Airline Frequent Flyer Program

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Delta Airlines has announced a significant change in the qualification criteria for its regular flyers, which could reflect a more general trend in the industry. In short, in order to qualify for the elite status, it is no longer enough to collect mileage for Delta and its SkyTeam flight partners, it will also have to spend money on more specific Delta flights. Without spending and a pre-allocated Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) threshold, Delta frequent flyers cannot guarantee elite status (see table below).

Traveler and social media discussions of course give the changes a thumbs down. Delta Airlines is the first major “full-service” airline that clearly measures loyalty by how much you spend on the plane. In a sense, it makes perfect sense that an online company like Delta, which offers flights to almost all major destinations around the world, should reward its customers for choosing Delta over its partners. of SkyTeam because it gets most of the flight revenue it drives. . NBC News estimates that in 2011 alone, there was nearly $ 16 billion in uncertain frequent flying miles. According to, between 1981 and 2005, the number of available frequent flight miles increased from 2.2 billion to 14 trillion!

Airline Frequent Flyer Program

Airline Frequent Flyer Program

This represents a potential liability for airlines – unless they expire, lower their value (increase the number of miles required for an award ticket or upgrades) or limit their use. Another tactic more adopted by European airlines is to increase their “fuel surcharge” and other non-refundable charges on premium tickets in relation to those charged on the ticket paid in cash.

Airline Loyalty Programs: The 50 Billion Dollar Opportunity For Airlines

From making status more difficult to achieve and to lowering the value of the accumulated mileage of their frequent flyers, it is more difficult for frequent flyers to maintain their status with their airlines.

From a strategic marketing perspective, these trends are unreasonable for two reasons. First, it is known that the cost of acquiring a new customer is higher than retaining a customer. Depending on who you ask, doing this can be 4-7 times more expensive. Second, again, an airline that chooses not to copy everything by eliminating the benefits of its loyalty program may achieve a distinct advantage. But again, as this blog has always thought, airline managers are amazed at the similarity of competition … at the cost of strategic difference. Do you know the stamp on your wallet that gives you the 10th coffee free at your local coffee shop? Common Flying Programs work like that; but instead of coffee, you earn miles or points.

Each airline has its own frequent flyer program, which they often advertise as “loyalty” or “bonus programs”. Most programs are completely free to join and you can earn miles or points by flying with a select airline or airline within the same alliance. You can use your earned miles for free airfare and seat upgrades among other things.

Miles is what most airlines call their reward currency. A few years ago most airlines were based on their mileage programs. This means that if you travel from New York City to Miami, you get 1,097 miles, and if you travel back, you get a total of 2,194 miles. However, it is important to note that the number of miles you have accumulated does not equal the number of miles you have actually flown. Miles in turn serve as points in a compensation program, with each airline having its own level of reward. An example for the reward level might be that you need to cover at least 20,000 miles to get a free return ticket.

How Smart Loyalty Programs Can Create Tailwinds For Airline Recovery

Now most airlines are moving to revenue-based programs instead of mile-based programs. This means that miles are now given based on fare and not on actual distance traveled. For every dollar you spend, you get a few miles. How many miles are different on each plane. Income -based programs make it even more difficult for the average leisure traveler to collect many miles. For the frequent business traveler but it is a gold mine.

When deciding which loyalty program to join, the first thing you need to do is look at which airline has the most flights to and from your nearest airport. This simplifies the loyalty of an airline and thus gets more miles.

The next thing you have to do is answer the question “Why?” – why do you want to join the frequent flyer program? Is it to save money on plane tickets, get access to airport lounges or maybe get first class upgrades? Each loyalty program is designed differently and prioritizes different rewards. With one program it can be easier to get upgrades, while another takes a few miles to get free or cheaper airfare. Find a loyalty program that offers the best rewards for the rewards you find most interesting.

Airline Frequent Flyer Program

Another thing to look at is how many miles it takes per loyalty program to achieve elite status, which is something most airlines demand. If a regular flyer reaches a certain number of miles per year they will be rewarded with this classification. The elite status classification usually remains valid until the next calendar year.

What’s Happening To Frequent Flyer Programs?

An elite status member will receive more benefits than members without; this includes seat improvement, priority entry, free checked package and access to administrative lounges. It’s also common for elite members to receive mileage bonuses on every flight or every dollar spent, which means you’ll usually get miles faster than a regular member.

If you’re a regular flyer who changes planes every now and then and don’t want to miss any points, it doesn’t always have to be that you have multiple memberships to different common programs. That’s if the planes you want to travel are under the same alliance – most planes allow you to earn and redeem miles on fellow planes. Today, there are three major alliances in the world; Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance. It has most of the world’s airlines under their wings. So there is no need to participate in more than three loyalty programs – one for each alliance.

Take, for example, United Airlines. If you are already a member of their loyalty program MileagePlus but plan to travel with Scandinavian Airlines later, you also do not need to apply for membership with them. This is because United Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines are both members of the Star Alliance. But if you book a flight with British Airways, which is not part of the Star Alliance, you must be a member of their loyalty program or a program on another airline within the same alliance (in this case Oneworld) to get miles. As well as if you travel with an airline that is part of the SkyTeam alliance.

This is how it usually works. Many airlines also partner with airlines that are not part of their alliance. We therefore recommend looking at what companies will work with before deciding on a standard flyer.

How Do Airlines Use Frequent Flyer Programmes To Make Ancillary Revenue?

Actually, flying is just one way to get miles. Many airline loyalty programs allow you to earn miles while for example renting a car, booking a hotel room, shopping online and even eating at a restaurant-if the company rentals, hotels, online retailers and restaurants partner with the airline.

It’s not just the airlines themselves that offer paid miles. You can also accumulate miles by signing up for a credit card that will reward you with miles for every dollar spent. If you have already accumulated enough miles, you can redeem them for a flight ticket with any of the credit card -connected airlines. Today, there are two credit cards connected to specific airlines as well as credit cards that operate on any airline. The airlines will decide the amount of miles needed for a free ticket and you will earn miles just by using your credit card.

Since most airlines now implement revenue-based programs rather than miles based, there is no significant difference between reward miles per frequent flyers and those accrued per credit card.

Airline Frequent Flyer Program

The only difference is that with credit cards you earn miles on every purchase – no matter where and what you spend your money. If you are a member of a frequent flyer and buy, the airline and the retailer must agree to get you miles. If you have a large expense, you may want to pay with a credit card instead of participating in a regular flight program. If you’re a regular flyer, it might be more beneficial to choose a loyalty program.

The Best Airline Rewards Programs

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