Frequent Flyer Points Losing Value?

Earning frequent flyer points is now easier than ever. You can earn points almost anywhere, and generous credit card sign-up bonus points are an everyday reality. Some airlines even sell frequent flyer points directly to customers – often at generous discounts!

But, while the overall number of frequent flyer points in circulation is ever increasing, the number of flights available to redeem those points on is not. According to one member, increasing competition for the same pool of reward flights is causing frequent flyer points to lose their value.

This member argues that points are now so hard to redeem for award flights and upgrades that many people give up. Instead, points are redeemed for low-value rewards like gift cards or simply allowed to expire. This member also bemoans the gradual increases in the number of frequent flyer points charged for upgrades and free flights.

An analogy is drawn between frequent flyer points and a currency that is suffering from hyperinflation. Airlines make money by selling frequent flyer points to banks and other program partners, so they try to sell as many as they can. But on many routes, such as to the United States, it’s now almost impossible to find a reward seat in any class other than Economy. This member opines that if a bank continuously printed money, there would be outrage as this causes inflation and reduces the value of the currency. Yet airlines are able to do this virtually unchallenged.

Some members disagree with the assertion that there are now fewer opportunities to redeem points. They opine that there are more opportunities now as points can be redeemed on the ground for things other than flights. Hotels, hire cars, toasters and gift vouchers can all be obtained using frequent flyer points – though the value of such redemptions is often poor.

Another member agrees that finding reward seats to destinations such as the USA can be hard. But they don’t see this as a major problem; if there are no flights available to North America, they’ll just take a holiday in Europe instead.

Are you finding it harder to use your points? Join the discussion HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]