Website Enables Exchanging of Frequent Flyer Miles
Once upon a time, airline loyalty programs prohibited members from trading or swapping miles. Now many of them permit it, and a couple of Web sites have sprung up to enable exchanges. Points.com allows members to trade points and miles, swap them between programs or purchase them. At least 21 airlines and seven hotel companies participate, in addition to Amtrak Guest Rewards. You can also track all of your balances on the site. It’s free to join, but there’s a trading fee of $10 per 1,000 miles to swap on the site’s Global Points Exchange. Loyaltymatch.com enables members to sell miles or use them to buy merchandise. Meanwhile, membership in airline, hotel and car rental loyalty programs has declined 31.2 percent since 2007, according to a study by loyalty research company Colloquy. However, in the past two years, overall participation in loyalty programs is up 19 percent, soaring 32 percent and 29 percent among “millennials” (ages 18–25) and women, respectively. But the study also reported that consumers have pared down their travel program memberships, so they now belong to an average of 1.5 programs, versus 2.18 programs in 2007.