Reward Programmes

In an effort for brand loyalty there are benefit programmes for everything from books to airline tickets. These companies track your every purchase and then using algorithms to target offers and emails to match your previous choices. If you are an Amazon member you must receive daily emails offering you items that matched your previous searches and delete them almost immediately. I do because if I have already purchased something I don’t understand why I would want to buy it over again and again.

Anyway the airlines in their efforts to compete against the low cost carriers are changing their air mile or points systems. This is making it harder and harder to get free miles. Don’t they see that all that will happen is they will open up the choice to use a different carrier the next time around.

I previously wrote about saying goodbye to Virgin Atlantic after nearly two decades of faithful flying because it would be impossible for me to get enough miles to buy something from their duty free collection let alone a flight. So it didn’t really surprise me to see that Delta has introduced something similar, seeing they are Virgin Atlantic’s parent.

I am a leisure traveller and can only dream of being an executive constantly flying into and around the States but there are millions of American travellers who use the airlines like we use the trains in the UK in order to do business.

What if all these loyalty programmes were scrapped and it once again became a commercial level playing field where airlines had to offer genuine competitive air fares? The low cost carriers are winning the battle against the full service carriers hands down because they say what it is on the tin, so to speak. The answer the full service carriers seem to think is offer so many different options – take a bag, don’t take a bag, select a seat, pay to select a seat, make luggage allowances smaller and so on.

Some airlines have aligned themselves with charge or credit cards in order to get rewards for free flights. Have you seen how much you have to spend in the first year to get a one way flight into Europe? No wonder there is a debt crisis. I don’t think I spend that amount in three years!

I am sure that there are thousands of loyal collectors of points/miles who are being squeezed and that will never have the opportunity to cash them in and after all the hard work in planning business or leisure trips are going to lose out in the end.

I would use your points whilst you can.