Frequent Flyer Program Ethics: Notice Before Rule Changes

business_ethics_highlights_2Gary Leff on why frequent flyer programs are not like discounts and should be changed infrequently and with advance notice. >>>

The Airline Industry’s Lobbyist Says Mileage Programs Should Be Able to Change Their Terms on a Whim. He’s Wrong.

Mileage programs represent a promise of future reward on the basis of current action. That’s true for award redemptions — buy these flowers, eat at these restaurants, choose to fly our planes, and do that for enough time and you’ll earn points for your honeymoon, anniversary, or family reunion.

The intertemporal nature of the program — it inherently involves saving for the future, versus cash which you can combine with other funds and spend in whatever proportion you wish right away — represents a commitment.

If a loyalty program is going to unilaterally change the terms – renege on its commitments – at the absolute very least they have to give members who have detrimentally relied on their previous promises the opportunity to take action to get their bookings made, to top off their accounts before it’s too late.


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