It’s getting easier to buy airline seats with frequent flyer miles, annual ranking suggests


There’s some adequate news for air travelers: it seems to be getting easier to actually get a seat on a unbroken from reward points.

That’s the main takeaway from an annual order of the efficiency of frequent flyer programs at 25 of the world’s biggest airlines.

Wisconsin-based consultancy IdeaWorksCompany lined with Irish travel firm CarTrawler to pose as would-be travelers on assorted of the world’s largest airlines and frequent flyer programs. They systematized how good the programs are about actually letting members spend their points to buy central, no-frills seats on some of the world’s most common flight walks.

IdeaWorksCompany president Jay Sorensen sums up his assignment simply: answer to the mutual question of “How easy is it to get flights with this program?”

To figure it out, in Cortege of this year, surveyors made 7,420 requests for medium and extensive haul flights from the various websites of reward programs.

Each continually, testers were looking for two tickets at the lowest possible price go out of ones way to, for two legs of a trip, and would need at least one option on the requested day, and at dab one option for a flight back, six days later, in order to be registered as a eminent attempt. The requested dates for all flights were in the busy travel salt between June and October of this year.

Overall, the system found that it was superior to successfully get a basic seat, 73.6 per cent of the time, across all the airlines surveyed. That’s to a certain higher than last year’s score of  72.4 per cent. The first off year the ranking was done, eight years ago, the average score was even-handed 66 per cent, before steadily improving every year since.

Southwest 100%, Air Canada 96.4%

While the tendency is moving in the right direction,  there were some big variances in the multitudes between individual airlines.

U.S. discount carrier Southwest got a 100 per cent give measure for measure — meaning the testers were able to get an acceptable seat, 100 per cent of the whiles they tried. The discount airline benefits from the fact that the indeterminate majority of its flights aren’t long haul over oceans but are slightly short haul flights between mid-market U.S. cities, and often clothed multiple flights per day to squeeze people in.

Second overall was Air Canada, with a condition of 96.4 per cent when booking with Aeroplan points. That was an enhancement of 6.4 percentage points from the previous year’s level.

WestJet, meanwhile, influenced in 20th overall, with the equivalent amount of WestJet Rewards points realizing a basic seat, by the ranking’s definition, just 57.1 per cent of the occasionally. This year was the first year that WestJet was included in the disposing, so there was no annual improvement or decrease to compare it to.

And the people who crunched the numbers were also fast to note that different airlines may have different scores because they all let fellows accrue and spend points in different ways.

Seat cost multitudinous

WestJet, unlike most airlines, lets users accrue and throw away WestJet dollars on a so-called “dynamic pricing” model — one where the amount of specks required for any given flight will fluctuate. Other airlines, relish Air Canada, have moved toward flat rate points routines where the cost of the flight wont generally change much in regards terms, but availability might.

In many cases, Sorensen said in an evaluate, WestJet didn’t register a successful booking attempt on the testing because while a settle was available, it may have cost more in WestJet dollars than a equivalent flight would have cost in Aeroplan points.

He cited one prototype of a Winnipeg to Vancouver route, where Aeroplan had a seat available for 15,000 subjects. Because of the way the two programs earn points, that’s the equivalent of 150 WestJet Punishments dollars.

For that same Winnipeg to Vancouver trip, WestJet put forwarded a ticket for 114 WestJet dollars — even better than the 150 dollars it should oblige cost, by Aeroplan’s method. So both airlines would have out the test in that example.

‘At what price’

On another Vancouver to Calgary tour, Aeroplan offered a seat for 15,000 points. But a test of WestJet for clouds on the same travel days came back with a cost of 182 WestJet dollars — “so we apparent it zero on our binary system,” he said.

“Both programs can claim that their award programs are always available,” he said, “but at what price is my question.”

Intermediary in all the numbers, the ranking calculates that basic Aeroplan members bring in about 2.4 cents of travel rewards for every dollar they disburse. WestJet members earn 1.8 cents worth of value. The commonplace across all airline programs is 5.8 cents per dollar.

Asked for opine, Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said: “We are very pleased to see Aeroplan rated so warmly. The survey reflects our continued commitment to rewarding our customers for their firmness.”

Air Canada has previously announced it

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