Frequent Flyer Points: Punishment not Reward

Everyone wants to get something for nothing. But no corporation wants to give away something for nothing. Why would they? It would be like a gift or something.

So, that is the basic problem with frequent flyer programs across the world. They are costly, unwieldy, inconvenient and a technical minefield to navigate. Often there is a fee to join, there are usually blackout times during popular travel periods, like Christmas, and once you’ve booked a flight you need to pay airport taxes and charges, which for a flight from Australia to Europe, can be a third to almost a half of the cost of the flight had you been paying full freight. So, it’s not a free flight, it’s a cut-price flight. Nothing wrong with that but it is not necessarily the airline of your choice or not necessarily the route of your choice.  You’re limited by where your frequent flyer airline flies to, which often results in lengthy and costly train or plane trips to get to their particular hub. Can you tell I don’t like frequent flyer programs?

But still people are lured in. The word free makes people a little bit mad. Some people will take any extra credit card they don’t need or want and spend on rubbish at a supermarket non stop just to earn a paltry amount of points, for a flight to Wagga. Oh, ok Adelaide.

The only thing going for frequent flyer points in my opinion is that it is a good opportunity to trial premium economy or business class at a much reduced rate. And the only good frequent flyer program I’ve heard of lately is Air New Zealand’s plan. You accumulate points that translate to cold hard cash to be contributed to any seat you buy on a flight. The beauty of that system is that there are no blackout periods or unavailable flights. But you are still not getting something for nothing. But that’s fine, because there’s no free lunch when it comes to airlines.

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