Frequent Flyer History Lesson

By | August 20, 2006 has a fascinating article on the early days of frequent flyer programs here.

The days of frequent flyers getting special discounted fares seem gone. The majority of frequent flyer programs are based on awarding mileage or points based on the distance traveled and/or the class of service. A certain number of points/miles allow you to upgrade your travel or acquire free seats. Accumulating a certaiin amount also gives you benefits such as priority checkin and boarding and the possibility of complimentary upgrades if available.

Flyer loyalty program are based on the idea of encouraging repeat business. However, they are based, as the name says on “frequent” flyers. Loyal fliers are left in the lurch by some loyalty programs which have your miles or points expire at the end of a certain number of years before redemption is possible. There is no alternative for these less frequent, yet no less dedicated flyers but to join credit card programs which offer travel rewards, either with multiple or one carrier.

However, this also creates a problem. When credit card purchases result in credits of frequent flyer miles or points, it means intense competition for the limited number of frequent flyer seats most airlines make available.

Author: Guru

Guru is the Editor of Flight Wisdom and a long time aviation enthusiast.