Have Frequent Flyer Benefits Finally Been Reduced Too Far?

Over on the TravBuddy forums, Marc79 was mulling the following decision for an upcoming trip between the Netherlands and Tokyo:

Option #1: Take direct flights on his preferred airline, which would bump his elite status to the next level.

Option #2: Take a flight on an airline with which he holds no status, would include 7-8 hours of layover in Dubai, but would cost about 250 euros less.

Marc79 has made his decision – you will have to click through to find out which option he selected – but one of the more interesting revelations that came out of this discussion was how many travelers have simply given up on frequent flyer programs.

The frequent flier program not as good as 5 years ago. It tends getting to expensive to claim an award seat using points … and last time I flew business class on long haul fight, no more pampering such as goodies bag for lady … so, I am not fussy with the airlines anymore these day. ~gingerbatik

Yeah FFP programs suck nowadays sad only the very frequent flyers get to enjoy the benefits the same as before ~nolan

If you are trying to optimize miles, I just don’t know. So many airlines have changed their policies on that and not in a good way. I’ve pretty much given up on that, but that’s just me. ~wishtowander

It should be noted that the TravBuddy community isn’t focused specifically on the utilization of frequent flyer programs. These are passionate travelers though, and it’s interesting to see how many have become disillusioned with playing the miles and points game.

And also interesting to note that, whereas frequent flyer programs formerly influenced travel choices with this group – now it is all about price and convenience.

Based on this very small set of anectdotal data points, combined with the recent changes by programs such as Delta SkyMiles, does anyone think we might actually be approaching the end times for frequent flyer programs?

If the programs have lost their ability to influence travel behavior, how long will it be before the credit card companies see fewer signups for miles-affiliated cards (as presumably that would be the last remaining reason for the airlines to continue the programs – to sell miles to credit card companies)?

Read the thread in its entirety: A stopover issue

Adios to Avios” by Mosaic Marketing. CC BY 2.0.

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