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The Pros and Cons of Airline Loyalty Programs: A Comprehensive Review

Airline loyalty programs have been around for decades, offering frequent flyers the opportunity to earn miles or points that can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, and other rewards. While loyalty rewards programs can significantly benefit travelers, they also have their fair share of drawbacks.

In this blog, we will review the pros and cons of airline reward programs and explore how airlines are navigating these challenges.

Pros of Airline Loyalty Programs

Airlines have introduced frequent flyer programs as these can increase loyal customers. Some advantages that lead to this conclusion are as follows:

Free Flights and Upgrades

The most significant benefit of airline reward programs is free flights and upgrades. Frequent flyers can earn miles or points by booking flights, using credit cards, or staying at partner hotels. These miles can be redeemed for flights, upgrades, or other rewards, significantly saving travelers.

Take an example of Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles rewards program, which allows travelers to earn miles by booking flights, using Delta’s credit cards, or staying at partner hotels. These miles can then be redeemed for flights, upgrades, or other rewards, providing significant value to frequent flyers.

Priority Treatment

Another benefit of airline reward programs is the priority treatment given to frequent flyers. Elite members of reward programs are often given priority boarding, access to priority security lines, and other perks that make travel more comfortable and convenient.

For example, United Airlines offers a MileagePlus rewards program, which offers Premier status to its most frequent flyers. These members are given priority boarding, access to priority security lines, and other perks that make travel more comfortable and convenient.

Partner Programs

Airline reward programs often offer partner programs, allowing members to earn miles or points through other means, such as credit card spending, hotel stays, or car rentals. It provides more opportunities for members to earn rewards and other incentives, even when they are not traveling.

American Airlines offers its AAdvantage rewards program. It is considered one of the best airline loyalty programs, which allows members to earn miles through credit card spending, hotel stays, and car rentals. It provides more opportunities for members to earn rewards and redeem them for flights or other rewards.

Cons of Airline Reward Programs

Even though loyalty programs are profitable, some checks and balances should be considered. Airline companies must consider these checks while creating and running loyalty programs.

Complex Rules and Restrictions

In airline loyalty programs, redemption options can be limited, and blackout dates and other restrictions often make it challenging to redeem rewards.

For example, some airlines may limit the number of reward seats available, making it difficult to redeem miles for a flight. Similarly, some airlines may have blackout dates during peak travel times, making redeeming rewards during these periods challenging.

Expiration Dates

Another drawback of airline reward programs is the expiration dates that come with the rewards. Miles or points earned through reward programs may have expiration dates, making it challenging to accumulate enough rewards to redeem for a significant benefit

For example, Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles rewards program requires members to earn or redeem miles every 12 months to keep their account active. Failure to do so will result in the loss of any accumulated miles

Devaluation of Points

Airline reward programs can also suffer from the devaluation of points, which occurs when airlines increase the miles or points required to redeem them. Frequent flyers can find it challenging to accumulate enough rewards to redeem for a significant benefit.

For example, in 2014, Delta Air Lines increased the miles required to redeem some of its rewards, making it more challenging for members to redeem them

Navigating the Pros and Cons

While airline reward programs have pros and cons, airlines constantly work to navigate these challenges. For example, some airlines are introducing more flexible redemption options, making it easier for members to redeem their rewards. Others are introducing new partnerships to provide more opportunities for members to earn rewards.

For example, Delta Air Lines introduced its SkyMiles program, offering members benefits such as priority boarding, free checked bags, and discounted Delta Sky Club memberships. This program allows members to earn rewards without accumulating miles or points, providing more flexibility

Another example is Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards program, which allows members to redeem rewards for any available flight with no blackout dates. It provides members with more flexibility in redeeming their rewards and makes it easier to find available flights to redeem their rewards.

In addition to these changes, airlines are working to improve their reward programs by providing more value to their members. For example, some airlines are introducing more premium rewards, such as access to exclusive airport lounges, private jet charters, or experiences such as culinary tours or concert tickets


Airline reward programs offer significant benefits for frequent flyers, such as free flights, priority treatment, and partner programs. However, they also come with drawbacks. That’s why airlines constantly work to improve their loyalty programs and provide more value to their members

As travelers navigate the post-COVID world, airline loyalty programs may become even more important as airlines look to attract customers back to the skies. By understanding the pros and cons of these programs and how airlines navigate these challenges, travelers can make informed decisions about which reward programs to participate in and how to maximize their rewards.

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5 Surprising Benefits of Retailer Loyalty Programs You Didn’t Know

In today’s retail world, businesses constantly strive to increase their customer base and retain existing customers. One way to do this is through loyalty programs. These programs offer customers rewards for their loyalty and encourage repeat business

Retailers are businessmen who always consider what is best for them and their customers. So, they have different requirements. These requirements differentiate them significantly. These differentiations are based on many factors. So, there are many things about retailer loyalty that brands may need to learn. This blog will discuss five things you didn’t know about the retailer loyalty program and its members.  

Likely to spend more money

Retailers in loyalty rewards programs are more likely to spend more money than non-members. According to a study by the Nielsen Company, loyalty program members spend an average of 13% more per visit than non-members. It is because loyal members feel connected to the brand and are more likely to make repeat purchases

In addition, loyalty programs often offer rewards for spending more money, incentivizing members to spend more.  

| “Six-in-ten retailers have used or plan to use buy now, pay later services, compared to 13% not enrolled in loyalty programs.” |  

To take advantage of this, brands should consider offering rewards encouraging retailers to spend more money. For example, brands can offer bonus points or discounts to reach a certain spending threshold. It increases revenue and strengthens the relationship between the retailers and the brand.  

Likely to Recommend Your Business  

Loyal retailers are more likely to promote your business to others. According to a study by Bond Brand Loyalty, 81% of retailers are likely to recommend the brand they are loyal to. It is because loyalty programs positively perceive the brand and are more likely to share that with others.  

To capitalize on it, brands should encourage retailers and other channel partners to refer to the loyalty program to friends and family. It can be done by offering referral rewards, such as bonus points or discounts. Brands can also use social media to encourage referrals by offering exclusive promotions to retailers who share their loyalty program with their followers.  

Engage with Your Brand

According to a study by Bond Brand Loyalty, loyal channel partners are 70% more likely to engage with a brand on social media than non-members. It is because they feel connected to the brand and are more interested in what the brand has to say.  

To take proper advantage, brands should engage with their loyal members both online and offline. It can be done by offering exclusive promotions and discounts to members based on their engagement, sales performance, and experience on social media. Brands can use events, and in-store experiences as well.  

Negligence if Minor Issues Occur   

Loyal channel partners are more forgiving regarding mistakes made by the brand. According to a study by Accenture, 77% of loyalty program members are willing to forgive a mistake made by the brand if they have a good loyalty program. It happens due to the positive perception of the brand.  

To take advantage of this, retailers should address any mistakes made by their loyalty members. It can be done by offering apologies and compensation, such as bonus points or discounts. Retailers should also communicate with their loyalty members and keep them informed about any issues that may arise.

Preference for Personalized Experiences  

Loyalty members want personalized experiences when interacting with your brand. According to a study by Accenture, 56% of loyalty program members expect personalized experiences when interacting with a brand. It is because loyal members want to feel valued and appreciated by the brand.  

| “ When cardholders receive personalized offers, issuers see up to 18% spend increase from retailer who redeem, and a 75% reduction in churn.” By Mastercard Study |  

Brands must offer personalized experiences to their loyalty program members. It can be achieved by sending personalized emails and promotions based on the member’s purchase history and preferences. Brands can also use data and analytics to offer personalized recommendations and product suggestions based on the member’s past behavior. By providing personalized experiences, brands can increase satisfaction and engagement of retailers.  

Lastly, retail loyalty programs are a powerful tool for businesses to increase customer retention and drive revenue. Loyal members are more likely to spend more money, recommend your business to others, engage with your brand, forgive mistakes, and want personalized experiences. By understanding these critical insights, brands can develop loyalty programs that cater to their channel partners’ and customers’ needs and preferences. By doing so, they can build stronger relationships with their customers, increase customer satisfaction, and drive long-term growth. 



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Top 3 Trends Reshaping the Landscape of Loyalty Programs

In today’s fiercely competitive market, customer loyalty has become an essential aspect of any successful business. With a plethora of options available to customers, businesses must find ways to keep them engaged and satisfied. As a result, loyalty programs have emerged as an effective strategy for building channel partners and customer loyalty.

Loyalty programs have become a standard part of the channel partner and customer experience across multiple industries. With increasing competition and changing buyers’ behaviors, companies are exploring new ways to build and maintain customer loyalty.   

However, like any industry, loyalty programs have evolved over time, and new trends have emerged. In recent years, we have seen several trends shaping the loyalty industry.

In this blog, you will learn about each of these trends and how they are impacting the loyalty industry.

Strategic Partnership Redefining Loyalty Platform Terrain 

It is an effective way for businesses to increase the value of their loyalty programs, where one business partners up with another. It makes loyalty programs able to offer a wider range of rewards and benefits to customers, creating a more attractive program. This trend has gained momentum in recent years, with many businesses forming partnerships to offer more value to their customers.  

First example of a strategic partnership is the partnership between American Express and Uber. In this partnership, American Express cardholders can earn reward points when they use their card to pay for their Uber rides. This partnership has proven to be successful, with both companies benefiting from increased exposure and customer engagement.

The other example is the partnership between Starbucks and Spotify. In this partnership, Starbucks Rewards members can earn reward points by listening to music on Spotify. This partnership has proven to be successful in driving customer engagement and loyalty, as well as increasing sales for both companies.  

Card Linking to Simplify Redeem Rewards 

It is another trend that is shaping the loyalty industry. It involves linking a customer’s payment card to a loyalty program to enable the automatic earning of rewards.  

  • This trend is driven by the desire to simplify the reward redemption process and increase channel partners engagement.  
  • It eliminates the need to enter loyalty program codes or scan receipts manually. Instead, rewards are automatically earned when the customer makes a qualifying purchase using their linked payment card.  
  • It saves time and effort for customers, making it more likely that they will continue to engage with the loyalty program.

 Example: OpenTable’s dining rewards program allows customers to link their payment card to the program to automatically earn points when they dine at participating restaurants. It makes earning rewards easier for customers and encourages them to dine at participating restaurants more frequently. 

Card linking can also benefit companies by providing them with valuable customer data.  

  • By tracking customers’ spending habits, companies can gain insights into customer preferences and tailor their loyalty programs accordingly. It can also be used for targeted marketing campaigns, further increasing engagement and loyalty.  

Another Example of card linking is the partnership between Mastercard and Rakuten. In this partnership, Mastercard cardholders can link their card to their Rakuten account and earn reward points automatically when they make purchases at participating merchants. This partnership has proven to be successful in driving customer engagement and loyalty, as well as increasing sales for both companies.  

Supporting ESG Causes to Increase Channel Partner Engagement  

Supporting the ESG cause is a trend that is gaining momentum in loyalty platforms. ESG stands for environmental, social, and governance and refers to a company’s commitment to sustainability, ethical business practices, and corporate governance.

  • It is driven by the growing demand for responsible business practices and the desire to align loyalty programs with these values.
  • Many companies are incorporating ESG causes into their loyalty programs by allowing customers to donate rewards points to charitable organizations or support environmentally friendly initiatives.  
  • This approach provides customers with a way to make a positive impact while also increasing engagement with the customer loyalty program.

Example: Marriott’s Bonvoy loyalty program allows customers to donate points to various charitable organizations, such as the American Red Cross or UNICEF. This approach not only supports important causes but also aligns with Marriott’s commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices.  

  • Supporting ESG causes can also benefit companies by enhancing their reputation and attracting socially conscious customers.  
  • By demonstrating a commitment to responsible business practices, companies can differentiate themselves from competitors and build stronger relationships with customers who share these values.  

Another example is the Toms Passport Rewards program. Toms is committed to supporting social causes, and this commitment is reflected in its loyalty program. Toms’ Passport Rewards members earn reward points when they make purchases, and a portion of their purchases goes towards supporting social causes.  

| “While the bottom line of any company is to make a profit, it’s essential for them to contribute to society in order to increase their profitability.” | 

Blog’s Diagnosis 

The loyalty industry is constantly evolving, with new trends and approaches emerging to meet changing consumer demands. By partnering with other companies, offering seamless loyalty experiences, and supporting sustainability initiatives, businesses can attract and retain customers who are increasingly demanding more from the brands they choose to support. These practices incorporated into loyalty programs can enhance the customer experience, increase engagement, and drive long-term loyalty.  

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