Points.com says people are still buying on average 100 million frequent flyer miles a day.
- They’re buying miles now that they probably won’t redeem until the future
- Although there are some great redemption opportunities if you look out towards late fall and early winter
It’s a bet on the stability of the airline or hotel, and associated loyalty program. And it suggests a willingness to continue to part with cash, perhaps giving the program an interest free loan, even in an uncertain economic environment.
Points.com works with 55 loyalty programs. And at an average of, say, 1.5 cents per point (hotel points generally go for less than airline miles) that’s just $1.5 million per day across all of those programs.
What they haven’t told us is how the 100 million points total compares to what people were buying before. To an order of magnitude approximation (based on an assumption about Points’ cut of sales) that’s probably half the volume we were seeing before.
Some airlines are probably selling miles well on their own. American Airlines doesn’t go through Points for its mileage sales, but AAdvantage ran its lowest-priced sale on miles ever, though they didn’t set the price low enough to make me a buy. (US Airways – which did use Points.com – used to sell miles for even less.) They’ll have made up a good portion of the mileage sales in the market, while Points partners Icelandair and Air Baltic probably didn’t do as well.