Industry Update
External Article 4 March 2019

Travel Megatrends 2019: Travel Loyalty Is Overdue for Disruption

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We're in an era of copy-and-paste loyalty programs. Cowed by active investors and afraid of straying too far from the pack, operators of today's airline, hotel, and car loyalty programs run the conservative game of offering nearly the exact same thing that the competition delivers. It annually takes 25,000 miles and $3,000 in spend to earn low-level elite status on the major U.S. carriers. Stay in a big-brand hotel for 10 nights and the loyalty benefits start to roll in.

That formula may work for now, but tomorrow's consumers want more from their loyalty program. "Airline loyalty programs stopped becoming useful to me after all of the airlines started determining status in the same way — by how much you pay for a ticket," said Jonathan Khoo, a software engineer who travels frequently for work. "Now, I pretty much make flight booking decisions on wherever the cheapest flights take me."

According to research from Skift, tomorrow's travelers are less interested in the drumbeat of accumulating points for their weekly flight between Omaha and St. Louis and more in how they can use those points for unique experiences. In short, they want faster gratification and deeper engagement from their loyalty programs. Even shorter: they want disruption.

Read the full article at skift Inc.