January 2009

[Update: Affinia responded and came through brilliantly. See my next blog entry for details. Thanks, Affinia!]

Hi there,

Affinia 50 I stayed at the Affinia 50 for the first time last summer, and earlier today I reserved the same hotel for an upcoming stay. I called 1-866-AFFINIA with a question about the reservation, and the gentleman who took my call advised me to email you.

Let me skip to the chase: Your “My Affinia” program is a grand deception, or at least it appears to be. Affinia has an amazing Public Relations director. When there’s a problem, Affinia takes care of it. [Updated February 3, 2009]

Whether or not you are in fact being deceptive, I’m sure you don’t want it to appear that way. I enjoyed your hotel last year, and I hope I’ve misunderstood something, that you’ll appreciate my feedback, and that you’ll explain.

Here’s why the “My Affinia” program seems deceptive to me:

The “My Affinia” program lures customers into using the promo code FIFTY to get a $50 coupon. Using the code hides the special internet rate, which costs hundreds of dollars less than any rate available with the code FIFTY.

Here’s why I believe this. I did things in this order today:

  1. Saw the “Get a $50 activity credit” offer in your Valentine’s Day email.
  2. Completed the My Affinia profile so I could get the $50 activity credit.
  3. Made a reservation at affinia.com for the Affinia 50 (without using the promo code FIFTY, which I didn’t know about yet). I booked my room at the lowest no-cancellation-penalty rate, which you call the “special internet rate.”
  4. Received the email “My Affinia Activity Credit Enclosed.” I found out from this email that the $50 credit is only available for reservations made with the promo code FIFTY.
  5. Returned to your web site to add the promo code FIFTY to my reservation.
  6. Discovered that when the promo code FIFTY is entered, the “special internet rate” is not available, and only the higher (!) “best available rate” is available.

Bottom line: You’ll give me a $50 coupon if I enter FIFTY when I reserve. In exchange, you’ll hide the lowest refundable rate from me, increasing the cost of my 4-night stay by over $400.

Needless to say, this is horrible and insulting. Unfortunately, it seems true. In fact, the activity credit I printed indicates that the credit is only valid if I reserve at the “best available rate.” That rate is not the best available rate; instead, it’s apparently the best available rate?. For my four-night reservation, it’s $400 more than the “special internet rate,” which is unavailable when the FIFTY code is entered. (The FIFTY code also hides the even lower non-refundable rate, but I wasn’t interested in that rate.)

As you can see from my reservation, I didn’t book the cheapest room: I’m willing to pay more to get more. However, I’m not someone who takes kindly to being cheated into paying hundreds of dollars more for nothing!

Can you please explain?

Thanks for your time,

Steve Kass


Words that identify forward-looking statements, from various web sites:

  • “may,” “could,” “should,” “would,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “seek,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan” and similar expressions.
  • “strategy,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “will,” “continues,” “estimates,” “intends,” “projects,” “goals,” “targets” and other words of similar meaning.
  • “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “strategy,” “intend,” “plan,” “target” and “believe” or the negative of those terms or other variations or comparable terminology.
  • “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “should,” “will,” and “would” or similar words.
  • “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “guides,” “provides guidance” and other similar expressions or future or conditional verbs such as “will,” “should,” “would” and “could”.
  • “designed to,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “plans,” “predicts,” “projects,” “will likely result,” “intended to” or similar expressions.
  • “aims,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “hopes,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “projects,” “seeks,” “should” and variations of these words and similar expressions.
  • “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “initiative,” “objective,” “plan,” “goal,” “project,” “outlook,” “priorities,” “target,” “intend,” “when,” “evaluate,” “pursue,” “seek,” “may,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “believe,” “potential,” “continue,” “designed,” “impact” or the negative of any of those words or similar expressions.
  • “expect,” “fully expect,” “expected,” “appears,” “believe,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “would,” “goal,” “potential,” “potentially,” “range,” “pursuit,” “run rate,” “stronger,” “preliminarily,” etc.
  • “anticipate,” “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “future,” “moving toward” and similar expressions.
  • “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “project,” “will” and similar expressions.
  • “may,” “assume,” “forecast,” “position,” “predict,” “strategy,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “project,” “budget,” “potential,” or “continue,” and similar expressions.
  • “anticipates,” “believes,” “expects,” “intends” and similar expressions.
  • “estimate,” “project,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “plan,” “predict,” “may,” “should,” “will,” the negative of these words or such other variations thereon or comparable terminology.
  • “may,” “will,” “should,” “plan,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “believe,” “intend,” “project,” “goal” or “target” or the negative of these words or other variations on these words or comparable terminology.
  • “expects,” “estimates,” “believes,” “plans,” “anticipates” or similar language.
  • “may,” “will,” “can” “anticipate,” “assume,” “should,” “indicate,” “would,” “believe,” “contemplate,” “expect,” “seek,” “estimate,” “continue,” “plan,” “point to,” “project,” “predict,” “could,” “intend,” “target,” “potential,” and other similar words and expressions of the future.
  • “believe,” “demonstrate,” “expect,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “should” and “likely” and similar expressions.
  • “project,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “expect,” “estimate,” “intend,” “should,” “would,” “could,” “will,” “may” or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes.
  • “may,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential” or “continue,” the negative of such terms, or other comparable terminology.
  • “will,” “expect,” “seek,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “plan,” “estimate,” “expect,” and “intend” and statements that an event or result “may,” “will,” “can,” “should,” “could,” or “might” occur or be achieved and other similar expressions.

Here’s the path of US Airways flight 1549 today, according to the track log at FlightAware, drawn on Google Earth. Amazing work by the pilots.


Other flight tracking sites were buggy, like this one (admittedly in beta):


Sony P Specs