Beyond Miles: How Frequent Flyer Programmes have evolved to Offer an Array of Lifestyle Rewards & Perks

With air miles no longer being the only focal point of frequent flyer programmes, travellers – frequent or not – cannot enjoy an array of lifestyle benefits from these programmes.

Frequently flyer programmes have come a long way in the last four decades. Earlier, these programmes were a simple marketing proposition to get passengers to fly more on a particular airline – fly, earn miles, redeem it on future flights.

Today, frequent flyer programmes are large networks of industry-wide partnerships and offer rewards and perks that go beyond miles.

The Evolution of Frequent Flyer Programmes from Loyalty Programmes to Lifestyle Programmes

A few years ago, most frequent flyer programmes offered customers a chance to earn free reward flights when they accumulate a certain number of miles. As a result, members of these loyalty programmes were tied to one airline. They even purchased expensive tickets so that they could continue building their points stash. However, with an increase in competition, this strategy was not sufficient for airlines to retain loyal customers.

Airlines had to provide customers with a refined and evolved frequent flyer programme to solve customer problems and to ease their pain points. This was the dawn of the new era of airline rewards programmes.

Today, airline reward programmes are more than loyalty and marketing. It’s about providing customers with a convenient experience.

To give an example, today, most rewards programmes come with a refined and sophisticated web portal. Members of the rewards programme can log into the portal and use it to handle a wide array of services. From booking flights (not just on one airline but across airlines) to redeeming accumulated points at multiple partners, rewards programmes offer a whole range of benefits and convenience. Here are some of the lifestyle perks that members get when they join a rewards programme:

  • Earn points when booking a flight, hotel room, renting a car, or online shopping via the rewards portal.
  • Redeem points across partners – for flight tickets, hotel rooms, at restaurants, purchase gadgets, accessories, clothing, etc.
  • Interoperability – This is the crucial trait of rewards programmes today. Customers can quickly transfer the points earned from one programme to another, to enjoy a broader range of benefits.
  • Besides earning and redeeming points, airline rewards programmes offer other lifestyle benefits like checking the status of your flight, online check-in, choosing seats, placing meal orders, and more. All of which provide convenience and lifestyle enhancement.

Convenience matters more than Discounts

There’s a famous saying in marketing circles, “A customer remembers the experience with a brand long after he/she has forgotten the discount.” True to this saying, airline loyalty programmes offer innovative services and lifestyle rewards to make customers’ lives easier. They strive to provide customers with a seamless experience, helping them get more out of the loyalty programmeme. Today customers also evaluate the entire ‘’experiential” aspect of using the services of loyalty programmemes.

More than Miles

Today, frequent flyer programmes are more than earning and redeeming miles. They offer several lifestyle enhancements and perks that benefit both the frequent – and non-frequent – traveller. So, make sure to evaluate the different loyalty programmes available and choose the right one that fits your lifestyle requirements.