Promotional Feature

Balancing Loyalty Program Rewards


In 1981 United States carrier American Airlines began the first frequent flyer program with a list of 150,000 of its most valued clientele. Today there are nearly 300 million frequent flyer members worldwide with an accumulated 9.7+ trillion miles outstanding [1]. Airlines estimate the value of these miles is in the neighborhood of 570 Billion USD, roughly the GDP of Ecuador. 

Active members of loyalty programs belong to an average of 6.2 [2] programs ranging from airlines, hotels, car rentals and credit cards. Loyalty programs have become so prevalent that many of these miles go unused and expire each year due to the fact that it has become problematic for frequent flyer members to manage these programs, in addition to airline policies that constantly change.

It is advisable for frequent flyer members of India based Jet Airways and Air India to be aware of these programs mileage expiration policies. Jet Airways’ JetPrivilege miles has one of the strictest expiration policies, expiring 12 months from the month in which they were earned [3]. Air India is much lighter with their Flying Returns mileage points which are valid during the year of accrual plus three additional calendar years [4]. Air India does however require program participants to accumulate a minimum number of mileage points during the three year period of membership:
· The minimum mileage accrual rate is 10,000 mileage points.
· Members having less than the minimum Mileage Points as specified from time to time may continue with Flying Returns Membership by paying a nominal fee for renewing the membership for another 3 years. The nominal fee for renewal is Rs500 or equivalent thereof in local currency, based on the country of membership [5].

A practical option for tracking the balances and expirations of your loyalty programs is to sign up for a loyalty program management website. Free online services such as allow you to: login to each loyalty program account without having to enter individual emails and passwords, update all your reward balances with a single click and will email alerts to members well before rewards expire.
With research and a little help from our recommended online resource AwardWallet, instead of having to squander your rewards last minute or lose them altogether, loyalty members can relax while utilizing their rewards for an ideal vacation.


2. The 2009 COLLOQUY Loyalty Marketing Census

3. Point Hub

4. Air India website

5. Air India website

February 2011

click here to enlarge

 >> Cover Story
 >> From the Editor