It’s a good time to be a frequent flyer

In recent months, due to the crisis in the transport sector due to the coronavirus pandemic, several airlines have tried to attract passengers with discounts for those who join loyalty programs that reward the most frequent travelers, the so-called frequent flyer. For companies, encouraging the use of “miles points” that are assigned to each trip and giving away new ones is useful to ensure that passengers book their next trip with the same company. And also the Wall Street Journal he remarked that in this period the loyalty programs reserved for those who fly more often are cheaper than usual, in the United States as in Europe.

The “mileage points” are assigned according to the amount paid or the length of the trip, they can be managed online or loaded on special credit cards (the so-called “miles cards”) and be spent to book new flights and have additional services , but also give the right to agreements with hotels, car parks or car rentals.

To fill the planes a little more and boost the economy, some airlines have adopted alternative solutions to limit the damage, but an even greater number is focusing on “miles points” to retain those who travel occasionally.

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In recent times, companies like Qatar Airways gifted to new customers who had signed up for the program frequent flyer within certain time limits a bonus of up to 7,500 mileage points and additional miles are awarded if you book online.

On the other hand, companies like United have significantly lowered the number of miles needed to buy a ticket, in order to incentivize more passengers to use them. Michael Coley, director of United’s “MileagePlus” program, told al Wall Street Journal that to buy a free flight with the company next November will require 30 percent fewer miles than in the same period last year, and that passengers who use the accumulated miles to get free flights are increasing.

An independent survey carried out by the company IdeaWorks on the use of miles on the busiest routes of various US companies has shown that compared to last year, even less are needed to travel: even if the air traffic data for 2020 are not comparable with those of 2019, the survey says that to travel for free with United, customers had to use an average of 12,833 miles compared to 25,000 miles on average that were served last year: practically half.

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Even companies operating in Europe and Italy have recently been pushing a lot on loyalty programs.

British Airways, the flag carrier of the United Kingdom, allows members of its “Executive club” to travel on certain routes using only half the mileage points (Avios) that would have been needed to purchase the trip. The Spanish national airline Iberia and the low-cost Vueling use the same program: customers of the “Vueling club”, for example, can also accumulate Avios points on flights operated by Iberia, with which Vueling has a codeshare, that is, one company can carry passengers whose tickets have been issued by the other. Avios points do not expire unless the person enrolled in the program allows more than 3 years to go by without using them or accumulating new ones.

One of the companies that have enhanced their loyalty program is Alitalia, which postponed the expiry of the “thousand miles” points accumulated from 31 December 2020 to 31 December 2021 and extended the terms for using them to 31 January 2022. In addition, if you book a flight on certain routes, you can earn double the mileage points that would normally be awarded. Flying blue members, il Air France loyalty program and its partners, on the other hand, can take advantage of a discount of up to 50 percent to book a flight on certain routes, but can also use up to a quarter of the fewer miles to fly to other destinations. For example, booking a flight from Amsterdam to Turin with Air France now takes 6.75o miles instead of 9,000.

The largest program dedicated to frequent flyer Europeans is “Miles & More”, Which involves over 300 partners and is dedicated to the customers of about forty airlines, including Lufthansa, Swiss and Eurowings. From 1 January 2022 the program will be simplified and instead of accumulating different types of miles it will switch to a points system. In particular, Lufthansa said it wanted to reward “Multi-year loyalty” and will reserve special awards for customers who will be loyal to the companies that join the program: with Miles & More, the points accumulated by frequent flyer until 31 December 2021 they will be valid to more easily obtain the new “frequent traveller for life “and”senator for life ”, and therefore to be able to access exclusive services dedicated to the most loyal customers.

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