Loyalty Schemes: One Incentive? or Many?

By: Elisha Burberry

If you're a frequent flyer, you've probably thought about getting a frequent flyer card so you can accrue miles each time you fly, which can then be redeemed against free or discounted travel another time. After all, doesn't it make sense to give yourself a little reward in return for all your jet-setting? And as you travel, you might also stay at a particular hotel or chain of hotels, some of which might operate similar loyalty programmes where guests can collect points towards a future stay.

If you collect points based on either scenario, your wallet or purse may well be bulging with numerous loyalty cards and you could be wishing you could add the points garnered across all the schemes into a single scheme that can offer both free or discounted flights and hotel accommodation - or any other incentive. But does such a scheme exist?

As the value of points can vary depending on how they are collected or redeemed across all the available schemes, it's difficult to know exactly how much value you may hold in each reward program. As a result, travellers frequently debate how much accumulated points are worth and it is often the case that users need to travel far and often, or spend a great deal of time in a participating hotel in order to accrue enough points to redeem against free or discounted rates in the future.

When you do accrue enough points to be able to redeem them against a flight or hotel stay, it can often be the case that your chosen flight or hotel may have a 'quota' of reduced or free seats or rooms, so you might have difficulty in redeeming your hard-earned points when you want to, if the quota has been reached. Furthermore, with rising airfares, taxes and other charges that can affect the price of flights or accommodation, you could end up with a wallet full of loyalty cards that are virtually worthless!

Recently, there has been a massive change in the way reward programs work, with many reward schemes forging affiliations with other companies which allow cardholders to collect and redeem points across a range of products and services. The Nectar Card, for example, was introduced in the UK by British Petroleum and allows drivers to collect points every time they buy fuel. In addition, points can be used to redeem or collect points across a wide variety of shops and services - ranging from Sainsbury's and Argos to Thompson holidays and car rental.

The Hilton Honors hotel loyalty program is another scheme that allows members to collect and redeem points in several different ways. Through this scheme, members can earn both points and air-miles which can be redeemed towards stays at over 2,800 hotels worldwide as well as flights with over 50 participating airlines. The scheme also allows you to collect points through an affiliated credit card and you can even buy points if your balance falls just short of that dream trip! Plus, if you're feeling generous, you can transfer your points to family and friends, or donate them to charity.

With so many loyalty schemes available on the market and covering a host of industry sectors, consider whether your next loyalty scheme will reward you for all your efforts, or leave you empty handed - apart from a wallet full of collector cards, that is.

Top Searches on
Travel and Leisure
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Travel and Leisure
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles