Loyalty costs money and running a loyalty program costs even more. It's for this exact reason that many budget carriers across the world have chosen not to dip their toes into the never ending game of exchanging perks and points for repeat business. Keeping fares low is their call of order and their ticket to success. It's simple. Interestingly, roughly two thirds of passengers surveyed around the world would rather receive discounts and money than miles, perks and upgrades for their loyalty. It's for this reason EasyJet is about to launch a very amusing, simple and intelligent loyalty program.
For starters, EasyJet already makes money on what costs most other carriers a fortune by selling all the benefits generally reserved for rewarding top tier frequent flyers at a flat fee of £170 a year. It has nothing to do with loyalty or reward and as surveys show, most people would rather receive discounts than benefits anyway. Dubbed "EasyJet Plus", members pay to receive dedicated bag drop, fast track security, complimentary advanced seating assignment, priority boarding and a slew of other benefits on every fight they take. As loyalty programs become harder to use (cough, everyone), people are far more interested in the savings they see today than the loyalty perks and points they may or may not be able to use in the future.
The New Program
For this exact reason, EasyJet's new "Flight Club" program will avoid mysterious points and miles and instead focus on just what its core passengers want: savings and flexibility. It's amusing because it's basic, it's boring, and it actually might be genius. The program will reward passengers who take more than twenty flights per year and or spend a certain amount of money with free ticket changes, free name changes and I've even heard rumors of members only fares. For "free ticket changes" this would mean no "change fee" allowing passengers to switch dates or flights to any flight with the same fare at no fee or simply pay the difference in fare to move to a more expensive flight. With changes on some airlines running up to $400, free ticket changes are a huge benefit to those already looking for savings; and an invaluable tool to curry favor with business travelers and agents.
This is amusing, because EasyJet and Ryanair are already crushing the status quo as we know it for short haul travel, forcing many legacy airlines to bow out entirely or mimic their approach. This will only push that trend further. One thing is for certain, for better or worse, discounters remain cheaper and they are now rewarding those not so niche customers in a way that the majors don't seem to understand, in the way that many desire most. Numbers don't lie and if two thirds of people want savings, give them savings... and rewards.
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