Two unrelated interactions over the past week or so have me thinking about loyalty and value and where to draw the line in the search. Somewhat interesting to me is that one of the stories comes from the passenger side and the other from the airline side and they both have a similar conclusion. Both are also surprisingly rational, which might just be the most shocking bit of all.
I’m not paying for my flights but when I see something that’s half the cost, I can’t help it but to go with the lower cost carrier.
The above is an excerpt from a post on FlyerTalk made by a relatively new member trying to figure out how they should focus their loyalty given the spread in fares. Even if the money doesn’t come out of your personal pocket there it is a challenge to spend so much more for essentially the same product. Somewhat unsurprising was the suggestion by some members that the double fare can be justified but I suppose that’s part of the mentality at play in the market. Of course, it isn’t always the same product and there are both big and small differences between the service, flights and value on any given choice. Still, I tend to struggle with justifying the 2x price point to make a trip like this happen. And for passengers paying out of their own pocket that’s an even harder spend to justify.
The second quote came from an airline loyalty executive talking about his program and carrier and their approach to loyalty marketing:
I may not get 100% of your wallet. But I want to be in your consideration set on every transaction.
It makes sense, of course, that no company thinks they can be all things to a passenger in every scenario. There is a bit of humility required to get to that point and such a display is not often seen. And that’s a shame, really, as such an approach is probably better for most passengers most of the time.
To be fair, I know I’m not the same as most passengers and I know I’m not the target of that loyalty program. But they do get my consideration on every trip. Part of that is because they’re generally a more pleasant airline to fly on in my experience but the other part of that comes from having a rational and practical approach to the market and to addressing their customers.
Loyalty programs are great when the rewards you’re realizing are greater than the investment being made. Just make sure you’re accounting for that as you make your loyalty decisions.
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