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The Evolution of Loyalty in Travel: A Timeline

Jul 21, 2014 7:00 am

Amit Gupta  / Flickr

Rewards cards link customer spending to points and miles. Amit Gupta / Flickr


Below is an extract from our report earlier this year, The Reinvention of Airline and Hotel Loyalty Programs, focusing on strategies for how marketers can capitalize on new innovations in tech and shifts in traveler behavior to build more genuine customer loyalty and larger profits in the future. For more get the report.

  • 1978 U.S. Government deregulates the airline industry, leading to renewed competition
  • 1981 American Airlines creates, AAdvantage, the first travel industry loyalty program
  • 1983 Holiday Inn and Marriott launch the first hotel loyalty programs
  • 1985 Diner’s Club launches the first credit card that links customer spending to rewards
  • 1998 Editor Randy Petersen founds Flyertalk, the influential online forum for discussion of airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • 2004 AwardWallet is founded to help travelers manage and track participation in loyalty programs offered by airlines, hotels, rental car and credit card companies.
  • Kimpton Hotels launches its guest loyalty program, InTouch
  • 2010 KLM launches its social media “surprise” initiative at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport
  • Virgin America and Klout team up to offer free flights to social media users based on their online influence
  • 2011 Southwest Airlines restructures its frequent flier program Rapid Re- wards, tying the collection award tickets to dollars spent on tickets rather than miles flown
  • 2013 Starwood, Marriott and Hilton announce increases in the number of points needed for free hotel stays
  • 2014 Delta and United Airlines increase the points required for certain upgrade awards

For more get the report.

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