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I Stopped Traveling And My Program Didn’t Notice

I Stopped Traveling And My Program Didn’t Notice

In less than 12 months, I went from a top-tier traveller to a zero traveller. And no one seems to have noticed.

For 15 years, I travelled almost weekly and sometimes more often – long-haul trans-pacific flights as well as a good number of 35-minute cross-border hops. In a good year, my frequent flyer accounts earn over 400,000 miles, and even a slower year sees at least 100,000 miles. The record year in my hotel frequent guest accounts was 156 room nights.  With all that travel, the monthly spend on my credit cards averaged above $10k.  I’m trying to make the point that while I am nowhere near the super-elite tier of members, my business was deemed ‘good enough’ to earn top-tier status in several airline and hotel programs each year.

But this year, I have flown only once on a one-way flight that earned me 16,194 miles; and stayed 1 night in a hotel that earned no points. My average credit card spend on the same card is now only $1,200 a month. With airlines, hotels and credit card companies proclaiming that they are fighting tooth and nail for every consumer dollar, not one of these companies that I have been loyal to has contacted me about my abrupt drop in activity. Not a single “We Want You Back” offer, no letter, no phone call – aren’t they a little curious that I fell off their radar? Or, quite possibly, no-one’s looked closely enough at their database to notice.

One of my clients used to run a “Welcome Back” campaign that consistently saw an 18% reactivation rate with a simple offer of a free flight after your next flight. It wasn’t flashy, but it worked. There are many fancy ways to win new customers, few, unfortunately, know how to mine the riches of the data that their loyalty program possesses to keep their most loyal consumer dollars engaged and pull more value, money in plainspeak, from them once the economy picks up.

Let’s begin with the simplest, old-fashioned way – ask nicely.



Hello! Matt Vaccarella is plugging away in the US this December, fortified against the cold with a glass of Washington's finest. Call him at (+1) 360 376 3668 to touch base. Sharon Ho is writing about the best of sunny Singapore from wintry Orcas. Call us for the weather update and good projects for inspired minds, of course!

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