If you were to review the frequent flyer program developments of the past few years, the bad news would handily outweigh the good. It's no wonder that mileage collectors are a cranky lot.
But there is one positive thread in recent loyalty program evolution that warrants mention: improved online award booking tools.
In recent months, American and Delta launched newly revised booking software that significantly improves the process of searching alternative dates and flights for seats offered in exchange for miles.
Both American and Delta's new tools feature so-called calendar views—a virtual necessity when trying to book scarce capacity-controlled award seats—displaying available seats not only on the dates initially requested by the customer, but also on the days surrounding the first choice.
While this is a significant step forward for award reservations, it has to be said that it does nothing to address the underlying problem of insufficient award seats. Booking frustrations may be somewhat ameliorated, but crankiness will still prevail overall.