Math FTW, Travel Division

In all the chaos surrounding my travel, I didn’t notice until today that the client-specified car rental company (Avis, whose primary market appears to be biz travelers whose choices are made by beancounters — the cars are shappy, ill-maintained, poorly cleaned, and drastically less well kitted out than National or Hertz — but they’re cheap) doesn’t even have an affinity program.

Instead, they will give you points elsewhere, which is generally a sucky alternative. Still, I’ve got 10 rentals with ’em (and counting), so I needed to see SOME credits. The deals relevant to me are:

  • Continental Airlines. CO will give me 50 miles for every day I rent with Avis, or about 150 miles for each rental. To redeem those for a ticket (worth, say, $350), I need 25,000 miles. 150 miles is 0.6% of a free trip’s 25,000 miles, so it’s 0.6% of that $350. That means the CO reward is worth about $2.10.
  • Hyatt will give me 300 points for every rental. A free Hyatt night (say, $150) is 20,000 points. 300 is 1.5% of the award, so it’s 1.5% of the value or $2.25. That’s a little better than Continental, but still nothing to write home about.
  • Southwest will give me 0.5 credits for every rental. A free SWA ticket requires 16 credits, so the Avis award is 3.13% of an award that’s worth, like Continental, about $350 — or a whopping $10.94.

Given Southwest’s generally customer-friendly POV compared to other airlines, it’s not surprising that they beat CO all to hell here. Hotels just aren’t quite as sophisticated with affinity programs as airlines, so I guess that explains Hyatt’s poor showing.

Mmmm, arithmetic.

It’s like they don’t even CARE

So, with most webmail tools, if you hit the “logoff” button, no amount of URL tomfoolery will allow a nefarious person to re-connect to your mailbox from the browser or session without your password.

This is As It Should Be.

I’ve just noticed, however, that Outlook Web Access apparently sees it differently. When you hit the logoff link in OWA, you get this warning:


At this point, the URL has shifted from our base OWA URL to something that ends with “/auth/logoff.aspx?Cmd=logoff”, which gives the user the distinct idea that their session has been zapped safely. Sure, it’s probably safer to quit the browser at this point, but in this age of weeks-long uptimes for even Windows boxes, who does that?

I sure don’t. However I just had a need to log into our support mailbox, and haven’t used OWA in at least 24 hours. The minute I pointed Safari at OWA, I was looking at my inbox. No login. No challenge. No nothing.

What the fuck?