While this may come as no surprise, according to research conducted by Carlson Marketing and Peppers & Rogers Group, there is a gap between what elite frequent flyers want in an airline and what they get. Four airlines (located in Europe, Asia-Pacific and Asia) sent email invitations to their FFP members requesting their participation in the survey. Nearly 5,000 frequent flyers participated in the study; over half (3,663) were elite members. Invitations were only sent to members who had flown on the airline at least once in the prior 12 months and had been enrolled in the airline’s FFP for at least six months.
Respondents said the two most important aspects of a loyalty program are availability of seats for award travel and earning free access to the airline’s club/lounge. (Many international programs offer free lounge access to their members, a benefit that is very rarely seen in U.S.-based programs.) Earning miles by flying with alliance/partner airlines, overall ease of redeeming for travel awards and ease of qualifying for elite status were also rated highly.
While availability of award seats was rated as the most important aspect of FFP membership, this feature came in last with respect to performance. Also scoring low in performance was ease of qualifying for elite status, another example of the chasm that exists between what members expect from an FFP and what they receive. To view the entire “Better Business Results from Elite Frequent Flyers” report, go to http://loyalty.carlsonmarketing.com