Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rewards Revamp

Rewards programs have always been a perk for frequent flyer travelers. Although these individuals may be traveling for business, they can still earn rewards for pleasure. Thus, a lot of commotion arose when two major airlines changed their systems recently.

Delta’s new rewards program eliminates expiration dates for points earned. However, this addition only benefits the infrequent flyers, who were most at danger for losing their points. For the business travelers, nothings really changed for them. Delta hopes that without expiration date they will get more customers.
“After discussions with our customers through surveys and focus groups, it was apparent that they view their miles as a form of currency,” Mike Henny, the general manager of Delta’s SkyMiles Medallion program, says. “The breakage of these miles was of minimal gain to Delta, but eliminating expiration was a big win for customers.”

On the other hand, Southwest’s program has created a bit more chatter. The old system based points around every one-way flight and any unused points expired after two years. Now, the system is based around the length and the price of the ticket.
Therefore, the “Wanna Get Away” tickets will receive fewer points than the “Business Select”. Additionally, if you shop or dine, you can earn more points. You can even purchase points in this new program – the minimum is 2,000 points at one time.
While there are disadvantages to this new program, there are several positives as well. Southwest has eliminated blackout dates. Therefore, a flyer can redeem their points for any flight and with no additional fees. There are also no charges for changing flight reservations.

Although some changes have been made to the rewards systems –and there may be more to come, the bottom line is that these airlines want to reward you for your loyalty.

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