The effectiveness of airline customer reward programmes has been called into question by a new study conducted by incremental revenue experts Collinson Latitude.
According to the research, four-out-of-ten UK residents who collect air miles or points have never tried to redeem them while six-out-of-ten complain it takes too long to collect sufficient points to gain anything of value.
While almost half of all UK residents flew at least once last year, less than a quarter (23%) said they collected airline loyalty points. The potential for free flights and saving money were cited as the most popular motivations for collecting.
When it came to ways of improving airline loyalty programmes, respondents who collect points had strong views. 70% of scheme members said that making rewards more accessible would encourage them to collect while 60% wanted to use their points for other travel services. 62% said that being able to use their points to purchase goods such as electrical items or travel accessories would act as an incentive. The ability to top up rewards with cash to buy goods was popular with 63% of those who collected points.
James Berry, Product Director for Collinson Latitude, said: “This study doesn’t paint a particularly pretty picture of many airline loyalty programmes. While there is clearly desire among consumers to collect these points, the way in which the loyalty programmes are being managed is throwing up barriers. Rewards seem to be beyond reach or are simply not attractive enough. Consumers are also being frustrated when they attempt to redeem their rewards by a lack of availability of flights.
“On a positive note, consumers are throwing the airlines a lifeline by highlighting ways in which these programmes can be improved. What’s important is for airlines to listen to the messages coming from their customers and take action.”
The study of 1,005 UK residents was conducted for Collinson Latitude by independent research company Aurora late last year.
Collinson Latitude’s iRedeem is an online redemption platform used by a wide range of blue chip companies internationally including major airlines. Built on leading e-commerce technology and with a network of global partners, iRedeem adds value to customer relationships, drives customer retention and differentiates loyalty programmes. A client’s own inventory can be incorporated to provide greater redemption choice and reduce distressed inventory.