J.D. Power recently released its 2014 Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report based on responses from more than 3,800 airline loyalty program members. Programs were evaluated based on six factors, including ease of redeeming points and miles, reward program terms, account maintenance and management, ease of earning points and miles, variety of benefits available and customer service.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan ranked first in the survey earning 757 points on a 1,000-point scale with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards coming in second scoring 731 points. JetBlue TrueBlue came in third with 707 points. United MileagePlus came in fourth with 691 points, followed by Delta SkyMiles at 686 points, American AAdvantage at 685 points and US Airways Dividend Miles at 642 points.
The survey found the primary ways customers earn points with FFPs are flights (85 percent), traveling with program partners (55 percent), through co-branded credit card spend (46 percent), car rentals (34 percent) and hotel stays (32 percent).
The report suggests that the voice of the frequent flyer carries some weight, as customers who rated their loyalty program as outstanding (with an overall satisfaction rating of 10 on a 10-point scale) recommended their loyalty program to family and friends an average of 5.1 times per year, compared with 3.4 times among those who rated their program lower than 10. When choosing among frequent flyer programs, customers most frequently selected one program over another based on the frequent flyer program’s options (34 percent), followed by recommendations from friends and family (21 percent) and the frequent flyer program’s reputation (21 percent). You can download the full report at http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?11498
Bottom line: The findings of this survey are not surprising with Alaska and Southwest consistently ranking high in customer satisfaction and US Airways often coming in last. What some might find surprising is that 85 percent of members reported that most of their miles comes from flights – the common thought now is that members earn more miles from partnerships and credit cards than through flying.