Nearly 50% of frequent flyers still don’t know how to earn or redeem miles

Dec 17, 2019

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More than one year after J.D. Power released its 2018 survey results, it turns out that nearly half of all frequent flyers still have no idea how to earn or redeem their points and miles.

We’re betting the TPG audience is much better educated, but keep reading if you need help. It’s one of our primary missions at The Points Guy … to get you value for your hard-earned currency (of all kinds).

According to the 2019 results of the same study, 45% of airline loyalty program members reported that they don’t know how to redeem their miles for flights or other rewards. And approximately the same number of travelers weren’t even sure how to earn miles within their airline loyalty programs. (We aren’t talking about the wacky ones.) Ultimately, JetBlue Airways TrueBlue won again for the highest marks in customer satisfaction, slightly ahead of Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

“This is the third year in a row that we’ve seen airline loyalty program customer satisfaction hampered by a widespread lack of understanding of how to extract the most value from the programs,” said Michael Taylor, J.D. Power’s travel intelligence lead.

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Here are the main reasons why travelers don’t find value in their loyalty programs, according to J.D. Power’s 2019 study:

  • Travelers aren’t satisfied with loyalty programs that are difficult to understand.
  • Travelers are loyal to brands that acknowledge them by name during the travel process.
  • Travelers value perks that benefit their travel experience, such as discounts on airport ride services, waived fees for same-day flight changes and lowest price guarantees.
  • Travelers appreciate brands with well-designed mobile apps.

Points and miles are a type of currency in the travel world. Each credit card issuer, airline and hotel has its own loyalty program, and the points or miles you can earn within each system carry a certain value, even if you don’t quite know how or where to use them. If you’re new to earning and spending points and miles, check out our TPG beginners’ guide for a full breakdown.

Featured photo by Getty Images.

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