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Flyertalk.com is the online bible for points and miles. I’ve been a member for over 5 years and learn something new every single day. As I wrote about, their Iphone app just launched so now is a great time to join if you don’t have a free membership already.
But beware- the site is very addictive! There are forums for all of the major airline/hotel/credit card/ car programs as well as niche forums like Travel Technology, Women Travel, LGBT and even Trip Reports. There is definitely etiquette, so do a little research before you start posting. Some quick tips:
1) Choose a non-location/company based user name. Don’t choose NYCAALuver, because what happens when you move from NYC and become a hardcore United fan? (I learned the hard way on this one, but Randy Petersen, Flyertalk founder/legend helped change my name as a one time courtesty)
2) Use the Search feature. It’s annoying when newbies don’t search for information before posting. While the internal search engine may be buggy at times, you can do a standard Google search which should turn up any relevant threads. for examply Flyertalk Continental Status Match, instead of starting a new thread asking whether Continental status matches (which you can find out here if you actually want to know)
3) Use descriptive thread titles. Don’t start a rant about Delta’s crappy international system-wide upgrades with “UGHHHH SO MAD AT DELTA RIGHT NOW!!”. Be targeted and to the point.
4) Try not to rant. While you may be upset that your flight was cancelled and the airline didn’t accomodate you fairly, try not to use hyperbole and lots of !!!!! and threats. Try to be as calm as possible and ask for constructive feedback.
5) Be prepared for a wide range of opinions. If you can’t handle someone publicly disagreeing with you, then posting on Flyertalk (or any internet bulletin board) probably isn’t for you. While most conversations are civil, I’ve seen some nasty exchanges.
6) Don’t engage in name calling. Even if someone is a jerk to you, brush it off. Engaging will only get you suspended/terminated. If you feel that someone is personally attacking you, just hit the Report Bad Post button and a trusty moderator will take care of the situation.
7) Make friends. There are a ton of really interesting people from around the world and most of them want to help each other. Don’t be afraid to make friends- there are even Flyertalk events called “Dos” that members set up around the world. I went to one in Munich for Oktoberfest and still keep in touch with many of the people I met.
8 ) Share information. If you received an amazing offer from your airline and haven’t seen anyone post it yet, go for it! Worst case scenario is that the moderator merges it with another thread, but no one will fault you for trying to add positive information. We all love a good deal!
9) Familiarize yourself with the lingo. There are tons of acronyms, so reference the glossary when in doubt.