What makes a good FF Program?

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by giggs, Feb 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. giggs
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    giggs Silver Member

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    Just thought I would throw this out for the community in the Newbie section as this is one of the primary reasons to join a site like this?

    What do you think makes a good FF Program?
     
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  2. GUWonder
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    GUWonder Silver Member

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    Predictable customer returns from using the program. Stable values for a mile/point in the program is critical, with stable award travel pricing practices being at the core of a good FF program.
     
  3. LFCorsten
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    LFCorsten Silver Member

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    The program should be consistent in it's benefits.
     
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  4. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Perks (priority check-in, elite phone lines, better seating, free domestic and international upgrades) and rewards (award travel, both domestic and international) do it for me.
     
  5. Art234
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    Art234 Milepoint Guide

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    I think an excellent trait for an FF program is one which returns to its roots, and rewards butt in seat loyalty--the more you fly, the more valuable you should be to them, therefore the more perks you should receive. Although FF programs have become more of a business within a business, I prefer this model to one which tries to sell miles and award status for non-travel related activities like credit card purchases and other retail transactions (except of course when the credit card is used to buy travel ;) )....
     
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  6. karenkay
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    karenkay Gold Member

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    i'm in agreement with previous posters that consistency is important, and i'd add that perks like upgrades, shorter check-in lines, elite security and dealing with a us-based call center are what keep me coming back.
     
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  7. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    I always valued NW's program because I would constantly get upgrades. My percentage had to be in the 90%+ range.
     
  8. WonderBret
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    WonderBret Silver Member

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    Personally I think consistency is paramount. Beyond that, I think a good program will stick to one premise of defining client loyalty. Either stick with revenue (premium travel), or all out volume. I think its hard to pull off both. BA/SQ do well to take care of their flyers that spend money, whereas most of the north american based airlines try to reward any sort of attention. The latter is easier to exploit, but I think builds less actually "loyalty". Once your metric is established its easy from there.
    Obviously I think there should be great rewards for clients that conform to your stated loyalty metrics. If your top tiers are also your highest spenders, a more "private" client approach is best because they don't need the free upgrades. If anything that would possibly promote less spending by them expecting free upgrades. Conversely, your volume travelers want more leg room and basic comfort, as they are probably used to being able to handle the system.
    Very important: both want great food!
     
  9. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Probably best to stay away from AA, then, as all those credit card miles count towards the two lifetime tier statuses they have. You could knock out lifetime status there without flying one single AA flight.

    UA, on the other hand, requires flight miles on their aircraft (no partners). Very different models. This sounds more like the model you would prefer.
     
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  10. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Do they have any type of lifetime status there after earning so many miles (1M, 2M)?
     
  11. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    They don't exist any longer. But yes, they did have a Million Miler program, though i'm not sure what it entailed.
     
  12. flunky
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    flunky Silver Member

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    NW never gave lifetime status. They always had the "what have you done for me lately" attitude which I never had a problem with.
    For reward programs I agree that consistency in the rewards is tops. For elite status you should have to earn it by BIS or revenue, not things like credit card spend & such. Not that I don't take advantage of it.
     
  13. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    I think they did give a Million Miler Gift though.
     
  14. BondAir007
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    BondAir007 Gold Member

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    The best FF is allowing the DYKWIA to fly on a little plane and drink in plastic Dixie cups. [​IMG]
     
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  15. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    First I'd say an elite program that really improves the travel experience of its members. Elite members, by definition, spend a ton of time travelling and a program that really makes this a smoother and more pleasant experience is doing well.

    Second I'd say consistent delivery of promised ability to use miles. Rampant award inflation, *net blocking and the other ways in which programs of all sorts have devalued miles over the past decade are not part of a truly "good" FF program.
     
  16. Upgrades and premium cabin redemptions at saver levels, both in abundance. What else is there? [​IMG]
     
  17. giggs
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    giggs Silver Member

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    I see a trend toward consistency, which I wholeheartedly agree with. Nothing drives me crazier than having a whole plethora of different ways status is applied.
     
  18. JY1024
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    JY1024 Gold Member

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    I think tom911 summed it up really well! I consolidate my flying on a program (the "earning" side of the equation) in order to receive the benefits and service of being a frequent customer. From the "burning" side of the equation, I look for an airline and alliance that allows me plenty of options and availability to the destinations I want to go to.

    For those that really do fly a lot, I think that "customer service" is a really important aspect of the program. Don't get me wrong, I love my upgrades, intl lounge access, priority check-in, no luggage fees, etc. But many airlines have those types of perqs. From talking to other frequent fliers, it does seem like certain programs have better customer service than others. For instance, I want a program that answers my phone calls quickly and empowers their best agents to help me find a solution. I like that when operational issues do occur, I'm "taken care of" so that I don't need to stand in line fretting about getting to my destination. Even with weather issues, I like having an airline that will do whatever it can to get me from A->B, even though the Conditions of Carriage don't necessarily require them to bend over backwards for me.

    But I do recognise that casual flyers want very different things from a FFP. My parents just want the free luggage allowance and priority check-in lines. With those two things, they're happy campers! :) They use their miles occasionally, but they know that if they want upgrades or first class tickets to an international destination, they should call me, and I'll take of them. [​IMG]
     
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  19. Eloy Fonseca Neto
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    Eloy Fonseca Neto Silver Member

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    In my opinion the Lifetime status is a must, specialy for those who know this will have a great impact on the long run!!!
     
  20. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Face it: the point will come in all our lives that we reduce our flying. I've knocked out lifetime on both AA and UA just to get it out of the way for when I do reduce my flying (not in my immediate plans, but I know that time will come). It only took 6 years for 2MM on AA (lifetime Platinum) because they count every single mile that appears in account, so really didn't have to work hard for that one. With UA it took me 19 years, but I had a 5 year break in there during their bankruptcy, and they only count base miles on UA aircraft (1MM for lifetime Premier Executive). Went back two years ago to work on UA lifetime again just to get it out of the way (Safeway grocery miles kept my account alive while I wasn't flying) and hit the mark in December. Expect to put minimal miles on UA this year and focus on AA as my primary account as I think the perks are somewhat better there for top tier flyer.
     
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  21. tsastor
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    tsastor Silver Member

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    Something that is maybe not a problem for US based programs: there should be no "fuel surcharges" on award tickets. E.g. BA fails here.

    Another thing I find important: when I'm flying for leisure I do it with friends or family and then I want recognition for all of them, lounge access, possibility to upgrade etc.
     
  22. travelfree
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    travelfree Silver Member

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    As a leisure traveler, my joining a FF programs is based upon several criteria:
    1. Initial affiliated credit card bonus miles to provide for immediate or future travel.
    2. Decent availability of super saver FF/upgrade awards on most flights from my primary airport.
    3. User friendly airline website for flight planning and award redemption.
    4. Upfront disclosure of all additional taxes, fees and surcharges for flights.
     
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  23. RCyyz
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    RCyyz Silver Member

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    Air Canada too! And I'm sure there are others.

    While not directly a part of the FF program, I would like to see fuel surcharges go the way of the Dodo. Fuel is a part of flying ergo it should be a part of the base price. While I agree that the price of fuel fluctuates, it's rare for the price to spike by more than a few cents on a week to week basis. I think therefore that airlines can do a better job at adjusting their pricing accordingly.
     
  24. Saracen
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    Saracen Silver Member

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    For those of us who fly less often and only just make status, I think these are important:
    • Attainable meaningful status, e.g. *G
    • Upgrade awards (so that I can still earn on the base fare)
    • Family membership – for mileage pooling
    • No (or long) mileage expiry
    • Redemption availability!
     
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  25. freeloader

    freeloader Silver Member

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    also - no stupid expirations of miles/points (like those rolling windows that Southwest and Airtrain use)
     

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