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CheapTickets Has a New Loyalty Program (and We’re Not Impressed)

SmarterTravel

The online travel agencies already boast competitive prices, plenty of inventory, and solid if not flashy user interfaces. So it’s no mystery why the latest battle for the hearts and minds of travel consumers is taking place in the arena of loyalty programs.

We’ve recently seen loyalty program enhancements from Expedia and Orbitz, signaling their conviction that differentiation, loyalty, and profitability go hand in hand.

Today, CheapTickets threw its hat into the loyalty ring with the launch of its CheapCash program. Here’s how it works:

On the earning side: “Travelers can earn $50 in CheapCash when booking any flight on the CheapTickets.com website. If booking through the CheapTickets’ mobile app for iOS and Android, members can earn on both air and hotel—$75 when booking a flight ($50 plus an additional $25 app bonus) and $25 when booking a hotel.”

On the redemption side: “The CheapCash currency can be redeemed against stays in tens of thousands of CheapCash hotels in destinations around the world.”

And this important rule: “CheapCash can be used immediately after booking, or within 30 days, but members have one year from the date of booking to complete travel.”

And this: “You can earn up to $100 in CheapCash per year.”

So, earn only for flights (unless it’s via mobile), and a maximum of only $100 per year; redeem only for hotels, and within 30 days of the airline booking.

To be sure, there’s the potential to wring good value from CheapCash. Book a $200 ticket, and the $50 savings on a hotel night amounts to a 25 percent rebate. And you’ll still earn miles from your favorite airline program for the flight.

Many travelers, however, prefer to look at loyalty as a long-term proposition, with a wider range of rewards. For them, CheapCash is just too limited, and too limiting.

Reader Reality Check

Does CheapCash stand a chance of becoming your go-to program for booking flights?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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