Satisfaction With Airline Loyalty and Rewards Programmes Takes Off

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New research gauges the views of passengers on the loyalty and rewards schemes offered by airlines.

How important are online reviews and reputation when it comes to customer satisfaction of loyalty and rewards programmes? When it comes to the aviation industry they're found to be very important, according to the findings of a new report by J.D. Power.

SEE ALSO: 3 Key Elements of a Great Customer Loyalty Scheme

Satisfaction is the "2015 Airline Loyalty/Rewards Programme Satisfaction Report " is measured on a 1,000-point scale, and six factors are taken into consideration during the research. In order of importance they are:

  • ease of redeeming points/miles;
  • reward program terms;
  • account maintenance/management;
  • ease of earning points/miles;
  • variety of benefits available;
  • and customer service.

The results showed that the research passengers conduct prior to joining often translates into increased satisfaction with their subsequent experience. Overall satisfaction among the 14 percent of passengers who select their airline loyalty and rewards programme because of online reviews is 813, while satisfaction among the 21 percent of passengers who choose their programme because of its reputation is 803.

Among the 42 percent of passengers who choose their programme because of the convenience of locations where they travel - the most common reason for programme selection - satisfaction averages a much lower 721.

SEE ALSO: Popularity of Customer Loyalty Programmes Reaches All-Time High

Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power, said that airline loyalty and rewards programmes need to focus on enhancing their reputation, specifically online, "because passengers are paying attention".

He added: "Gen Y customers in particular are most likely to choose a programme based on positive reviews."

The research also found that Gen Y members are strong advocates, with 44 percent saying that they "definitely will" recommend their airline loyalty/rewards programme to friends and family. 38 percent of Gen X, 37 percent of Boomers and 34 percent of Pre-Boomers say the same.

Overall satisfaction with airline loyalty and rewards programmes has gone up to 705 in 2015, which is an improvement from the 692 score in 2014. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan ranks highest for a second consecutive year, gaining a score of 759.