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Travel News 23 Feb 2018

FCM brings you the biggest news this month from the hotel and airline loyalty space, including new programs, mergers, price changes and more.


Wyndham launch discount loyalty rates

Hotel giant Wyndham group is instituting discounted room rates for the more than 53 million members of its Wyndham Reward loyalty program. This new ‘Rewarding Rate’ will give members access to a 10% price reduction at properties in the global Wyndham network, which currently numbers more than 8,000 locations. Although they offered a 15 to 25% limited time discount back in 2016, this is the first time the company have offered standing, discounted rates to loyalty program members. Many of Wyndham’s competitors already began offering discounted rates in recent years. Choice hotels offers its program members up to 7% off standard rates, Marriott offers up to 2% on weekdays and 5% on weekends. Hilton, Hyatt and Intercontinental all offer up to 10%, with some conditions depending on time and region.


Air Canada offers new scratch-built loyalty program

Air Canada has announced that they will be launching a new loyalty program built almost entirely from the ground up. Since 2002 the Canadian flag carrier had been essentially outsourcing its loyalty program to ‘Aeroplan’, a separate company. But Air Canada now intends to bring its program back in-house in what amounts to an almost total re-build.  Miles from the old, Aeroplan-run program will not transfer over to the new scheme, which is expected to launch in 2020.


Singapore launches blockchain-based loyalty program

Asian-based Singapore Airlines have launched the world’s first airline loyalty program based on blockchain technology. Members can use a digital wallet to record and store their loyalty points. This could have many advantages for travelers. A blockchain-based system would be less vulnerable to inflation, which often devalues users points and miles over time. Travelers could also convert the blockchain into other digital currencies or money, with the market determining the value of the blocks, meaning there is potential for the loyalty points to appreciate in effective value.


Marriott/Starwood reorganize reward pricing

Recently merged hotel giant Mariott have changed the way properties are organized in their loyalty regime. The company classifies each of their 1 properties into a tier, with higher tiers requiring more points to earn rewards such as free nights. Members can redeem 7,500 points for a night at a category 1 hotel, whereas a category 9 hotel requires 45,000 points. Under the reorganization, 1,330 of their 4,300 locations will move up a tier, making them more expensive to book with points. For members of the Starwood program, 276 of the companies 1,500 Starwood branded properties will be changing categories. While many are going up a category, many are being reduced in effective points cost, presenting the opportunity for travelers to fin the same value at a lower loyalty cost.