2023
Illustration and photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Will 2023 Be a Happy New Year For You?

Let’s see if I can help.

This is typically the bittersweet time of year in which members of frequent travel loyalty programs have mixed feelings: those who have achieved elite level status are thrilled or pleased that they have at least another year to enjoy that status; while others dread checking their membership accounts on January 1 to see that big “goose egg” which indicates that it is yet time again to start over in working to earn and achieve elite level status for yet another year…

Will 2023 Be a Happy New Year For You?

New York
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

…and with further perceived devaluations by many programs of airlines, lodging companies, and rental car companies for this year, they cannot really be considered loyalty programs for frequent travelers anymore. Effective immediately, they are referred to as simply membership programs because they arguably do little to maintain the loyalty of their members anymore; and they increasingly cater to how much members spend versus how much time and effort members expend in terms of the achievement of advancing to the next tier of elite status — as well as unlocking certain amenities and benefits.

No Retrospective Again This Year…

Southeastern Europe
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

I never did like the massive wave of retrospectives that many other weblogs, news sources, television programs and Internet web sites like to run. In that vein, no “best of 2022” — or worst of 2022, for that matter — will be posted by me here at The Gate; although I do refer back to pertinent articles throughout the rest of the year.

I never really understood the purpose of such retrospectives, as to me they are similar to those television programs which usually have at least one episode per year where an episode is introduced and treated like it is “new”; but instead contains mostly clippings of previously-viewed episodes in an attempt — usually a poor one at that — to loosely tie together a story. They are called clip shows.

Unless there is a good reason for it, I do not ever want to see The Gate emulate a “clip show.”

Although I am not averse to looking back — after all, we do learn from the past — moving forward into the future is of primary importance. Two things which are important to Randy Petersen pertaining to staying positive is now and the future. I plan to travel more in 2023 — and when I do, of course, I will share my experiences with you.

…Rather, Looking Towards the Future.

Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Writing articles for a weblog every day for years on end is not an easy task. One must come up with topics and ideas with which readers will be interested on a daily basis is quite difficult and consumes an inordinate amount of time — and in all honesty, that is something with which I have been increasing grappling.

One problem is that the miles and points industry has changed significantly over the years. The membership programs were far more rewarding for loyal members 20 years ago than they are today. Participating in some of them is not even worth the time and effort anymore…

…and even worse is that I have found myself increasingly disinterested in many of the topics which used to interest me. Membership programs continue to be less rewarding and more complex in general. I am growing tired of creating charts that contain increasingly useless information. I really do not care if a new line of amenities is introduced for the premium class product of an airline or lodging company; aboard which airline certain alcoholic beverages are served exclusively; or if some obscure airline installs a new seat about which 749 articles are written elsewhere. I certainly am not titillated about female passengers whose breasts are so big that they cannot fit in a seat aboard an airplane or some idiot who decides to become substantially inebriated to the point that he attacks fellow passengers or members of the flight crew aboard an airplane and then is escorted by law enforcement officers.

Furthermore, I have asked readers of The Gate — some of whom I have known personally for years; and others whom I have never met — what they think of the articles which I write and publish. I have received some constructive criticism which generally falls in line with how I feel: write less about those aforementioned boring topics — at least, to me, as those articles can be found elsewhere — and write more about my experiences and how readers can travel better. The salacious topics do not interest them, either, as the people who indulge in those stories are not within my target market anyway.

As a result, I intend to implement an evolution of changes for The Gate in the future. With some exceptions, I plan to write fewer articles so that I can concentrate more on documenting my experiences and trip reports. With that, I plan on increasingly highlighting my photography. I want to dabble more in videos and audio broadcasts. I would like to be open more to readers who ask for basic travel advice — like being a travel coach, as I am certified in coaching — not how they can do 68 ways of manufactured spending to apply towards some credit card which requires a minimum spend of $3,000.00 with three months to get a limited amount of quasi-useful benefits. To my own chagrin, I plan on expanding my presence in social media. I have even been told to please bring my sense of humor back in my articles.

In other words, I want to have more fun writing The Gate in the future; and I want you to have more fun reading it — as well as have you benefit from it. I want it to reflect more of who I am as a person…

…and — most of all — I want it to excel at helping readers achieve their travel goals. That was one of the original purposes for me of writing The Gate in the first place.

Changes are coming to The Gate in 2023. Consider that a resolution for the new year, which I do not ordinarily do. I want to know what you want — especially what you cannot get anywhere else — so as always, your constructive criticism, suggestions, thoughts, and ideas are welcome.

Final Boarding Call

Southeastern Europe
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Bucking what would seem to be the obvious choice of a frequent flier, I spent the transition from 2022 into 2023 as I have during many past transitions into the new year: quietly and not traveling.

I look forward to seeing you more in 2023 — and if I have not expressed my gratitude to you enough, thank you for reading and supporting The Gate for the past 16.5 years.

In the meantime — as I have posted in similar greetings I have used in previous years, my wishes and hopes for you in 2023 are as follows:

  • May you safely travel to every desired destination on your list — as well as to ones to which you did not even know you wanted to travel
  • May you spend quality time trying new things, openly engaging new experiences, and doing everything you have always wanted to do at each destination
  • May your travels result in lifetime memories and stories to leave the listener engaged and envious enough to compel them to create their own travel adventures
  • May your frequent travel loyalty program miles and points never expire
  • May you continuously be awarded elite status every year
  • May you always have lounge access at every airport — as well as every hotel and resort property
  • May your upgrade requests always be granted
  • May you dine well on your favorite food and drink as well as sample new flavors and tastes from all around the world
  • May your travels always be safe, interesting and fun — yet filled with adventure and spirit
  • May all of your dreams and wishes come true — especially those related to travel, miles and points
  • May the year 2023 be the best and most successful year yet — filled with love, happiness and joy; and experienced with the best of health and the most of wealth

Illustration and all photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

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