The History of Loyalty

The History of Loyalty

When frequent travel loyalty programs were introduced some 20 years ago, they were limited in scope and held an appeal for only the most frequent of travelers. Today these mileage-based programs have evolved and expanded into nearly every facet of society and boast a membership that includes many who rarely or have never stepped on an airplane.

The events and circumstances that contributed to this phenomenal rise are now highlighted in the Frequent Travel Loyalty Timeline located on This comprehensive and ever-expanding timeline covers every major event (and some not-so-major ones) from the original launch of the American AAdvantage program in 1981 to the never-before-seen 15,000 mile domestic awards introduced this past winter.

Who was the first to sue the airlines over the ownership of frequent flyer miles? Which NBA team’s players refused to sign autographs until the team agreed to let them keep their miles? Which was the first telecommunications company that allowed customers to earn miles for their service? These are just a few of the moments in loyalty history included in the chronology. And, the timeline includes a convenient search function that allows users to search events by year and by specific programs.

You can view the timeline at

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