Is It So Hard For An Airline To Come Up With A Mileage Offer That’s Actually Exciting?

Major airlines today seem more worried that some member, somewhere might actually benefit from a promotion than they seem to care the promotion actually incentivizing customer behavior.

American Airlines has a huge new buildup in Austin moving from 8 destinations two years ago to 34 destinations scheduled.

Members based in Austin have been getting targeted for a ‘double miles’ promotion out of Austin. I heard from some a couple of weeks ago that got this. I still haven’t received it, but my wife did on Thursday.

The offer promotes travel to eleven of the airline’s 34 destinations, including New York JFK and Miami which are getting schedule boosts rather than new service.

And it’s shocking in just how ungenerous it is for an offer that leads “Earn double miles…”

The promotion only awards miles,

  • On a handful of routes
  • For tickets purchased after registering, they don’t want to reward customers who are already loyal and buying their product on these routes
  • Most importantly earning is capped at two flights which is a single roundtrip

It’s truly sad that the only offers to get excited about seem to come from banks, and not airline frequent flyer programs these days.

And as if things couldn’t be more difficult, for this offer when you click “register” in the targeted email that doesn’t actually register you. First you have to log into your account. And then you are on the promotions page with the offer first. This won’t be obvious to everyone – you still need to actually register.

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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  1. Don’t you think the airlines have some promotional budget to work with, and modern apps, email, travel blogs (!), etc make the acceptance or usage rate so high that they have to adjust their offer downward? I get what you’re saying but the days of “insider deals” seem to be out the window!

  2. Well, these follow the measly miles promotions pattern with the AS and B6 partnership promos.

  3. Gary, I think that you’re not seeing the big picture here. The airlines have staff to overwork, frequent flyer programs to devalue in myriad ways, customers to fleece, government programs to beg for even more subsidies, CRS’s to sue… To paraphrase Prince Humperdink, they’re swamped.

  4. To make mileage awards exciting, if you are a lifetime American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum with ample AAdvantage miles, these elite passengers should start any promotion with credit for their mileage already earned for lifetime platinum. For example, to reach Executive Platinum, lifetime platinum elites would start each year with accrued EQM’s of 50,000 as they have already demonstrated their loyalty and would only need 50,000 more EQMs to earn Executive Platinum or 25,000 EQMs for Platinum Pro.

  5. At least they made requalifying for status easy with cc spend. It may not be too hard for most EXP’s to maintain status.

    Delta DM and I don’t see how I could get enough MQD’s this year even with the 75% bonus. Not going to spend 250K on their card. 15K would be doable if they announced such a promo.

  6. Airline reward programs have made it easier and more lucrative to earn miles by credit cards promotions than flying on planes. Earn your miles via credit cards. Redeem for free flights.

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