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Last summer, my sister ended up with a $1,200 Delta First class ticket for the low cost of $19 because I paid for Freebird flight protection. I absolutely loved the protection the service offered for domestic itineraries and usually bought it for every low-cost carrier flight.
However, earlier this year with coronavirus wrecking havoc on the aviation industry, Freebird stopped offering its protection to the public as its business model was no longer sustainable with such unpredictability. That certainly doesn’t mean its technology is worthless and Capital One obviously thinks the same thing.
Earlier this week, Skift reported that Capital One acquired Freebird’s flight disruption technology and most of its staff are now working for Capital One.
As soon as I read the news, the possibilities of what Capital One could offer with this technology flooded my mind. I don’t think they can offer Freebird protection in its previous form, but the technology could make a really savvy and really affordable flight insurance policy intriguing to Capital One cardholders, bank customers and Capital One travel customers.
Best case scenario, we end up with an amazing new card benefit with some form of Freebird protection being offered on domestic flights booked with a Capital One credit card. I think worse case scenario, a Freebird-type protection is offered at a very affordable price as an add-on to any travel booked via Capital One.
When I originally found the service and talked to representatives, it was apparent that this technology created to track and predict domestic flight disruptions was incredible. The company had almost hidden in plain sight for a number of years before it became popular with frequent flyers just over the last 18 months or so.
Capital One seized Freebird at the right moment and I’d imagine got a great value buy with Freebird’s public-facing business model, effectively done with COVID-19. Freebird founder Ethan Bernstein is now a Senior Business Director for travel at Capital One and will hopefully help integrate his technology into a great offering for Capital One customers. I’ll be closely following how this unfolds and look forward to what the two companies come up with together moving forward.
Featured image by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.