For frequent travellers, there are many benefits of frequent flyer program membership. The points earned can be put towards free flights & upgrades, and elite status offers benefits such as lounge access & priority check-in. But for a relatively infrequent flyer, does airline loyalty come at a cost that is not outweighed by the benefits?

This week one member questions the value of frequent flyer programs. This member travels to Europe annually, and finds that they can save money on flights by ignoring loyalty and simply choosing the “best fare of the day”. So, is it worth paying a premium price in order to be loyal to one airline?

I don’t belong to any FF programs, and always book flights depending on the price – the cheapest always wins. I’m not fussy about airlines, but for SYD-LHR flights I would prefer going on the A380 as I’m 6ft4″ and value the extra space. So my question is this – should I be sticking to just one airline each time to try and build up some kind of loyalty?

Although it may result in higher airfares, some members do advocate loyalty to one airline. Keeping all eggs in one basket means the potential to earn elite status, and the ability to accumulate points more quickly. In the long run, this could result in free flights and upgrades that would not have otherwise been possible!

Other members believe the extra cost of flying a premium airline such as Qantas is not worth it. They opine that the extra money could be better spent.

I’ll go against the flow. If you are an infrequent flyer $700 saving per person is a huge saving. Not worth chasing status or points.

Even when choosing the best fare of the day, our members still suggest signing up to the relevant airline’s program and earning points. Even if earning status is out of the question, the points cost nothing to earn and can be used for valuable redemptions in the future.

[Best Fare of the Day] is a good policy, but there is nothing to stop you joining frequent flyer schemes that are free to join (which is most). Then you will slowly accumulate points when you fly on those airlines and eventually have enough to get something useful. Chasing points rather than status is much easier.

While the majority of members do try to maximise airline loyalty, there is a limit to how much most will spend to do so. If there are significant savings to be had by flying with another airline, many will seriously consider the other options.

There is no right or wrong answer to your question. My airline strategy is bit of a mix and match. I have a mixture of business and personal travel and generally try and fly One World airlines to keep up my status and points accrual, but if the price is right will fly other airlines.

Share your views 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]