National membership organizations help like-minded people come together, communicate, meet up and push the political agenda. I’m sure many readers belong to one or more of these type of organizations. AARP, ABA, NAACP and the NRA are just a few that come to mind. While these organizations have their own distinct agendas, they all offer some additional perks for members – including discounted hotels, airfare and rental cars. If you travel enough, sometimes these discounts can save you more than the cost of the membership itself.
Often times these discounts are really nothing – I’ve checked dozens of times to see about getting a meaningful discount with these memberships and I’d say the only one that ever gets me anywhere is AAA and their better than average rate and cancellation flexibility with Starwood.
I’ve always wondered how much vetting goes into these partnerships. I figured as long as you met a couple of basic rules (non-profit, legally organized organization, etc) you could get a special code and discount. The amount of traffic you drive to these airlines, hotels and rental companies would likely impact the amount of discount you were offered, but I figured it ended there. It was a win-win for the travel provider and the membership organization.
After the mass-shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, we are seeing more and more organizations turning their backs on one membership organization in particular. The rental car companies were the first to go. Yesterday Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, Hertz and National have all ended their relationships with the NRA.
Earlier today both Delta and United announced on Twitter that they were cutting ties with the NRA as well. Kudos to them. Kudos to all of them.
Just because it is the largest membership organization in the United States doesn’t mean you have to play ball. If their beliefs are no longer in line with yours, then cut them out of your life. Will this hurt these travel providers? Some people may actively choose not to rent of fly with these guys again, but most travelers, especially when it comes to rental cars are more price sensitive. They aren’t going to pay more money to rent with an organization that never had ties to the NRA in a way to punish the ones who use to.
Air travel is the same thing – people want to travel from a close airport, to their destination and pay as little as possible. Yes, there are some people who will get pissed that they can’t get their discount on Delta any more, but those people likely weren’t flying Delta because of the partnership.
I don’t think this will materially impact any of these companies’ bottom lines, but the message is clear – We do not agree with your politics and we aren’t going to continue to provide support to your message.
Thank you, Alamo, Avis, Delta Enterprise, Hertz, National and United for taking a leadership role. If you want change you have to make change.
How will these partnership changes alter your travel plans and preferences?