Airline loyalty of frequent flyers : a survey of members and non-members of loyalty programmes

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 8
  • Abstract:

    Airlines employ frequent flyer programmes (FFPs) to enhance their competitiveness and retain loyal and profitable customers. There has been some debate on the continued effectiveness of FFPs and industry and academia have questioned the extent to which FFPs are still capable of enhancing loyalty among their members. This study looks at Business Class travellers, both members and non-members of a FFP who travel frequently on the same airline, and aims to measure their level of loyalty, while at the same time ascertaining whether a difference exists between members and non-members. An online questionnaire is used to measure the level of loyalty of 2 050 frequent business class travellers. Results show no significant difference between members and non-members of the FFP in terms of their level of compound loyalty displayed towards the airline. It also found that a higher tier of membership does not necessarily display a higher level of loyalty. These results indicate that equating specific tier membership of a loyalty programme to a high level of loyalty towards an airline cannot be generally accepted. Recommendations flowing from the research would include that the tier-structure of FFPs may need to be reconsidered to achieve the actual benefits for which they were created.The findings also imply that members of the FFP are not necessarily more loyal than non-members and calls for an in-depth analysis to establish which mediating factors within the loyalty programme will have an inducing effect on the level of loyalty towards the airline.