Travel rewards programs are growing fast

To support all of the new members, airlines, hotels and other companies had to make changes to how these loyalty programs are structured

Jul 20, 2023

In recent years, many airlines and hotels have shifted how members earn and redeem loyalty currency. For example, instead of charging customers a predictable, fixed number of points or miles for a free flight or hotel stay, many companies now tie redemptions to the same demand-based algorithms that dictate cash prices.

Key takeaways

  • Growth in travelers getting savvy with points, perks and credit cards also means more competition among consumers for many of the program’s ever-changing benefits;
  • Some programs now hand out elite status based not just on how many flights or hotel nights a member accrued, but also based on money spent on travel and beyond;
  • But having more elite, card-carrying, club-belonging members has its own implications; Delta and American Express have levied stricter airport lounge access rules amid reports of overcrowding.

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