Many airlines are moving to make their rewards programs more about how much money is spent, similar to how the Aspire MasterCard credit card rewards program works. Mileage-based programs are being left behind by major airlines this year.
Mileage-based Programs Too Exclusive?
Big airlines are looking to expand their loyal customer base. There are the people who take a lot of flights for business, but there are also those who take trips for leisure and pay for the more expensive options, like first class seats. However, those who mainly travel for leisure tend to base airline choice by price since mileage doesn’t mean as much to them. This is where airlines realized they’re missing out.
United Airlines announced in March that is would begin to award miles based on the price of the ticket rather than the length of the trip. Points are awarded per dollar spent, and the hope is this will attract a larger loyalty club. Delta has also switched to this model.
Many foreign airlines are taking a different approach to this problem. The program is still based on miles flown, but they reduce the percentage of miles needed for some of their cheaper flights.
Both Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways use a points-based rather than mileage-based program and have seen great success. A survey found consumers are much happier with these programs than with some of their competitors.
The Southwest Rewards Program has seen a 65% increase in members since its switch in 2011.
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