Reading the Numbers

Reading the Numbers

Every month we enjoy looking over the award redemption numbers published by various frequent flyer programs. The latest report is from Delta and here’s what wasn’t said. Delta’s financial report, which only lists award redemption on Delta flights, reports 2.6 million free roundtrips. Its recent report for the CustomersFirst initiative reports 2.8 million free awards for the year 2000. This means that some 200,000 awards were redeemed on partner airlines ranging from Air France to United Airlines. Another report from the Delta offices tells us that a total of 3.2 million awards of all types were given away last year. This means that some 400,000 awards were redeemed for upgrades, Crown Room Club memberships and redemption with MilePoint.com.

We also noticed a small comment from American AAdvantage that said “Members redeemed over 95 million AAdvantage miles to claim more than 3 million awards in 2000.” According to another report that number of awards is actually 3.4 million, thus the math shows us that the typical award being redeemed in the AAdvantage program is about 27,785 miles. And you thought being a math major wasn’t important.

Oh, as a point of comparison, AAdvantage redeemed 543,000 awards on partner airlines as compared to Delta’s 200,000.

Another interesting statistic we came across when comparing the numbers: in 2000, AAdvantage members redeemed 363,900 upgrade awards. In the same year, United Mileage Plus members redeemed some 1,025,686 upgrade awards. This means either one of two things: Mileage Plus members like to spoil themselves three times as much as AAdvantage members, or the United program isn’t as generous as AAdvantage is when it comes to complimentary upgrades, thus they have to redeem their miles to enjoy first class. We’ll leave it to you as to which conspiracy theory you believe, but it is a strange difference of numbers wouldn’t you say?

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