March 1983 — Braniff launches the Metroplex Club frequent flyer program (but discontinues it less than 12 months later).
March 1986 — Continental TravelBank members receive the first-ever bonuses for electronic ticketing, earning 250 extra miles for obtaining boarding passes from “The Flying Machine.”
March 1987 — Delta Frequent Flyer announces that travel agencies can no longer issue frequent flyer award tickets.
March 1987 — National Car Rental introduces the first-ever car rental rewards program, the original Emerald Club. Along with express checkout privileges, members receive rewards and rack up one point for every dollar spent renting from National.
March 20, 1989 — After United Mileage Plus’s January 1987 increase in the number of miles necessary to receive some of its more popular awards, outraged program members file a class-action lawsuit, represented by two Chicago law firms. Cook County Circuit Judge Arthur L. Dunn rules in favor of the plaintiffs. United revises its Mileage Plus program, allowing members who had accumulated miles under the old system more time to use those miles under the prior award structure.
March 1991 — The Pan Am WorldPass program introduces the first awards from the U.S to the U.S.S.R.
March 1993 — Northwest WorldPerks introduces the first-ever “Dining for Miles” promotion, which allows members to earn two miles for every dollar spent at any of 67 restaurants in Detroit, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Seattle. To earn the miles, members are required to present their WorldPerks membership card to the server when placing their order.
March 2004 — Japan Airlines creates what it believes is the world’s first frequent flyer program for pets. The JAL Pet Club simplifies fees for hauling pets on domestic flights, and allows consumers to earn and exchange points for in-flight cage rentals, pet airfares and pet presents.
March 1, 2004 — US Airways Dividend Miles Preferred members may now upgrade to first class for free when flying in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. This benefit previously was only available to Chairman’s Preferred members.
March 1, 2005 — Amtrak introduces a top level — “Select Plus” — to its Guest Rewards elite-level program. Members must earn 10,000 points annually to qualify.