While I still remain generally loyal to one carrier, the evolution of my Apple Wallet is a great indicator of how much I truly value airline loyalty.
Being the packrat that I am, I save all my boarding passes in Apple Wallet, a handy iPhone app that centrally stores them. It gives me a great look into my flight history over the years, often bringing back good (and bad) memories.
For years, my Apple Wallet looked like this:
That’s right, all United Airlines, all the time.
But here’s how it looks for my travel over the last month or so:
The Waning Value of Airline Loyalty
The Apple Wallet is just an illustration of a broader trend: loyalty is just not what it used to be.
When it comes to meaningful changes to airline loyalty programs, it seems that for every one step forward there are two steps back.
I won’t signal any airline out, because all airlines are guilty of this (some more than others). Have you miles become more valuable or less over the last few years? Undoubtedly less. Frequent flyer miles are like automobiles, a depreciating asset. That’s why I always recommend to earn them and burn them. Points and miles are not a nest egg, but a commodity to be used sooner rather than later.
And the fact that airline loyalty programs are not nearly as generous as they once were has led me to be totally willing to be a free agent. That’s why I flew Alaska, American, and Hawaiian recently, Alitalia instead of Lufthansa, and EasyJet instead of SWISS.
I’ll decide on schedule and price first, then airline second. That’s the reality of loyalty in 2019.
Where do you find yourself when it comes to airline loyalty? Are you generally loyal to one carrier, like me, but always willing to deviate under the right circumstances? What would an airline have to do to make you inflexibly loyal?