Wednesday, August 23, 2017

No More United - Extracting Myself from The UA Ecosystem

Despite previously having frequently held status on United Airlines, over the past couple of years, I've completely quit flying the airline. United was an acceptable airline in the old days when you had status and they'd automatically put you in Economy Plus. However, once they stopped doing that and started putting me in the seats with less space in the back of the plane -- let's just say that I don't consider their standard economy seats to be a minimum viable product.

Unfortunately, I'm still somewhat rooted the United Airlines ecosystem. I have a couple hundred thousand Mileage Plus miles. I still haven't ever used miles to book a flight. What's more, I've been carrying a Chase United Explorer card for several years, but it's become increasingly useless for any of the ancillary benefits -- really, the "no international transaction fees" is the only practical thing it does for me.

Then recently while searching Hipmunk for flights for a family trip, I noticed the results that were showing up from United Airlines included this rollover caveat: "Basic Coach: No Overhead Carry-ons Allowed; Seats Assigned at Check-in; Last to Board; No Elite Qualifying Miles; No Changes or Refunds." I'd read something about United Airlines adding this "Basic Coach" ticket, but this was really the first time that I'd seen mention of it appearing in my flight searches. And when I saw it, it spoke to me like a vision that said, "You will never fly on United again."

In that moment, I realized that I needed to extract myself from the United Airlines ecosystem.
So the first problem is, what do I do with about 200K of United Miles that I have no interest in using to fly on the airline. I always used to spend miles for flight upgrades, but somewhere along the way, that became a pain in the ass, particularly once I quit flying United. So, what do I do? Do I subject friends or family to an experience on an airline that I don't believe meets a minimum threshold? Do I save the miles to use on some international code-share flight? Do I just burn the miles on some overpriced merchandise I don't need from the miles-for-products catalog? The reality is, if there was a simple answer, I would have probably cleared the bank out some time ago.

Next there is the Chase United Explorer card. While I haven't received those passes for the United Lounge for two or three years now (what's up with that?), if I do happen to use my United miles on a United flight, I think that the Chase card may provide some ancillary benefits. In that way, it's probably best not to cancel it until I resolve the mileage bank. And yet, every day that I hold that card instead of another card that could provide me with a more useful return is another wasted day in the United Airlines ecosystem.

And while all of this may seem crazy, it's weighing on my mind enough that last night I had a dream about trying to resolve the whole situation. I was at an airport trying to get help from the United customer service counter and they just kept ignoring me, talking among themselves. They reminded me of Salesforce employees at Dreamforce. I gotta get out of this crazy United ecosystem!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Another Apple Design Faux Pas - Magic Mouse 2

I came across this tidbit about Apple design yesterday in a story with leaked details about the iPhone8. While providing comments about the potential new iPhone design, the article mentioned other recent poor Apple designs and referenced the Magic Mouse 2. Specifically, it noted that when Apple redesigned the Magic Mouse 2 to include a rechargeable battery, they put the charging port on the bottom of the mouse. In other words, when the mouse needs to be recharged, you can't use it while it's charging.

This is the part of the story that really caught my attention. Sure, Magic Mouse 2 is old news, but the fact that this product was actually released by Apple seems telling. This is another example of where form outweighed function, where the needs of actual users came second.

If you've ever had the battery die when you were using a wireless mouse, I'm sure you're familiar with the panic of running around, trying to find a battery to replace it and restart whatever you were in the middle of when the mouse died. Now imagine having to stop what you're doing, put your mouse aside, and wait for the mouse to charge.

Sure, with a quick charge, there might not be much of a wait. But the obvious solution -- following a 30+ year long legacy of mouse designs -- would be to put the connector on the top of the mouse so that you could keep working while charging. That would have been a design that considered functionality. The bottom of the mouse? That's more "let's just sweep the ugly parts underneath the rug" design.

Now admittedly, to date, I've bought one magic mouse (v.1) and returned it shortly after I bought it. It wasn't even for my day-to-day system. In short, this aspect of the Magic Mouse 2 design probably would never have come to my attention had I not seen mention of it in the article. Still, I find it yet another indication that Apple's design group has lost touch with the usage requirements of their customer base. Go fashion, f--- function.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Battle Over Smaller Airlines Seats

I came across this article over the weekend. It will make you pissed off about airlines again.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-28/u-s-court-rebukes-faa-over-incredible-shrinking-airline-seat

This is a perfect example of when regulations could force an industry to meet a basic standard of quality because clearly, the market is not responsive to the airline customer.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Design, Remodel, Alienate? The Hotel Nikko in San Francisco

I'm back from a stay at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco for Semicon West. The hotel completed a remodel earlier this year. Remodeling is an interesting canvas for design, not exactly a blank canvas, but pretty close. I found the results surprisingly disappointing. Normally, I probably wouldn't write a blog post about something like this, but, from a design point of view, some very strange decisions were made. I'll elaborate shortly, but first, some background.

The Hotel Nikko - My Go To Hotel in San Francisco
While I'm not sure exactly how long the Hotel Nikko has been in San Francisco, I do know it's been there a long time. Located in the Union Square area, it's conveniently located to many of the tourist attractions and, more importantly for my team during conferences, just a few blocks from the Moscone center. Hotel Nikko is a Japanese hotel chain, so many aspects of the hotel have always appealed to Japanese colleagues staying in San Francisco.

I began staying at the Hotel Nikko several years ago. With multiple conferences in San Francisco each year, I've had the opportunity to stay at numerous hotels in San Francisco, ranging from the premium, globally branded hotels to the tiny "boutique" hotels than you can find at the bottom of the tradeshow housing price spectrum. One of the things that struck me the most the first couple of times that I stayed at the Hotel Nikko was the unusual layout in many of the rooms. Rather than the row of rectangles set side by side that you typically get with most hotels, the Nikko featured unusual layouts, like rooms with inexplicably long entrance halls. What I soon discovered was that this unique layout contributed to minimizing the sounds you hear coming from your neighbor's room. I contrast this with some of the premium hotels that I've stayed at where I could hear nearly every word of the conversation in the room next door. This aspect alone made the Hotel Nikko my preferred hotel choice in San Francisco.

At this point it's probably worth noting that many of my colleagues tend to prefer the globally branded hotels with broad-reaching loyalty programs like Hilton, Hyatt, or Marriott. The Hotel Nikko has a loyalty program, One Harmony, but there is only one other hotel in Hawaii in that program, so unless you're traveling to Asia frequently, the One Harmony loyalty program is quite limited. Despite it's limitations, I was able to achieve their top tier status -- Exclusive -- simply through stays at the Hotel Nikko. That probably gives you some idea of how much I've stayed at the Nikko. We liked the Nikko so much that, when we had our wedding in San Francisco, the Hotel Nikko was the first place that I contacted to make arrangements for my friends and family to stay. You can safely say that I've been a loyal customer.

The Remodel Designs Me Out
The Nikko closed down in December for about three months to remodel most of the rooms. I'd actually been able to see a draft example of the remodel during my stay at Dreamforce'16, but Semicon West was the first time that I was able to experience the actual remodel. Within two minutes of my arrival in the room, I quickly realized one major failure with the updated room design -- there was no desk.

For some reason that is still entirely unclear to me, the people designing the Nikko remodel eliminated the desk from the room. I noticed it immediately, as the first thing that I began to do when I arrived was to begin setting up my workspace -- or at least, that's what I intended to do. At that point, I went back down to the front desk to request a different room, one with a desk. The staff at the front desk were very courteous, but informed me that none of the rooms -- except for the smallest ones -- had desks now. Apparently, it was not an unusual complaint; they told me that they'd heard the issue from others, and that they would share it with management. So off I went back to my deskless hotel room, questioning the design decision, what my colleagues would thing of the deskless room, and whether the Hotel Nikko would continue to be my preferred hotel in San Francisco.

Of course, the removal of desk wasn't the only thing that had changed, but it certainly focused my attention on the details of the remodel that had issues.
  • The dresser / credenza that replaced the desk and dresser. As I posted on Twitter, this design reminds me of Graceland circa the 1970s. Or perhaps a Holiday Inn near Graceland during that time. This piece provides drawer space, but it also houses the coffee maker that used to be above the minibar. While I know hiding the coffee maker cleans up some of room lines, I think it was reasonably out of the way in the old style.
  • The vanity station in the bathroom next to the sink. This is a new addition, the closest thing to a desk in the room. I actually used this area as a desk, but the downside was my laptop was living in the splash-zone of the sink. And my desk chair had no back. And made noise whenever I slid it in or out. But other than that, it sort of worked as a desk.
  • The "updated" bathroom. For my wife and I, the old version of the Nikko bathroom served as a benchmark for things that we wanted in a bathroom. We were even using some of the size specifications as a guide for what we wanted when we renovate. There are a number of small changes that make the new Nikko bathroom less desirable. First, while we didn't have a tape measure, the tub seems smaller. Additionally, they used to have a spray hose for rinsing your hair at the tub, but that has been removed. In the shower, they changed from a two-nozel showerhead plus showerhead on a hose to an overhead "rainshower" head and a hose that features one of those bar nozels that only has a soft spray, no changeable settings. After using that for a week, I found it to be functionally poor. 
  • Workmanship. Perhaps the single clearest example of issues with the renovation was the toilet seat in my bathroom. I've stayed at many hotels and used many bathrooms in my life, but this is the first one that I've ever seen that was assembled so poorly. To me, the toilet seat was the antithesis of the sensibilities I expect from a Japanese hotel. 
Here are a few photos to show you what I mean.
Hotel Nikko Credenza - gold, mirrored top, reminds me of Graceland
The new, rather useless showerhead on a hose.
The toilet seat at the Hotel Nikko aligned rather poorly.
A Japanese plumbing fixture, but not Japanese quality workmanship


Who's your Target Demographic?
Another interesting aspect of the post-remodel Hotel Nikko is the way that they are marketing the hotel or who they define as their target demographic. There are several aspects to this:

Dog Friendly.
Prior to the renovation, they'd actually added an outdoor area for dogs, but with the renovation, they've elevated their self promotion as dog-friendly. In some ways, this seems to me like a strange strategy for a hotel to pursue. Don't get me wrong, it seems increasingly common to see people with their dogs out at shopping malls and restaurants, particularly places with outdoor seating. Clearly, there is a significant segment of the population that are dog-lovers. At the same time, there is also a percentage of the population like myself and my wife, with allergies. Dogs are a potential allergen. For me, when I see this dog-friendly promotion, I'm always wondering if dogs stayed in my room previously and if that's going to be an allergy-issue. And don't get me started on the anxiety over fleas (enhanced by a run-down hotel experience in the skin-drying Las Vegas air). So I have to wonder whether the heavy dog-friendly promotion generates as much anxiety for others as it does for me.

To highlight the dog-friendly theme, they've added a stuffed dog to the assortment of decorative pillows in the room. The stuffed dog can also be purchased for $25. If you happen to be traveling with a child, you may find the stuffed dog to be a frustrating addition to the room. At the same time, it's probably worth noting one guest we overheard in the lounge (with multiple children) comment that the Hotel Nikko wasn't particularly kid-friendly. While we didn't evaluate the particulars of this, it seems like a funny contrast compared dog-friendly and the stuffed dog.

The Video Loop
A dog similar to the stuffed dog plays a starring role in a special Hotel Nikko video loop that they put on the TV when they do the turn-down service. Normally, I don't watch these kinds of things, but when you're staying for a week, you start to see these kinds of details. Here's a short synopsis of the video loop.
Scruffy guy and lady arrive separately at the Hotel Nikko. They are different in separate rooms and the don't seem to know one another. Scruffy guy spends the day sightseeing in San Francisco. The lady, meanwhile prepares for and gives a presentation to a large meeting room of people. In the early evening, the lady goes to the hotel gym to do yoga. The scruffy guy, meanwhile goes swimming in the pool. Following his swim, the scruffy guy is sitting on the outdoor deck and the live version of the stuffed dog runs up to him. He starts petting the dog, and the lady appears, clearly enticed by his dog petting. Next, they're off to dinner together at Anzu Restaurant in the hotel. Then watching a singer at Feinstein's in the hotel. Then, closing scene, they're looking over the San Francisco skyline (from the Marin side). Clearly, they've hooked up.

And suddenly, it all comes together. Of course, neither scruffy guy nor the lady seem to need a desk to work on, but it's an interesting demographic / lifestyle loop.

The Bottom Line
While I'm sure that there will still be some interest from our Japanese colleagues to stay at the Hotel Nikko, having spent a week there without a desk, I found that it's kind of deal breaker for me. It's kind of disappointing really -- we were actually quite fond of place before.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

British Airways F'ed Up Online & Customer Support System

For the past 14 hours, I've been wrestling with the British Airways online system, trying to correct a problem that their system created. In the process of attempting to correct the seating assignment, I've learned a few things about their system -- and about why you might want to avoid booking flights with them. Put simply, their system is not designed for customer support or customer satisfaction and I've now been told repeatedly that, "if you have an issue in the 24 hours before your flight", your fucked. Harsh words, I know, but British Airways "customer service" people say that they can't do anything in that 24 hour window. If you had one person tell you that, you might attribute it "a bad apple" customer service rep. But when multiple customer service people tell you the same thing, then you know that this is a business strategy.

When you're checking in for a flight, there are many aspects and errors that can go wrong. It's especially challenging for international flights because you have an added layers of documentation and permissions, concerns about connections. Tensions are higher because the costs are higher -- your $1000+ flight is not equivalent to a $100+ domestic flight. You might expect that in this environment, there would be added pressure on an airline to do things right -- or to make things right when things don't go according to plan. This is what makes British Airways system unusual. Rather than being engineered to make things right, the system seems designed to generate customer frustration.

Here's the story of my experience with British Airways and some insight into the underlying mechanisms in their system that appear to be optimized for frustration.

My wife and I booked trips on British Airways about a month ago. My wife needed to go to Helsinki for a business trip and I decided to accompany her and take the time for tourism. Because of the different purposes of our trip, we had to book our tickets separately. Hers through her work travel system, and me selecting the corresponding flight directly from the airline. She opted for the American codeshare version of the BA flight because AA is one of their preferred corporate airlines and she already has a lot of American miles. I opted for British Airways because I'd already flown on them a couple of months earlier on a trip to Brussels.

Our frustrations started with navigating British Airways ticket pricing, which I already wrote about and you can find more about here.

So, one aspect of British Airways default ticket is that you can't select a seat until 24 hours before your flight. Should you choose to, you can pay something like $30 to select a seat in advance, but the default window is 24 hours before. We opted not to pay this as it would be an upcharge that my wife's work would be unwilling to reimburse -- and having one assigned seat without it's mate is kind of stupid.

In a discussion with customer service (either through her travel agent, AA, or BA), my wife was able to address the issue of us traveling together and get our two seats grouped. When we went to check in, it assigned her one seat and me the seat next to her. Unfortunately, when I went to create my online boarding pass, British Airways system counted it as a second check in and relocated my seat (and hers) to an entirely different location. The first one was better, the second one seemed to be triggered just a few hours before the departure, and those seats weren't very good. After spending some time on the phone with British Airways customer support, they assured as that everything was fine. But when we went to the airport service counter to get boarding passes -- you guessed it, they were messed up and wrong. Eventually the service counter people just manually moved us to the original seats that we had together -- but they acted rather pained to have had to do that. They also gave us the explanation that "they'd changed planes, so that probably messed up the process".

On the return flight, the leg from Helsinki to London is a codeshare operated by Finnair. As we ticked off the time, trying to get into the system right after it opened, we hit a couple of roadblocks as British Airways system seemed to struggle with the record exchange with Finnair. Eventually, we were able to both get checked in -- and change seats since the first leg of the flight was only about half full. I say change seats because, despite many empty rows, British Airways auto-seat assignment software assigned me a middle seat near the middle of the plane. It also assigned me a middle seat for the second leg of the trip, the transcontinental flight back to San Jose.

No matter how I tried, I couldn't change the BA seat assignment. I couldn't access it. And they stuck me in a middle seat. Despite trying to check in right near the start of the 24 hour window, British Airways stuck me in a middle seat.

So I reached out to British Airways and Finnair customer service on Twitter. The Finnair customer service team responded quickly, and when I provided them with my flight details, they told me that the couldn't access the British Airways seat assignment system. They couldn't change it. I would need to work with British Airways to change that seat. So I continued to reach out to British Airways -- that all started at about 11:00 in the morning.

My wife and I speculated that we might be able to access the BA flight once the 24 hour mark for that flight arrived. Meanwhile, I continued to try and reach out to British Airways. When the 24 hour mark before the second leg of the flight came and we still couldn't access our seat assignment, I attempted to call the airline. I'd tried calling earlier, but the local customer support number was only good for Monday through Friday, so the only number "for travel problems within the 24 hour period" was an international number. When I called that number, I waited on hold for 12 minutes before a woman from their customer service team took my info, then told me that she couldn't make any changes during the 24 hours before the flight. I told her about how my wife had tried to purchase an upgraded meal, but the transaction didn't seem like it would go all the way through. She said she couldn't fix that because it was within the 24 hours before the flight. In short, it was a 15 minute international call -- at my expense -- to learn that British Airways could not help me. They were unwilling or unable to make any changes within the 24 hour window.

So I continued on to post complaints on Twitter. Eventually, around 6pm local time, British Airways Twitter support team responded to me. After sending a direct message to them with my flight details, an hour or so later, they finally responded with this:
"as you're due to travel within 24 hours, we're unable to amend your seat. The airport have control of the flight and seating. You'll need to make any amendments to your seats at the airport. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused."
Somewhere in all of this (perhaps on the telephone), it became clear that it would never have been possible for us to edit the second leg seat assignment. Whatever we were assigned, we were assigned and their "24 hour lock" on the system meant that, for your second leg seat, you were essentially hosed. Suddenly it made more sense why, on my return trip from Brussels, I was stuck in a middle seat in the back of the section despite aisle and window seats still open. And how, when I'd tried to change my seat online, their system wouldn't let me.

Keep in mind that my wife and I travel on airlines frequently. We often manage our seats using online the online interface after check-in has opened. In fact, my wife has sometimes made multiple changes. I mention this only to underscore a point -- while many airlines block out a wait time and only allow check-ins 24 hours before a flight, most flights will allow you to manage and change your seat up until the time you're at the airport getting on the plane. As long as there is space available. Unless you're attempting to change class -- where they'll upcharge you. So this limitation in the BA system is both unusual and bizarre. It's also a giant FU to their "customers", the people who are paying for seats on the plane.

This experience comes on a flight that is supposed to transport me into "bronze" status in British Airways frequent flier program. Another special British Airways surprise for me was that I fully expected to have already achieved status on my flight to Helsinki. However, surprisingly, the fare that we purchased for these tickets meant that the "points" value for my transcontinental flight on the carrier was only 20 points, what looks to be the minimum value. My previous one hour flight from London to Brussels was actually worth more "points". Yet another FU to their customers.

This is truly "Customer Lip Service".

While we can never be certain of what the future holds, despite my "frequent flier" status that I will have earned after this flight, I won't be rushing to rebook another flight on British Airways and, as I mentioned in my previous blog post about the business, I would advise anyone considering doing business with British Airways -- Caveat Emptor!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Why Hawaiian Airlines Bid-to-Upgrade Auction Sucks

As it happens, we're leaving for Hawaii tomorrow for my wife's birthday. This is the trip that we've been planning for a while -- since our Napa trip fell through. It goes without saying that, we had a number of options for the flight -- I even considered using my United miles, but I could just imagine that unfolding into a very unpleasant birthday. However, on our previous trip to Hawaii, we flew on Hawaiian Airlines and we were reasonably amused by the experience. Besides, with Hawaiian Airlines, we could do direct from San Jose to Maui.

Booking the tickets on the Hawaiian Airlines web site was pretty straightforward -- it's one of those sites that shows you the fares for the different tiers of service. I like being able to see and compare the different fare tiers. For this trip, because the fare difference wasn't that significant -- and it was a special birthday trip -- I would up paying for first class on the return flight. Unfortunately, the outbound flight was about $700 more for a first class ticket, so that was out.

Then, about a week later, I received an email from Hawaiian Airlines, "Bid to Upgrade on Your Hawaiian Airlines Flight". If you are unfamiliar with this -- I was -- Hawaiian runs a system that allows you to bid on an upgrade to first class.

Initially, I liked the idea. From an economics standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. Rather than arbitrarily assigning upgrades or leaving some premium class seats unfilled, it offers a more democratic method for allocating those seats. Instead, you can reach your theoretical price-point. This seems like a great deal.

At least, that was my initial thought.

When I first presented the idea to my wife, she was intrigued. However, once we loaded the interface and discovered that the minimum bit was $205 per seat, the whole thing turned into an argument. Suddenly, her price and budget concerns kicked in and overwhelmed any sense of birthday pampering. And now I felt stupid for having even brought it up. Mahalo.

After half an hour or so of debate, she decided that she might have been a bit hasty in her response and decided to leave the upgrade decision to me. Now, with an enhanced feeling of my wife's cost-sensitivity, I decided to go with the minimum bid. Then, about a week ago, I received a second email from Hawaiian. This one was titled "We are reviewing your upgrade request!" The subtitle was "INCREASE YOUR CHANCES FOR A FIRST CLASS UPGRADE", and here's the content from that email.
Thank you for making an offer for a First Class Upgrade via Bid Up by Hawaiian Airlines. We are currently reviewing all offers for your flight xxxxx, departing on April 26, 2017 and upgrades will be awarded soon.

To increase your chances that your offer will be accepted, would you like to review your current offer?
That's all of the information -- other than a return to the bidding screen -- provided. Needless to say, I did not change our bid.

The program says that it will let you know within 48 hours if you got the upgrade and will notify you 26 hours before your flight that you didn't, so when you don't get an email prior to the 26 hours, you've got a pretty good idea that you didn't get the upgrade. So that's kind of annoying. But there were aspects of the whole experience that were even more annoying -- downright sucking even. Let's run through them in a list.
  1. I didn't get to buy an upgrade -- even though I was told there might be a chance I could get one. This kind of sucks. 
  2. There's no insight into what's happening in the auction -- it's basically blind. While that may seem like it makes aspects more exciting, like the unknown chance of winning, it's actually very frustrating. It means that when Hawaiian Airlines comes back to you and says, "would you like to increase your bid", you don't know whether you're already sitting on a winning bid. It could be that they only send those "increase your bid" emails to people who are low bidders, but at some point, you're potentially bidding against yourself -- which is really uncool.
  3. Reason 2 is what makes the whole experience suck. Because instead of seeming like an equitable way to allocate first class tickets, the whole thing felt like a bait-and-switch scam for constantly squeezing you for more money for small aspects of service. Imagine if it was baggage fees. For $10 you can check a small, carry-on sized bag. for $50, you can carry on a regular carry on bag, but if you go in for the $10, you can bid for an upgrade to the size of the bag you can bring -- then repeatedly asking if you wanted to increase your bid. Contrast this auction system with one where you had visibility of the high bid -- like eBay. Then you might consider upping your bid. Or what if the system worked like Google Adwords bidding system, where your high bid meant that you only bid like $.05 more than the other highest bid? Anything along this line would have made this whole process feel less like an aggressive grift for more cash.
  4. After the entire experience, part of me feels like I'm owed an upgrade. Having been through the process and, essentially, having tried to buy one, I feel like I've been screwed. Like one of those parents who went looking for the "must have" toy during the Christmas holiday, only to have had one yanked from my hands by some other customer. Mahalo. From a customer service experience, this is not what I would want to come from my upgrade program. Rather, wouldn't it be better if Hawaiian Airlines just randomly upgraded you, like winning the Lotto. While not everyone would win, those that did would certainly feel rewarded.
So, after all is said and done, I've walked away from the whole experience kind of pissed at Hawaiian Airlines. In psychological economic terms, I've been primed to be unhappy and unsatisfied with my experience. That seems like a poor approach to customer service. Definitely an unpleasant way to start a vacation. Mahalo.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

SiriusXM's Lead Nurture Marketing Spam

Last year we bought a car with SiriusXM integrated into the audio system. As most new owners do, we activated the service for the trial period. While we were moderately amused, our usage was somewhat limited -- it's not like we're always driving long distances during the daily commute through Silicon Valley. For that reason, radio seemed adequate enough, so the cost of the SiriusXM service seemed excessive and unnecessary. By not signing up for the service, we got put into their lead nurture email system.

For the past 6 months, I've been receiving offers, but I've been a bit surprised by the frequency. For example, for their most recent series, I've received three emails over the past three days. Needless to say, the offer hasn't really changed materially. Essentially, their offer is a one-time teaser price of about $25-30 for six months, then you're charged full price until you unsubscribe. But wait, there's more -- they'll also let you have unlimited online streaming to your computer as part of the deal.

It strikes me as funny, because I really thought they might actually improve on their offer. Even funnier, juxtapose the email subject line with the reality that their offer doesn't really materially change. Here's a snapshot of some of their subject line teasers.
  • You Deserve this Amazing Deal! Enjoy this Great Offer and FREE STREAMING. See Details.
  • Congratulations you have been chosen to receive this terrific offer. We hope you enjoy it, it is tr…
  • You Deserve this Amazing Deal! Enjoy this Great Offer and FREE STREAMING. See Details.
  • FINAL Notice! Please Open for More Details
  • Urgent Notice! Please Open for More Details
  • Turn your SiriusXM back on with this great offer! | See details
Of course, FINAL Notice isn't really final either.

Today, after receiving the third email in three days, I had to unsubscribe. I know, that means I may miss "this Amazing Deal," but I guess we'll have to find a way to survive.