Being able to automatically pool points with family members to achieve non-flight or flight rewards is what frequent flyers most want from a rewards program, according to new research released by Virgin Australia.
The data revealed the most appealing aspect of frequent flyer programs were flight rewards (50 percent), but that non-flight rewards, such as retail purchases, were almost equally as popular, carrying a 43 percent top appeal rate.
Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents also voted for the option to combine points with family members and the ability to purchase guaranteed seats (35 percent) as the most attractive ways to improve frequent flyer schemes.
Virgin expanded its Velocity Frequent Flyer program this month to include new opportunities and rewards for travellers and their families.
Virgin Australia general manager of velocity frequent flyer Phil Gunter touted the new features: “For the first time in Australia, members can now automatically pool the Points and status credits of all their family members into one account, enabling them to capitalise on the benefits. “
Members can now also take parental leave for six months, and pick up where they left off afterwards with their membership intact.
More than nine million Australians are part of a frequent flyer scheme, with 80 percent of them uncertain of how many scheme points they actually have. The majority of flyers (71 percent) rate the ability to earn points over the cache of having status benefits (14 percent). Given the opportunity, over 60 percent would choose to pay for a flight with a credit card in order to rack up frequent flyer points.