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Do Airlines *want* To Know About FF?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:23 pm

Out of pure curiosity, I am wondering whether airlines want to know about their frequent customers who might not (yet) be a member of their frequent flyer program, or are they happy taking their money without having to face the (marginal) expenses they incur with their known frequent flyers, especially the elite ones?

Case in point, I flew AC enough this year to handily clear the threshold for the second elite tier of their program (might even have made the third tier with bonus miles, I didn't do the math) but I racked up all the miles on my CO card because I don't really see the point of having more than one frequent flyer account per alliance.

I know I could ask for a status match or something similar on AC, but that isn't really the point. What I am asking is, if AC had a choice, would they want me as a member, or do they prefer getting my employer's money and letting CO spend their cash on me as a top tier frequent flyer?
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RE: Do Airlines *want* To Know About FF?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:55 am

If you are a regularly returning customer anyhow, there is no point for the airline to have you in their list of customers (which an FF-program actually is). If you do not enrol in AC's FF-program, there will be no extra cost for AC to process your membership.

FF-programs and any similar programs are aimed at keeping customes, usually by providing some kind of incentive. In case of airlines the incentive is the outlook for free flights, while at any given supermarket the incentive often is cash-back.

Another aspect for the frequent traveller is, that being a registered customer with an airline will smooth the reservation / booking / payment process:
No need to type in all the customer's information again for every single reservation.
Retrieval of reservation information ca be easier if being a registered customer.
If these aspects do not apply for you, as I assume your business trips are being booked by some agent for you, there is no need for you to signup at AC´s FF-program. (note #1)

Also, being a status customer at an airline usually puts you higher on waiting lists, should something go wrong. But the airline's own status customers usually have priority over "foreign" customers.

All of the above needs to be valued against the benefits of accumulating all miles earned on an Alliance into a single FF-program. Splitting miles usually does not make sense.
Note #1:
I recently came across an airline that allows online bookings on their website ONLY if the traveller is a registered customer with them: KE for domestic flights (only available through their website for South Korea). Mandatory enrolment in Skypass.
OZ appears to have the same policy, but other domestic carriers in KR do not (like EastarJet).

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RE: Do Airlines *want* To Know About FF?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:03 am

I'd think that AC would still want you as a pax on their flight as well as a frequent flyer member. The reason behind this would be that they can bombard you with offers which they currently can't, entice you to shop at their preferred stores, use credit cards they endorse because they get paid for the points and this is where airlines make a lot of their money. Apparently QF made more money from their frequent flyer program than their actual flying of pax last year in an article I read.
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