What is an airline loyalty programme? And why you could be missing out.
Airline Loyalty Programmes offer fantastic incentives for travellers. If you aren’t using them, it could be time to reconsider.
There are two types of airline loyalty programmes. Individual schemes for travellers and corporate schemes for organisations. They can – and should – be used in conjunction to ensure you enjoy the maximum benefit.
Choose your schemes wisely. Definitely join the scheme of the airline you tend to use the most. Depending on your travel patterns, it may be worth joining more than one scheme. If you’re not sure which to choose, ask your Travel Management Company for advice.
Airline loyalty programmes often include access to free services for their members. This may include exclusive access to traveller lounges at airports. These lounges often lay on free services such as bottled water, complementary snacks, and free Wi-Fi. They also give travellers a quiet space in which to get work done. Make sure travellers are aware of the benefits open to them and encourage them to make use of them to help reduce costs.
Don’t let your loyalty cost you. Not every air fare qualifies for loyalty points so you may need to weigh up the benefits that your points may bring with the cost of your travel. Consider adding a section to your company travel policy to ensure your travellers understand when savings should take priority over points.
Most airlines partner with other airlines and loyalty programmes to enable their programme members to collect and/or use loyalty points with their partner companies. Often, travellers will be able to use the airport lounges of these alliance partners too. Make sure you understand and make the most of these partnerships.
Keep your Travel Management Company updated about all the schemes to which you have membership. Often, your Travel Management Company will be happy to take on the management of these schemes – keeping you updated when there are special deals and offers. Your TMC will also ensure that when travellers make a booking the relevant points are accrued on the individual and corporate loyalty accounts.
While the promise of “free” flights and upgrades might sound tempting, they might not be the best way to spend the points you accrue. Loyalty schemes often offer big discounts on other, associated travel expenses, such as airport transfers, car hire, partner hotels, etc.
If you’re serious about collecting individual points, using the airline’s credit card can often be a quick way to rack up additional points. Before you make the switch, review the small print to make sure that the cost of using the card doesn’t outweigh the points benefit for you.
Points can expire, so make sure you redeem them before the expiry date. If your Travel Management Company is managing the programmes for you, ask them to notify you when your points are approaching expiration.
Want to find out more about how we can help you make the most of your airline loyalty programmes? Please talk to your Travel Counsellor. If you don't yet have a Travel Counsellor, please contact us via the form below and we will be in touch.
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