Study shows air miles go unused

A study has shown that nearly half of those people who collect air miles fail to redeem them.

The survey, sponsored by Collinson Latitude, a company involved in incremental revenue, canvassed the opinions of 1,005 UK residents at the end of 2012. It discovered that 40 percent of travellers who collected air miles had never attempted to use them. The survey also discovered that more than half of its respondents, 60 percent, were disillusioned by the time it takes to acquire enough of the travel vouchers to be of any value. This dissatisfaction is likely to be the main contributory reason for a further statistic; that only 23 percent of air travellers bother to collect airline loyalty points.

When asked what would make loyalty schemes more attractive, 70 percent of respondents cited improved accessibility to the rewards, and 60 percent advocated using their points for other travel services. Also popular was the potential for using points to purchase goods rather than travel, which was opted for by 62 percent, and the ability to use cash to make up the difference in such transactions, which attracted a 63 percent positive vote.

Collinson Latitude’s product director, James Berry, said, ‘This study doesn’t paint a particularly pretty picture of many airline loyalty programmes. While there is clearly desire among consumers to collect these points, the way in which the loyalty programmes are being managed is throwing up barriers. Rewards seem to be beyond reach or are simply not attractive enough. Consumers are also being frustrated when they attempt to redeem their rewards by a lack of availability of flights. On a positive note, consumers are throwing the airlines a lifeline by highlighting ways in which these programmes can be improved. What’s important is for airlines to listen to the messages coming from their customers and take action.’