FlyBE’s Ultimate Award Capacity Control: Abolish Award Redemption for the Most Popular Routes

Seth writes that FlyBE is removing their most popular award destinations from their redemption chart, they’ll no longer allow their members to redeem for flights to Spain, Portugal and Croatia effective March 31. Why? Because that’s where their customers most wanted to go!

It’s nonobvious to my why capacity controls won’t solve the problem of too many customers wanting to redeem on these routes, and they have to instead decide not to allow it at all.

Rather reminds me of 2005 when Delta members were simply not allowed to redeem on Air France or KLM over the summer.

Of course in that case Delta was paying a partner for seats, one customer service explanation at the time was that Delta had reached its budget for paying Air France and KLM for seats and wouldn’t spend anymore. Another popular explanation at the time was that the seats were so scarce that Delta didn’t want their agents wasting time searching for them. The former explanation, even in the days before United’s ‘starnet blocking’, was more credible (and cited by some at Delta).

In this case FlyBE was only paying itself, so the complete shut down of award redemption for their most popular award routes doesn’t have a similar logical explanation. Instead they’re just telling their members their program won’t let them do what they most want to do. Not a long run profitable strategy, I’d reckon.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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