Big spenders vs frequent flyers

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This topic contains 73 replies, has 32 voices, and was last updated by  TiredOldHack 6 Oct 2014
at 08:33

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  • Anonymous

    Dear readers,

    We are running a feature on revenue-based loyalty schemes are would be interested in your thoughts and insights…

    Are you a member of a revenue-based airline loyalty scheme such as Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards or Jetblue’s True Blue? What has your experience been like?

    What do you think about legacy carriers such as Delta that are introducing schemes that require you to have spent a certain amount of money to achieve tier status, as opposed to simply taking a certain number of flights or flown a certain number of miles?

    (Since January, there is a minimum spend requirement for US Delta Skymiles members to qualify for status in the 2015 Medallion programme based on the price of tickets purchased.)

    Have you ever done a mileage run? What was your experience?

    What impact on the industry/the traveller will revenue-based loyalty schemes have?

    Do you think rewards based on distance or price are fairer?

    What do you think about revenue-based schemes for hotels brands such as Marriott and Hilton?

    Many thanks.


    It seems to me that the business travel industry isn’t in step with how companies, especially those multinational companies who have proactively targeted travel costs as an easy way of proclaiming their green credentials or indeed their commonality with us all here living in Austere land by implementing strict travel booking policy.

    A great example of this would be the lack of colleagues using BA’s lounges anymore. As its almost impossible to retain any kind of status now even though there are many who ply the EDI to LHR route reasonably regularly. A few years ago I would be disappointed if I didn’t meet a colleague in the diamond lounge. Now?

    I’ll add, can you imagine the furore in the red top press if they found out that the same people who created Austere Land were lording about in premium cabins. Not that I work in the financial sector.

    So revenue based schemes in that environment won’t even tempt me to chase status,because I know I’ll end up disappointed.



    In which case you will be more than a tad disappointed to learn that Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, has just launched a scathing attack (“IMF’s Lagarde attacks financial sector for blocking reform”)

    on the entire financial sector for blocking reforms. Presumably this will include the pay, pensions, privileges and perks that will include travel policies providing ready access to any number of airline lounges… Following from my previous exposure to the masters of the universe, self-denial is not something that was ever trumpeted.


    Logic dictates loyalty status should be revenue based but if you are trolling around eurrope the whole time in discounted economy you should earn lounge access at some stage

    Because I did all my own bookings with my own BA Amex card I was given a very high CIV as although I was not quite gold guest list I was much more profitable than many who were but who travelled on corporate discounts…


    I cannot comment so much in any of the revenue schemes really that are above but it is an interesting topic.

    A few years back (before BA lowered and introduced new tiers) i was doing a lot of UK domestic flights which earn basically no tier points and therefore not much status. If i had worked out how much i had spent monetary wise on all the sectors (it was near 30-40) it would been significant but still not gained a loyalty status- Compared to somebody flying business long haul with 2/3 flights would have achieved a loyalty status. My guess based on average fare prices it would have been close!

    For me personally i don’t think i would see myself heading down the route but then again if i could boost my tier point count with money to keep a status if I’m falling slightly short in a year that might be beneficial cost wise depending how you value it but thats a seperate point to the above topic.


    I find Frequent Flyer programs are becoming tougher, either by making awards more expensive, limiting mileage accrual, or making it harder to achieve/retain status.

    I have never done a mileage run as such, however I have payed for a higher fare/cabin in order to achieve/retain status.


    Excuse my ignorance, but what is a mileage run?


    Morning Canucklad, by coincidence I’d just finished reading the FT and this article when I saw this thread.

    Lagarde and most of the top management of the IMF travel in First. They have no qualms about this at all.


    Perhaps the need to move to revenue based is in part due to the “Quantitative Easing” of airmiles created for non aviation related purchasers… including credit card applications.

    Probably more of a case it airlines needing to reduce the number of miles in circulation…

    Revenue based awards would reward those that actually spend on the airline / alliance in question..


    I seem to remember someone telling me that British Airways Executive Club gives you an “internal status” based on how much revenue you generate for them. Can anyone shed some light on that?


    Martyn, you’ve git a very valid point, and I suppose it makes sense to differentiate between loyalty to Tesco and loyalty to BA.

    LP, after I made my comment, I thought about it a little longer and realised that SKY high travel costs probably help some financial institutions from reporting ridiculously obscene profits at year end, so probably a sensible tactic on their part to live the HIGH life : )

    Something that has become to irk me somewhat is that my historic loyalty isn’t recognised, in some cases its exactly the opposite and I’m treated like a leper for daring to drop a tier level !

    Edited to add this clip to start everybody’s week off with a chuckle…..


    LP, a miliage run is taking a flight with no other purpose than to accrue miles or FFPs to retain your status with a particular frequent flyer program.

    I.e. if you need just another 800 miles to retain your gold status on a Frequent Flyer Program you could take a cheap flight that will get you the miles required. This means that you will retain your status for another period.


    late 80’s & early 90’s my not infrequent trips between US west coast & UK were largely done on United as, in those days BA (my preference) gave no FF credit for economy fliers.
    With United, Gold status @ 50,000 miles was not difficult (circa 4 round trips in any economy fare class) & let me fly economy from the UK to US but also gave free upgrades for US to UK. All has now changed and Gold, & upgrades, are harder to get on United and BA does give credit on quite low fares.


    We used to do the same Canucklad, not because we were high profile but in order to reduce profits. I never saw the point in going economy and using 2 star hotels only for the tax man to take (then) 70% of the savings!

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