Online Reviews and Reputation Give Lift to Airline Loyalty and Rewards Programs
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Ranks Highest in Overall Customer Satisfaction With Airline Loyalty/Rewards Programs for Second Consecutive Year
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 13 May 2015 — Online reviews of an airline’s loyalty and rewards program as well as the program’s reputation have a substantial impact on member satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction ReportSM released today.
The report, now in its second year, measures customer satisfaction with airline loyalty and rewards programs based on six factors (in order of importance): ease of redeeming points/miles; reward program terms; account maintenance/management; ease of earning points/miles; variety of benefits available; and customer service. Satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale.
The research that 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 program because of online reviews is 813, while satisfaction among the 21 percent of passengers who choose their program because of its reputation is 803.
Among the 42 percent of passengers who choose their program because of the convenience of locations where they travel—the most common reason for program selection—satisfaction averages only 721.
“Airline loyalty and rewards programs need to focus on enhancing their reputation, specifically online, because passengers are paying attention,” said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. “Gen Y customers in particular are most likely to choose a program based on positive reviews.”
- Overall satisfaction with airline loyalty and rewards programs improves to 705 in 2015, up from 692 in 2014.
- Among generational groups, overall satisfaction is highest among Gen Y members (742), followed by Gen X (721), Pre-Boomer (695) and Boomer (690) members.
- Gen Y members are also strong advocates, as 44 percent say they “definitely will” recommend their airline loyalty/rewards program to friends and family, with 38 percent of Gen X, 37 percent of Boomers and 34 percent of Pre-Boomers saying the same.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction with airline loyalty/rewards programs for a second consecutive year, achieving a score of 759. JetBlue Airlines TrueBlue ranks second with 758, followed by Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards with 743.
The 2015 Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report measures customer satisfaction with airline rewards and loyalty programs. The report is based on responses from more than 3,073 airline loyalty and rewards program members and was fielded in March 2015.
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 J.D. Power defines generational groups as Pre-Boomers (born before 1946); Boomers (1946-1964); Gen X (1965-1976); and Gen Y (1977-1994).