An interesting article from ABC. LINK. "I first became aware, painfully, of airline mileage programs in the early 1980s. At the time, I was a junior member of the North American marketing department of a Southeast Asian airline. And despite my employer's poll-verified service superiority and comparable fares, Pan Am was somehow winning more than its fair share of the lucrative business-traveler market. They were eating our eggrolls. The reason, I soon discovered, was WorldPass, Pan Am's loyalty program. It was doing exactly what it was designed to: give them a tie-breaker edge with repeat travelers."