Travelers Advantage is a Traveler’s DIS advantage


It should be called Traveler’s DisAdvantage

I’ve had really bad results with Travelers Advantage over many years of membership. The only reason I stick with this horrible service are the “bribe” rebate coupons they send each year when I threaten to cancel. These roughly cover the cost of this horrible travel service but it’s time to get rid of it. I think the “hotels at half price” may still be about the same as online pricing if you have the time to mess with it and make a lot of calls but their call in reservations system is scandalously expensive given that you are *paying them* to find deals. I’d like a *single example* of TA beating Hotwire pricing for comparable hotels or a few examples of them beating out a Kayak.com hotel search.

Example: Booking for a specific Days Inn in CA today I was getting many different rates. I called TA and asked them to match the online price. Nope, they said, and suggested deceitfully that they were using “real time” rates and probably I could not get the lower rate. Travelers Advantage had $75 plus taxes where my initial search gave me $67 including taxes. I pulled up their “low price guarantee” and read it to the customer servicer who just kept insisting on the high rate. Although it’s possible they would have eventually refunded the difference I’ve seen such “guarantees” before and they often try to take advantage of loopholes and BS. I didn’t want to book and then hope to get justice months later.

So… back to Days Inn website which had even lower rates than earlier (or I missed an option there), so I went ahead and booked at 204+tax for the 4 nights vs the 300+tax I would have paid Travelers disAdvantage.

But here’s the funny part: After I booked at Days a chat box came up saying ‘hey, would you like to save $30 on today’s reservation? Sure I said. Up came this: “JOIN TRAVELER’S ADVANTAGE!”

I explained I’d already joined and they gave me a higher rate than I’d got -literally- one second ago from this website and asked why.

She never answered me, just disconnected. Sad, but at least I got my good rate in spite of all the wasted time with 1) My existing Travelers Advantage Membership and 2) Another prospective Travelers Advantage Membership.

PT Barnum would be proud of you, Travelers disAdvantage, because you, like he, act on the knowledge that a sucker is born every minute.

Girl Scout Cookies are a great donation – not a bakery scandal


The Girl Scout Cookie economy is substantial.    I’m still looking for data but it appears to be an economy of …. get this … about seven hundred million dollars annually.    Given that they are only selling the boxes for a week or so per year I think we may want to cut GSA loose on ideas for balancing the federal budget by increasing cookie sales.

Source for 200 million boxes

At $3-5 per box I was concerned that the cookie company might be exploiting the Girl Scouts because cookie sales to people, as economists like to say, have fairly inelastic pricing that is not really subject to market conditions.   You pay what they charge and consider it a good deed.  Obviously the cookies don’t cost much to produce based on market driven pricing for similar products at the supermarket.

But it appears the baker generally gets under $1 per box and the rest goes to the very good cause of GSA as I learned from this great breakdown on the Lac Baie Girl Scouts website.

Cost per box at this council: 3.50

Cookie Company–85¢

Troop–48¢ – 65¢

                        -day and overnight trips

                        -service projects

                        -camping events

                        -special programs and activities

Incentives–22¢

Support Services to all Troops/Girls–$1.87

                        -Financial assistance for girls

                        -Subsidize council sponsored program events and activities

                        -Adult volunteer and older girl trainings

                        -Outdoor education, camping and programs

                        -Maintenance of two camps and a program center

                        -Membership publications

                        -Travel opportunities for girls and adults

I also learned that each council sets their price and negotiates independently with the baker.   Not sure why though.   Here in Southern Oregon $4 gets you a box.

Therefore – you can feel comfortable buying more Girl Scout Cookies!

Disclaimer:  We have a scout in the house