Airlines Owe Frequent Flyers 27M Free Trips

Thoroughly filed in the ‘old news’ department, there’s a USA Today article up complaining about just how gosh darn difficult it is to redeem your frequent flyers miles these days. There’s no new information in the article, except a statistic we didn’t know that makes airline stinginess seem even worse: growth in frequent flyer programs increases at a rate of about 13% per year, even as it gets harder and harder to do anything with your points.

But there’s some other interesting statistics in the sidebar about frequent flyer programs, one of which we (like Upgrade Travel before us) thought worth highlighting.

• If travelers converted all their miles into free travel simultaneously, airlines would be liable for 27 million free trips.

The mind boggles. Twenty seven million free trips are owed to consumers right now, yet airlines are making it harder than ever before to get just one of those. Talk about an industry stretching itself thin as a wafer.

Frequent fliers turn a skeptical eye to the skies [USA Today]


Edit Your Comment

  1. thrillhouse says:

    well, hell no you can’t redeem them. they bait you with that crap, and then you find out that it takes approx 1.2 billion miles to fly from Indy to Chi-town. Credit cards are the worst. People spend more under the guise of free air miles. Statistics show that ove 75% are never redeemed.

    Now on a positive note – Southwest Airlines rocks! My wife travels for work weekly. Their program is so simple that we’ve rarely paid for a personal ticket in 3 years. And for the past year I’ve held a companion pass – anywhere she flys, I can go for free.

  2. Morgan says:

    I’d like to second Southwest rocking for their frequent flyer program. My girlfriend and I are flying to New Mexico for a wedding tomorrow; my mom, being the nice lady she is, decided she’d use up some of her frequent flyer miles to pay for poor-student-teacher girlfriend’s ticket. The process was easy to do online- only took a minute after we had the flights figured out- even though the passenger was someone other than my mother. A surprisingly pleasant experience.

    Of course, I’ll have to wait until Monday to tell you whether the flight itself is as good :)