The loyalty solutions provider Loylogic has conducted an online survey in conjunction with the 2008 Freddie Awards, and found that 94% of the 9,000 members of 60 frequent flyer programmes surveyed would like a flexible miles-plus-cash payment option when redeeming rewards.
The survey also found that only 30% felt that the value of their miles had increased over the past three years.
As a consequence, 40% of the frequent flyers surveyed said they had considered switching from their preferred airline's co-branded credit card to an ordinary credit card rewards programme.
Perhaps more worryingly, some 20% of FFP members surveyed said they had already switched credit cards for this reason.
The perceived devaluing of frequent flyer miles over the past few years may even become a sticking point for many FFP operators, as airlines' most valuable (i.e. profitable) customers need more incentives to participate in and engage with the programme.
Another surprising finding was that more than 50% of the frequent flyers surveyed said that they consider non-flight rewards to be a valid alternative to flight rewards. In contrast, only 14% considered non-flight rewards to be more important than flight rewards.
Impact on FFPs
This trend may seriously affect developments in many frequent flyer programmes over the next few years because, while frequent flyers clearly want new reward options, they are not ready to swap their hard-earned miles for any low value offer.
In fact, Loylogic's survey found that 50% of those surveyed said they were seeking "great value" when redeeming miles for non-flight rewards.
As a result, increasing the tangible value of miles is likely to become one of the key challenges that frequent flyer programmes will have to resolve in the near future.
The survey's results can be obtained on e-mailed request from Loylogic - contact Rob Moerland (firstname.lastname@example.org).