Earn More Faster”), and a big green button encouraging viewers to try the software for free. So I did. I signed up and was promptly asked to add an account (Airlines, Hotels, Cars, or Other). After being assured that my information was encrypted with the best technology available, I added my Continental OnePass information. It took a few minutes while GoMiles retrieved the information, then there it was: my name, my current point balance, and latest bonus offers from Continental.
Up until this point, technically, GoMiles is no different than Continental’s page. But now we see the difference, and the value that GoMiles adds. For starters, I could translate my points into US domestic round trip coach tickets. I could also consider deals and bonuses to help me burn miles faster; for example, GoMiles suggested a Continental credit card that yields 25,000 free miles. I could also search for flights. Unlike searching for flights within, say, the Continental page, GoMiles pulls up flights from multiple airlines – eight, to be exact. I pulled up a Continental flight within my parameters and (sadly) it alerted me I needed 7,000 more miles for said flight.
Most importantly, I could then add additional accounts, using the aforementioned process. Upon doing so, all my accounts appear on one dashboard. And that’s where GoMiles’ proactive features are really useful. For example, as previously noted, GoMiles alerts me when my miles are expiring (fortunately, my Continental ones aren’t.) The more airlines and accounts one has, the more this feature is critical; after all, what’s your other recourse to manage multiple accounts? Tracking them yourself in Excel? Pullleazze!
Ultimately, GoMiles is like a Mint.com for miles – one-stop miles management, which, unlike other competitors out there, is free. It takes information from multiple platforms and accounts and provides a single, consolidated view, allowing users to seamlessly manage frequent flyer miles. It also takes the power away from occasionally inept travel departments or assistants, and emboldens you, the flyer, to make smarter decisions on how you use your miles.
Which brings me back to Clooney. No doubt, parts of “Up in the Air” ring true. For example, his character, who conducts wholesale layoffs for employers unwilling to do it in-house, speaks to the unease percolating throughout working America today. And the movie’s use of absurd corporate lingo to assuage the laid-off also strikes a chord with anyone who’s ever worked in a stiff, buttoned-down environment. But effortlessly racking up 10,000,000 frequent flyer miles without a tool like GoMiles to streamline accounts, manage bonus deals, and intelligently redeem points?