Easyjet has announced a frequent flyer loyalty programme called Flight Club.

The low-cost carrier, which is today celebrating its 20th birthday, has trialled the scheme with more than 15,000 passengers over the last 18 months (see news, April 12).

It is due to be rolled out across Easyjet’s European network from early next year.

Passengers will be invited to join if they have booked or flown 20 or more flights or made a minimum spend over a 12-month period. Full details will be made available nearer launch.

Flight Club will not operate “like a traditional airline reward programme”, Easyjet CEO Carolyn McCall said.

Benefits include fee-free flight changes; free name changes; a price promise that if “passengers find the same flight on easyjet.com at a lower price, we’ll give them the price difference towards their next flight”; previews of new routes and special offers; and a dedicated contact centre.

Peter Duffy, Easyjet’s group commercial director – customer, marketing and product, told Business Traveller: “It’s going to be invitation only, which is unusual for a recognition programme.

“We’re going to identify all those passengers who qualify and will be rolling that out over the next 12 months on a base-by-base, country-by-country basis. It’s going to be targeted at those people who are flying over 20 times a year with us — that would be ten return flights — so it’s for our most regular customers.

“The whole programme is about giving them the flexibility they want to make the changes they need as very regular commuters.”

Flight Club will run alongside Easyjet Plus, which launched in 2008 and allows passengers free allocated seat choice, dedicated bag drop and fast boarding.

McCall said: “Flight Club will reward our most loyal, frequent flyers – most of whom will fly with us more than 20 times a year.

“It isn’t like a traditional airline reward programme because our customers have told us that those schemes can be a source of frustration. This is a loyalty scheme with a difference because it gives passengers benefits they really value and can access immediately.

“It is also simpler to run which means that we can continue to keep our costs low – which will enable us to keep our fares low.”