Airline opens online mall where FFP miles are cash
The Denver-based low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines has launched an online shopping mall called the 'More Store' where its frequent flyer programme members can spend their miles, either in direct payment for goods or through an auction-style bidding process.
The mall was created to provide Frontier's most loyal customers (Ascent and Summit level members in the Early Returns programme) with the ability to purchase lifestyle-oriented goods with their miles. The items available come from a range of retail partners, and can either be bought outright or by bidding.
Burn miles sooner According to Frontier, goods will not require large amounts of miles, offering FFP members the opportunity to redeem miles sooner than usual. Andrew Hudson, Frontier's senior director of sales, marketing and corporate communications, commented: "In this day and age, an airline travellers' loyalty is met with a hodgepodge of undecipherable restrictions, blackout dates, limited seats and a basic feeling that your loyalty is not really being recognised or rewarded."
Miles, not cash The More Store is a full online shopping mall based completely on miles for its payments. For its grand-opening, Frontier hosted a launch event at the Pepsi Center in Denver (Colorado), USA, where the airline also unveiled a brand new Mercedes M-class Sports Utility Vehicle from Murray Motor Imports, with a starting bid of 10,000 miles.
Other items available include rounds of golf at top golf courses, certificates for several Denver restaurants, TUMI-brand luggage, overnight packages at Denver's Brown Palace Hotel, jewellery from John Atencio, tickets to Colorado Rockies baseball games, SprintPCS Vision Smart Device Treo 650s, golf equipment, and bicycles.
According to Randy Peterson, editor of InsideFlyer magazine, "This interpretation of turning miles into merchandise and lifestyle benefits for members of frequent flyer programmes just may be the best effort yet."
Early Returns In the Early Returns programme, travellers need 15,000 miles to earn a free ticket to any of the 48 North American cities Frontier flies to, or 25,000 miles for travel to its five Mexican destinations. In addition, travellers only need to fly 15,000 miles in one year to become an Ascent member, and only 25,000 flown miles to become a higher-level Summit member. Each premier level offers escalating benefits depending on the status reached including perks such as free DIRECTV, free cocktails, a higher percentage of miles earned per trip, special check-in and security lines, and priority seating and boarding.