SkyEthnocentrism

Delta’s increasingly less-rewarding frequent flyer rewards program isn’t news to people who follow points and miles. SkyMiles have seen an overall decrease in value as the program has become more and more like a fixed currency (with redemption rates dependent on flight prices, hence Delta’s removal of award charts). Most of the time, SkyMiles end up being worth about one penny, which is why it annoys me that people derisively call them “SkyPesos.”

Someone somewhere thought this was a good way of highlighting just how junky and worthless SkyMiles are, since [uses “sarcastic guy” voice] everyone knows that the peso is a near-worthless unit of currency used in a country inferior to America. But, in the interest of fairness, let’s unpack that for a minute… First of all, pesos are actually worth about 1.6 cents each, meaning that they are in fact more valuable than SkyMiles. Given this, a much more accurate name would be SkyPennies or SkyCents. (You could also make some funny slogans, like “It’s NonSense to accumulate SkyCents!”) I know that people who call them SkyPesos aren’t doing it to be overtly mean to Mexico or to look down on Mexicans, but the implicit notion is that the peso is less valuable and more deserving of mockery than the penny, which just happens to be one of the most useless units of currency in the world.

This came up when I googled “Pennies are stupid.”

I guess you could compare SkyMiles to pesos solely on how much their value has decreased recently, but if you’re looking at rapidly devaluing currencies (at least relative to the dollar), then the yen has the peso beat many times over. Ditto the Euro. Unfortunately, “SkyYen” doesn’t have the same ring to it as SkyPesos, so that comparison is out. Consider, though, that 1.6 cents each is around where most points blogs peg the value of Citi ThankYou points, meaning Citi points (which are almost universally more popular than SkyMiles) are the real pesos in the points and miles world. Have some SkySense: stop saying SkyPesos and start saying SkyCents.

Requisite question designed to spur a flurry of responses in the comments section: Have YOU thought about the social implications of the names you give various points and miles currencies?

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