Recently I had to self-impose an “unsubscribe” blitz on my emails in order to eliminate the continuous bombardment of reward card promotion and offer “spam” from hotels, airlines, supermarkets and stores where I had taken the bait of signing up for the dream of accumulating points or miles.
I cannot be described by any stretch of the imagination as a frequent flyer, but I imagined that over time I could build up enough points to earn a well-deserved upgrade to a better room at a hotel, or be promoted to business class on a flight.
Unfortunately, it did not work out like that. When I book business travel, as a responsible employee I am looking for the best value trips. This results in my logging-on to even more rewards programs even if in reality it would be unlikely that I would use the same supplier again.
A recent Deloitte & Touche survey of about 4,000 business travellers reported in the Los Angeles Times that only 1 in 5 of those surveyed felt that a loyalty program was very important when choosing a hotel. More important factors that they considered were the room rate, parking, WIFI, comfort and location.
There are, however, certain situations where loyalty programs can work to your advantage; if you regularly visit the same city and you are satisfied with the hotel, then why not take advantage of the program? The same applies if you often make the same journey. If the hotel chain or airline carrier that you are using belongs to an alliance or network of related vendors, then that is a bonus because it widens the choice of what vendors you can utilize and still receive your prize points.
In the UK they have taken customer reward schemes to a whole new level. With a scheme called Nectar, you can collect points for essential purchases such as fuel for your car, food for your family, energy for your home—there is even a scheme to earn points against your own funeral plan! The problem is, if YOU die, guess what happens? All of your points are cancelled. Do I subscribe? Nah! The discount equates to about 1%—life is too short!
Naturally, if you are a regular flyer and the hotel chain that you use has hotels in most cities that you visit, then it makes sense to benefit from their loyalty program and treat yourself to some of life’s little luxuries.
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