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  • Loyalty programs: Free perks or nefarious ploy?

    USA Today - 03/01/2015

    More passengers are beginning to think of themselves as prisoners of an airline rather than willing participants in a loyalty program. And more industry observers are seeing the toxic effects of these programs on a free market.

    “I believe there’s little question that the primary purpose of these programs is to put loyalty ahead of reason,” says Harlan Platt, a finance professor at Northeastern University.

    In fact, the term “loyalty program” may be inaccurate, given the recent changes that have taken place, since the loyalty only goes one way. They are actually highly effective marketing programs, say customer service experts like Shep Hyken.

    “My question then is simple,” he adds. “If the airlines took away the miles and free upgrades, would the passenger remain loyal?”

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