The declining value of loyalty plans
Shar’s experience is a classic example of how the whole loyalty model is broken. Step by step the Airlines [just to pick on them] are eliminating and discounting benefits associated with loyalty. Then you have situations like this, that frankly have no cost to fix, except a personality transplant for “Linda” and her ilk at American Airlines and others.
I *want* to do business with the firms who treat me like a person. Who try to recognize the things I care about. Frankly, I find my miles with American a constantly accruing currency which I have very little opportunity to redeem and therefore don’t perceive as much of a benefit.
For any airline employee to utter the words, “I don’t care who you are or how much you travel” is beyond belief. Either the loyalty plan means something, or not. There is no in-between.
My own experience with air line points is disappointing at best. Gaining ‘status’ brings so many conditions, that the value is discounted to a bunch of useless coupons, that seem to be impossible to redeem, unless I am prepared to book 12+ months in advance and use completely inconvenient multiple stop routes. [my example is Air Canada].
So stepping up a level, loyalty points and plans are only of value if the customer feels value. Fewer are feeling that value nowadays, and those Banks who pay for those plans, should think about that. I think the loyalty plan model is broken.