Frequent Flyer Programs | The Poster Child for Gamificaiton

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Gamification Airline Miles

Everyone wants value for their hard-earned money. From buying groceries, cars, food or a house, people go for stuff that will stretch their dollar. Now more than ever, most consumers are now wiser in handling their money. As a response, businesses have come up with unique ideas to attract and retain customers.

From loyalty programs to cash back rewards programs, and other activities like awarding and redeeming points for cash or gift items, companies have tried everything to entice customers to part with their money.

The airline industry is a perfect example with their frequent flier programs.

Frequent flier programs reward loyal customers by allowing them to earn “miles” or points. These miles are accumulated over time and may be exchanged for free airline tickets. This benefits the frequent fliers such as those who regularly travel on business and/or pleasure. Earning and redeeming miles though, are subject to the terms and conditions of the specific airline.

Over the years, the concept of miles has evolved. In the past, earning miles was just associated with the travel, specifically the airline industry. Now, other lines of business embrace the idea. You can earn miles if you stay in a hotel, rent a car, shop, buy groceries, gadgets, credit card use and other transactions not related to travel. This gives benefits both for the customer and the business owners. The customers get rewarded for being loyal to a specific company while the commercial entities are able to entice customers to get their products and/or services as well as keep them.

The great thing about it is that it encourages customers to spend more in the hope that they’ll be able to earn points to get rewards. Which is not really a bad thing after all. And the thrill of getting something for “free” adds motivation.

So how does it work? You would need to sign up for an account for a frequent flier program with your airline of choice. There are several ways to do so — online enrolment, a telephone call to their office, or via filling out a paper form and sending by it mail. Prior to signing up, carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the frequent flier program that you are considering. This is important to maximize earning of miles.

Overall, frequent flier programs can be a great way to travel for free or at least with minimal cost. The key is understanding how your program works and being flexible to fully maximize its features.

There are statistics showing that the number of miles awarded since 1981 has swelled to 2714.1, from 4.1 in 1981.

And the thing is that frequent-flyer programs continue to grow tremendously.

In 2005, who would have thought that 14 trillion frequent-flyer miles would be accumulated by people worldwide. And if we do the math, that’s roughly about US$700 billion in customer spending. So, you can just imagine now just how huge it can possibly be.

Maybe it is really our basic instinct as human beings to compete. And things start to get even sweeter when we are made aware of the potential rewards that we can get.

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