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What Is a Frequent Flyer Program?

February 28, 2023
By Andrew Sheivachman
Categories Travel 101

A frequent flyer program is a loyalty program offered by airlines to reward their customers for their travel. Customers can earn miles or points for flights they take and redeem their points for a variety of benefits like free flights and upgrades.

Each airline has its own program with different rules and benefits, but the basic concept is the same: the more you fly, the more rewards you earn. These programs are big sources of profit for global airlines and help build customer loyalty and encourage repeat business. 

By offering rewards to customers who fly the most, airlines incentivize travelers to choose their airline over the competition. Business travelers have traditionally been the most valuable passengers for airlines due to their frequency of travel and need for business or first-class cabin seats, which generate the most revenue for airlines. 

Those who travel most frequently and meet certain spending or segment requirements receive status from an airline, entitling them to perks like automatic upgrades, free ancillaries, and priority boarding. Airlines that participate in alliances offer ways to redeem points with partner travel suppliers and allow travelers to use their points at select retail outlets.

What is a frequent flyer program in business travel

Business travelers use frequent flyer programs to have a better experience on their trips and receive a reward for their spending. Travelers are able to reduce some of the friction they normally experience with business travel and later use their points for personal travel.

Business travelers often maximize the benefits they get from frequent flyer programs by carefully planning their travel to earn the most possible points on eligible flights. This includes not only flights booked through their company’s travel management company or online booking tool, but also flights booked for personal trips. 

By selecting flights operated by their preferred airlines, business travelers ensure they earn the maximum number of miles possible and earn airline status perks each year.

Frequent flyer programs complicate travel programs

When the most active business travelers prioritize loyalty program points, it can become a problem for travel managers looking to keep costs down.

Frequent flyer programs lead travelers to book outside of their corporate travel policy if they are not properly managed by the company. If a traveler sees an expensive flight that will earn them many miles, for example, they may be tempted to book that flight even if it’s not in line with the company’s travel policy. When flights are expensed after a trip, policy violations become a costly problem for an organization.

Business travelers may also book directly on an airline’s website to receive points or perks, resulting in higher expenses for the company, reduced visibility into travel spend, and bookings placed outside of policy.

Modern corporate travel platforms with NDC (New Distribution Capability) connections to airlines can provide business travelers with personalized offers, entitlements based on loyalty status, and frequent flyer miles without having to book directly on an airline website. Platforms like Spotnana can deliver personalized offers and entitlements to business travelers, making the booking process more efficient and convenient for the business traveler while capturing the full costs of a flight.

For travel managers looking to improve their travel program, consolidating air bookings on a single platform allows real-time insight into spend along with the ability to gain visibility into which suppliers your travelers use the most. 

Want to find out more about how modern business travel platforms make life easy for your most frequent business travelers? Get a demo of Spotnana today.