Million Mile Secrets and a Curious Case of Ethics

A few days ago, Million Mile Secrets posted an article about how to bypass the normal airport security line by using the elite status line. The gist of it is he suggested showing a loyalty card from a program that seems like shows you have elite status, even though you really don’t or would not otherwise be eligible for the elite line. If you took a look at the comments (which I recommend you do for all points posts you read), you saw that about 90% or more of the comments were people that were upset about the article.

So why were they upset?

I think it’s a very interesting case, actually. People were upset for various reasons. First, there are some people that just don’t like him and wanted another opportunity to bash him. These are irrelevant to me.

The second group of people said it wasn’t fair to the people that rightfully earned the ability to use the elite line, and all these “newbies” would clog up the lines in the future. I agree with this, though I doubt Million Mile Secrets has so many readers that it would tangibly impact the airport lines on a regular basis. But what I find interesting about this is that these people cried out for fairness.

A third group of people said that said it was deceptive, deceitful, and against the rules. They said it wasn’t like finding a loophole or something that you could exploit – they suggested it was just plain wrong and immoral.

When MMS made his first comment reply, he said he appreciated the feedback he was getting. He also defended himself by saying that it’s also not “fair” that someone can earn more miles from a credit card signup than flying or that they can get a cheaper fare using obscure loopholes. I respectfully disagree, and I’ll try to explain why.

First, in my eyes, these last two groups of people are awesome! Why? Not because they’re hating on Million Mile Secrets. I haven’t met him but I’m sure he’s a great guy, and he’s got a loyal following for a reason. Rather, I think they’re awesome because they feel so strongly about following the rules that it angered them to hear someone they thought was advocating anything different.

This makes me extremely proud to be a part of the frequent flyer community. While we’re all absolutely in support of finding loopholes and exploiting them as far as we can (things like mistake faresfuel dumping, transferring miles to several accounts, using obscure airlines to buy cheap miles, or getting free matched status, etc.), we do it all within the rules of the program. There’s no lying, cheating, deceit, or anything of the sort.

And don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying Million Mile Secrets is a liar or cheater or anything. He CLEARLY states to only do what you feel comfortable with. As I’ve pointed out several times in past posts, everyone has a different level of comfort with different deals. There’s a lot of gray area in what we do, but MMS just happened to find the line that goes from gray to black according to most people.

So to the frequent flyer community, I say WELL DONE. Good for you for being in the points game as legitimately as you can!

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Comments

  1. ruhonest mms? says:

    Perhaps the TSA needs to hear about MMS giving out ideas on how to bypass security.

  2. I’m sure the people who cried out for fairness are all elite status and didn’t want to mix in with the crowd, just like the blue or red carpet vs. No carpet and clearly haven’t been yelled at by the TSA lady in Houston who interprets her job as to make sure that only valid elite status holders go through that line

  3. I whole-heartedly agree with what you stated. Great post.

  4. ThePointsGuy says:

    Agreed. But MMS seems to represent the worst side of the FF hobby. He’s not on the side of the community at all. This is evidenced by the way he tends to find deals and exploit them to the max until they die. And in the most recent example, being deceitful to skip ahead in line.

  5. CardinalTraveler says:

    I’m in agreement with this post. MMS has received a lot of outrage before, but in this case, the line wasn’t even blurry. He was advocating for readers to lie to get a perk that they didn’t earn by manipulating poorly trained agents (which is another problem) . Understandably, many people who actually earn that perk, would be upset, especially those who do it with BIS miles. Nearly every comment that supported him said the people criticizing him are hypocritical because they churn, fuel dump, hidden city ticketing, etc, but that’s apples to oranges. I’m glad you pointed out that that’s within the rules of a program, where as what MMS advocated clearly isn’t.

  6. I don’t think this was MMS’s best post. Personally, I think teaching people how to bypass airport security is more of a safety issue than an inconvenience for elite members who are worried about “bottom feeders” clogging up the line.

    • Travel Summary says:

      I agree that it’s probably not going to have much of an impact in terms of lines being clogged. I’m curious how you think safety will be impacted? Everyone is still required to go through the same screening process – it’s just a matter of who gets to the scanners first. Unless I’m missing something?

      • My mistake. I was thinking of expedited airport security program (i.e. Clear), which has a less thorough screening process at the airport. Still, this whole faking your way through the elite line is kind of like line cutting. I’d rather just get to the airport early and stand in line with the masses.

  7. worldtraveller2 says:

    I completely disagree with you. What hypocrites these points hoarders are. We do everything we can to exploit the programs and get our points (churn cc, fuel dump, hidden city ticketing, use codes not intended for us, etc) and THIS causes such a stink?????????? who cares? if you can get away with it, it isn’t any different that all the other stuff.

    • Travel Summary says:

      Here’s where my disagreement comes from: churning cc’s and hidden city ticketing is not breaking any rules at all. It may not be in the spirit of the rules, but it definitely doesn’t break a rule. This thing about cutting in line, however, DOES violate a rule, and I also agree that using codes not intended for us falls into this same category.

      • worldtraveller2 says:

        I can respect that that is your opinion, but I also think others should respect MMS and my own opinion and live the principal of “to each his own”, such is life. But these commenters show no respect.

        • Travel Summary says:

          I agree that a comment of disagreement can (and should) be made without being disrespectful to whomever it is directed at.

      • Justin Martin says:

        You are incorrect. Hidden city ticketing and fuel dumping break the rules of at least one carrier: DELTA. Does it violate any laws, I don’t think so.
        However, like cutting in the elite line what can they really do to you?
        http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/planning-a-trip/booking-information/fare-classes-and-tickets/ticket-rules-restrictions.html

        • Justin Martin says:
          • Travel Summary says:

            Touché, sir. Still, things like fuel dumping and mistake fares are fair game, but your point is well-taken.

          • Justin Martin says:

            Pretty Sure 3x and 5x Fuel Dumps would fall under prohibited ticketing. That x segment is lying by omission (if you dump it). I fully support FDing, Hidden ticketing and some other creative ticketing strategies that few people even know about. I just know that I am taking advantage of the weakness in the system the airlines use, and when I book that ticket to LAS or 3x and stop in LAX or LHR I am lying.

            Mistake fares also are ethically challenged. The only reason they happen is because the computer systems aren’t smart enough to realize the fare is an error. The RGN fares were obviously an error and if you had to book the ticket via human, most tickets would not have been sold. Again I don’t think its wrong for someone to take advantage, but if someone says don’t call when they tell you about a deal it is a given that there are problems with the deal. The only reason most of us sleep at night is because the airlines are big faceless companies that can absorb these relatively small financial hits. In the case of RGN it is debatable if they incurred any real loss at all (That plane is going to SIN anyway and F is probably not sold out) . However, if a couple hundred thousand people book these tickets it would have a financial impact. A couple thousand probably not.

          • Travel Summary says:

            I disagree with the mistake fare part. It’s not against the rules, and it’s protected by law now. It may be against some people’s personal ethics, but it’s not against any policy.

            The point of my post wasn’t so much to call out MMS or anyone, but rather to point out that it was interesting that people were so upset by something so basic. We all know that so many deals exist, many that lose lots of money for airlines. But for so many people to be opposed to something so basic was very interesting.

  8. Justin Martin says:

    Not defending MMS either, I actually think it was a lazy post. Many people are quick to judge, but very slow to self analyze. I also believe some jealousy and pettiness is involved in the responses.

  9. “And don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying Million Mile Secrets is a liar or cheater or anything.” BUT, you are saying he is a sleaze: “I truly hope one day you are ahead of me in line when you try this. I will not hesitate to point you out for the sleaze you are.”

    A bit two-faced there, no? Get over it.

    (And yes, I’ll be shocked if you actually let this comment through — like the “sleaze” you refer to always does.)

    • Travel Summary says:

      Not sure what you’re talking about here – that second quote of yours definitely did not come from me. I never called him sleaze and never said I’d call him (or anyone else) out. Because I wouldn’t. I wrote this article because of the interesting response it got, not because of what MMS sees as right or wrong.

      Also, much like MMS, all my comments automatically post and I do not censor any of them. You were wrong on both counts buddy.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] and I learned some new tricks as well. What I will say is that ALL of the tricks mentioned involved being deceptive in some way, so if you have a low tolerance for doing that kind of stuff then it wouldn’t [...]

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