[ 60 Seconds ] with Christopher Barnard, President, Points.com


Launched in 2000, Points.com is an online loyalty wallet that allows loyalty program members to track, trade, exchange and redeem their points, miles and awards from many of the world’s loyalty programs. Over 100 loyalty programs around the world (including airline, hospitality and retail) can be managed through www.Points.com including Aeroplan, American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, IHG Rewards and US Airways Dividend Miles. We spoke with the President of Points, Christopher Barnard.


What was the original idea for Points.com and how has it changed?

Christopher Barnard

Since we launched in 2000, the core idea of Points.com has been pretty consistent. When we started Points.com, we were looking
at the overall growth of loyalty programs and the number of people participating in multiple programs at the same time. We wanted to create a place where the members of these loyalty programs could manage their participation in various loyalty programs in real time. We also wanted to provide a significant benefit for loyalty programs by helping their members get the best possible value out of their loyalty program. In addition to the management and organizational tools available on Points.com, we also offer some unique transactions like the ability to exchange points/miles between various loyalty accounts, trade miles or points with other Points.com users and redeem points/miles for items or services outside of the core program. That’s really been the business since we started.


Please share one tip to make the most of using Points.com.


To make the most out of Points.com, users should make sure to register as many loyalty programs as possible, because one of
the great things about Points.com is the ability to manage multiple loyalty program memberships in one place and in real time. Points. com is a one-stop-shop, where users can keep track of earning opportunities as well as some of the unique redemptions that each program offers.

Once that happens, users can easily keep an eye on what they want to do with that program, like collect enough points or miles to earn a free flight. Another tool we offer is the ability to exchange points/miles in and out of the different programs that users are
a member of, which can help them reach that goal of a free flight even faster. One thing that we find as well, is expiring points and miles can be a real issue when managing multiple loyalty accounts and it can be challenging to keep on top of that. But by using Points. com to manage all their memberships, users can make sure all of their accounts are up-to-date. Most programs have an expiration policy that’s based on inactivity. Meaning if you don’t earn or redeem any miles or points within a certain time period—usually between one and two years—your miles expire. So, by utilizing Points.com’s exchange, trade or redemption tools users are effectively resetting the life of all of their miles or points for that account and preventing them from expiring.


What are some of the most popular trades between FFPs?


Frequent flyer program members have proven to be pretty active across the board. They participate very actively in all of the different types of trade transactions that we offer. Inter-airline transfers and exchanges are the most popular. Some of the most active airlines on the site include US Airways, United Airlines, Air Canada and American Airlines. We also see quite a lot of activity from members redeeming their frequent flyer miles in different ways, like for an Amazon gift card or more increasingly, adding currency to their PayPal account.


What are some of the benefits for the loyalty programs that partner with Points.com?


Loyalty programs are very focused on giving their members as much value as possible. What’s been proven time and again is that the more opportunities members are given to earn and redeem miles or points the more engaged they will be in that program.

Points.com doesn’t replace the core proposition of any one brand’s loyalty program in any way. While a frequent flyer may traditionally be more interested in earning a free flight with their points and miles, Points.com offers not only travelers but all loyalty program members the ability to acquire more of their desired currency and use it in different ways to match their needs at that time. At Points we think that this kind of flexibility makes each loyalty program a little bit more valuable and therefore a little more engaging to the member.

It’s also interesting to note that over 70 percent of Points.com users who exchange points and miles out of a loyalty account end the year with a higher balance in that account. So we think that’s a really good indication of how loyalty programs have become more valuable to the user because of the flexibility that Points.com offers.


Anything else you’d like to say?


We’re just really excited about the growth in the participating loyalty programs. We also have some new programs that will be joining
us at Points.com as well as continued improvements to the site’s functionality and in the way users will be able to interact with our services. We really think the next year or so is going to be an exciting time for members of multiple loyalty programs.

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