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New Airline Loyalty Program Is Invitation-Only

A loyalty program that only the certifiably loyal can join.

It’s an intriguing idea that at least at first glance seems eminently logical.

Signing up travelers who aren’t likely to be active just generates extra expense for the program operator. And it creates unrealistic expectations on the part of customers who will be disappointed in never deriving any significant benefit from their membership.

Nevertheless, selective membership is an approach that runs counter to industry norms. Almost by definition, today’s travel-rewards programs are open to anyone wishing to join, with no fees or qualification hurdles.

Nevertheless, after an 18-month trial, easyJet, the self-proclaimed “leading airline of Europe,” plans to introduce its new loyalty scheme, Flight Club, on an invitation-only basis.

Naturally, the company is reluctant to fully disclose the criteria that will be used to identify member invitees, noting that it will “match both the airline’s most frequent flyers and its most loyal customers.” But among other things, prospects will have to have completed at least 20 easyJet flights within a one-year period, and met unspecified revenue-contribution targets.

The target customers include the high-value flyers coveted by all airlines:

The sorts of passenger groups who will benefit will include those who commute frequently on easyJet, independent business travellers, second home owners, those in long distance relationships or those who have family or friends living elsewhere in Europe.

So, what’s in store for easyJet’s best customers?

  • No fee for flight changes
  • No fee for up to five name changes every year
  • Low-price guarantee
  • Special offers
  • Access to dedicated customer-service agents

Pretty paltry perks, as loyalty benefits go. And most notably missing from the list: free flights.

The scheme’s combination of high participation hurdles and low-value benefits is likely to make the program a non-factor for easyJet loyalists and non-loyalists alike.

easyJet customers who make the cut can expect to receive invitations to join Flight Club beginning in early 2016. Those who don’t make the cut can find solace in knowing that they’re not missing much.

Reader Reality Check

Is this any way to reward your best customers?

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