I intended this entry to be a comparison of Frequentflier.com's MilePort Mileage Manager versus USA Today's Miletracker, two of the most popular loyalty program account trackers. But, then a funny thing happened. I compared them. You know what? They seem nearly identical. I'm not the only one who has noticed this. The resemblance shouldn't be surprising, as both use the same underlying software, Deskport. The only difference I can really tell is that there have been some reports of the Miletracker version being "buggier." Is that a technical term?
Anyway, since the two programs are so similar, I'll save time and do an in-depth review of the pros and cons of MilePort which, not surprisingly, seem to apply equally to Miletracker:
- It's free (Some services, like Milemanager, charge);
- Rather than being web-based, the software downloads onto your computer, which provides more security for your accounts and passwords;
- It tracks tons of loyalty programs (121 at last count);
- It's easy to set up your accounts and intuitive to use. If you don't count the amount of time I spent searching for various account numbers and passwords, it took me about 10 minutes to set up all of my accounts (if you do count that time spent, my total increases to about four days);
- You can set up multiple accounts, so that you can track all of your family members' programs in one place;
- You can instantly update accounts for all users with one click of the "Retrieve All Accounts" button;
- Better yet, that updated information for all accounts arrives within seconds; and
- My favorite: By clicking the "Auto Navigate" tab for any loyalty program account, Mileport will open up a window connecting you to that loyalty program's website and even logs you into your account. Translation: Never having to search for your account number and password again!
- It requires downloading the software. Although the download only takes a couple of minutes, it's just one step and one extra thing on your computer (yes, I counted this as both pro and con);
- Because it's not web-based, you can only access your information from the computer on which you downloaded the software. In other words, if you downloaded Mileport on your home computer, you can't access your account information at work or while traveling (of course, if you travel with a laptop containing the downloaded software, problem solved);
- While you can get an in-depth snapshot of your frequent flier accounts in one click, Mileport does not yet do the same for hotel programs (at least the ones I use), instead saying "Activity is not currently tracked for this program." It basically just provides how many points you've earned.
The verdict? Overall, a really useful product. As for improvement suggestions, I wish it would also send me e-mails saying "Hey, idiot, your points will expire in two months if you don't do something about it." But it makes checking my accounts so fast and easy, I probably don't need the prompt.