Oct 05

October 5, 2017

Wyndham Rewards tops list for loyalty program reimbursement
Hotel Management
The third annual “CarTrawler Hotel Reward Payback Survey” was conducted by
IdeaWorksCompany and analyzes what guests earn back from hotel bookings. The study sifted through 1,350 reward queries from six reward programs: Best Western Rewards, Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards, Starwood SPG and Wyndham Rewards. As part of the process, the lowest reward price in points was recorded alongside the corresponding room price in U.S. dollars.

Oct 04

October 4, 2017

The Best and Worst Hotels for Cashing in Rewards Points for 2017
Wall Street Journal
A new study shows significant declines in buying power at some major hotel programs, with the number of points needed to book rooms rising even as the dollar cost of a room drops. The study calculates the payback you get from staying at major hotel chains by comparing the price you pay in cash for rooms and how many points it takes to book the same room. IdeaWorks, a consulting firm, conducted 1,350 reward queries at six big hotel companies (none of them clients). Travel technology company CarTrawler sponsored the study.

Sep 18

September 18, 2017

Airlines look to take flight with lucrative extras
Financial Times
Over the past decade, so-called ancillary fees have experienced huge growth. The top 10 airlines, ranked by total ancillary revenue, generated $2.1bn in 2007. In 2016, this had grown to more than $28bn, according to research by IdeaWorksCompany and CarTrawler.  Among the most successful groups at selling ancillary services are United, which generated $6.2bn in revenue last year, Delta, which generated $5.17bn, and American, which generated $4.9bn.  Globally airlines are estimated to have earned $67.4bn of income from ancillaries last year, representing about 9.1 per cent of airline revenue for 2016, up from 4.8 per cent in 2010.

Sep 15

September 15, 2017

Frequent flier programs generate profits for airlines and frustration for travelers
Los Angeles Times
Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorks Co., a consultant on boosting airline revenue, called frequent flier programs a “tremendous cash cow” for the airlines.  In a recent report, Sorensen estimated that the nation’s top four airlines — American, United, Delta and Southwest — generated a combined $9.5 billion in revenue last year from frequent flier programs.  “The programs have a huge impact on the bottom line for airlines,” he said. “They simply can’t do without them.”

Jun 12

June 12, 2017

How Much Are Frequent Flier Miles Really Worth?
New York Times
Merriam-Webster defines a mile as a unit of measurement equal to 5,280 feet. But in the increasingly byzantine world of frequent flier mileage reward programs, the term has little or no connection to physical distance. In 2015, United and Delta joined Southwest, Jet Blue and other airlines that award miles based upon ticket price and class, rather than distance traveled. American Airlines followed suit in August 2016.

May 18

May 18, 2017

Airlines Are Making It Harder to Book Frequent Flier Seats
Conde Nast Traveler
In its eighth annual Reward Seat Availability Survey, Ideaworks found that “76.6 percent of reward queries provided access to a saver-style reward seat; this dropped to 72.4 percent for 2017.” In simpler terms, it was slightly easier to find a flight using frequent flier miles last year than it is this year. The survey looked at both domestic and international frequent flier programs, and found the top airline, in terms of reward seat availability, was Southwest, with reward seats available 100 percent of the time.

May 17

May 17, 2017

The Best (and Worst) Frequent-Flier Programs for Free Seats for 2017
Wall Street Journal
An annual survey of availability of the type of frequent-flier ticket most travelers use shows a drop to 72% this year from 77% in 2016. Many foreign airlines known for superior service and seating have gotten more tightfisted with award seats. Availability on U.S. airlines actually improved, according to consulting firm IdeaWorks, and overall U.S. airlines offered better award availability than the rest of the world, even though American is among the skimpiest of all airlines.

Apr 14

April 14, 2017

Are all frequent-flier programs the same? We asked a rewards expert
Dallas Morning News
For decades, airline frequent-flier programs were based on a simple premise — the farther you flew, the more rewards you earned. But those days have largely come to an end, at least in the United States. American Airlines last year became the latest major carrier to change their frequent flier program to be based on the price of the ticket rather than the distance flown, mirroring steps taken by United, Delta and Southwest. Frequent-flier expert Jay Sorensen chronicled these changes in a recent report, comparing the different ways airlines around the world reward their most loyal customers.