Points of Interest
Business Traveler|June/July 2021
As post-pandemic travel restarts, your loyalty may be more valuable than ever
Ramsey Qubein
The travel industry, like most other businesses, was knocked upside-down in the past year. And so, too, was the world of points and miles. Those ex-otic travel plans many people made while taking advantage of those hard-earned frequent flier miles and hotel points were erased from the books.

But while the plans are moot, the points are still on the books – for now. During difficult economic times, loyalty programs can still play an important role. In 2020, airline and hotel companies relied heavily on their loyalty programs to remain connected to customers at a time when traveling was not an option. And this year, as travel ramps up, loyalty program members play an essential part in building back pre-pandemic traveler confidence.

Many loyalty experts believe this is a great time to participate in such programs because this is where brands will turn to first to re-engage with their audience. This means there is significant upside to staying connected with your preferred airline and hotel brands if you’re paying attention.

AN OLIVE BRANCH

Last year, most airlines and hotels extended elite status and paused mileage and point expiration. The hope was that when travel resumes, members will turn to their preferred programs first. There was great uncertainty over when travel would be possible again, but the extensions greatly comforted members who worked diligently to accrue hard-earned benefits.

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