Rankings for Frequent Flier Programs: How Airlines Fared
“The programs at the top are younger programs,” says Jay Sorensen, president of loyalty consulting firm IdeaWorksCompany, which sponsors an annual survey on award availability. “They don’t have these big huge overhanging liabilities of miles or points that have been accrued through credit-card activity. There isn’t this huge pile of points they’re trying to get off the books, where you have too many miles chasing too few reward seats.”
United Plans to Award Miles Based on Fare, Not Distance
United announced Tuesday that starting March 1, 2015, it will revamp its MileagePlus program to award fliers based on total ticket price, rather than miles flown. Regular travelers will earn five times their fare; elites will earn seven to 11 times the fare, depending on their tier. . . Given that United hasn’t announced any changes on its redemption side, where a round-trip domestic ticket costs 25,000 miles, many travelers will be that much further from redemption. “Clearly the programs are being redesigned to favor high-yield passengers,” said Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorksCompany, a frequent flier research firm.
Global aviation leaders jet into Doha for key summit
According to US-based aviation research company IdeaWorksCompany, the second major structural change in airline performance over the years has been the emergence of ancillary businesses. Based on data from IdeaWorksCompany, the average ancillary revenue per passenger could exceed $13 this year from zero in 2007.
Frequent flier smiles: It’s easier to redeem miles
The annual Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey, which gauges the frequent flier programs at 25 of the world’s largest airlines, found seats were available for frequent flier redemption on 72.4 percent of the flights checked. That’s a very slight increase compared with the prior year. “I was surprised by this year’s results,” said Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorksCompany consulting firm, which surveyed 7,640 flights in March. “Typically, when you see the industry recovering from financial duress, one of the things they cut back on is giving away free seats.”
What’s next for airline fees? More ways to pay
Although the latest numbers may show a slight decline in how much passengers are paying airlines to check their bags, the long- term trend is clearly heading in the other direction. “They’re going to go up,” predicted Jay Sorensen, the president of IdeaWorks, a research firm that advises the industry. “The airlines are always testing higher rates to see if it will fly.”
Jay Sorensen, whose company IdeaWorksCompany offers airlines advice on ancillary revenue, recently studied a variety of retail opportunities at locations where the customer remains in one place and product is brought to the seat, not unlike the situation on airplanes. He reviewed sales in restaurants, on trains and at a sport arena. “In every case there were two things that were consistent,” he says of his findings. “First, they were very visible with the product. If the customer can’t see it, they’re not going to buy it. And second, a motivated sales person ends every sale with ‘What else can I get you?’ The person asks for the sale.”
New York Times
Flying Like a Rock Star, but It’s Not Cheap
Last week, IdeaWorksCompany issued a fascinating report, “V.I.P. for a Fee,” which describes the various V.I.P. services airlines offer at airports. The services often include airport curbside-to-plane personal escorts, priority check-in and even fripperies, such as being driven to the airplane by limousine. (By the way, that usually requires the fancy-pants passenger to climb steep stairs from the tarmac to the airplane.)
Airlines offer increasing number of a la carte VIP perks, for a fee of course
A new report, VIP for a Fee: Airport Services Designed for High Value Customers, outlines how many international airlines now offer an a la carte menu of perks – everything from personal escorts at check-in and fast-track security screening to getting a luxury car ride right to the ramp of the aircraft – all for as little as $125. That’s almost the cost of your baggage check and a stale sandwich.
How to pass airport security like a VIP
Frequent fliers and regular first- and business-class customers enjoy a host of privileges that in many cases start before their flight and extend beyond arrival at their destination. Now an increasing number of airports and airlines are rolling out these benefits to travellers who may not wish to fly in first or business class but who are willing to pay a premium for some of the benefits passengers in those cabins enjoy.
Consumers to get more competition after US Air, American deal
The Department of Justice said Tuesday that US Airways and American Airlines had agreed to give up dozens of gates in New York and Washington to make way for their merger, now valued at $17 billion. “I think the outcome of this is very positive for the consumer,” said Jay Sorensen, the president of IdeaWorks, an airline research firm. “It allows a fourth entity to have a strong position against Southwest, United and Delta,” which US Air and American don’t have if they don’t merge, he said.