As we break into summer, a lot is concentrating our minds at GBN.
Is it worth joining an Airline Loyalty program?
Are you a frequent globetrotter? Do you find yourself using the same airline time and time again?
If so it might make sense to sign yourself up for a co-branded airline loyalty program.
Casual flyers that travel mainly for pleasure are usually price-orientated and less concerned about being loyal to one company. These passengers are often subscribed to several loyalty programs
Most frequent flyer programs are based on a ‘tier’ system; the more you spend on an airline the higher your status and the more benefits you reap.
The program will entice its passengers with special offers that keep them coming back for more. It is usually not only based on air travel but also includes getting discounts with certain hotel chains and car hire companies. A good example of this type of program is Virgin Atlantics Flying club that includes hotel partners such as Hilton, and Marriott Hyatt. Even low-cost airlines have also realized that they need a loyalty program as part of their success strategy.
Pros & Cons
Anyone can sign up and it is absolutely free of charge.
Miles accumulated usually have a relatively long expiry date so you do not lose them if you have not used them during the year.
When you have gained enough points you can use them for upgrades, food onboard, Wi-Fi and seating, depending on the airline.
As already mentioned, you can get access to special rates with hotel and car hire partners.
At a certain status, you have access to luxurious airport lounges that include complimentary food, drinks, Wi-Fi, shower facilities and even a spa.
One of the disadvantages is that there are very few seats available for upgrades and for round trips using your miles, especially during peak seasons such as school holidays, Christmas, Easter and long weekends over a bank holiday. And even with a loyalty program, there is no escaping the significant fuel charges and airport taxes that can sometimes match the price of a regular ticket!
Ultimately, the decision to pursue or continue your airline loyalty program membership will depend on what you value as a traveler.
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