Delta airplane jet with blue sky

This post contains recommended links to products and services. While you will not accrue any additional costs to support my blog, I may receive compensation if you purchase these products and services. Source: All study content, charts and graphs related to the 2019 Airline Loyalty Program Satisfaction Study,SM were published and provided by J.D. Power. Rankings are based on numerical scores, and not necessarily on statistical significance. For more details, visit J.D. Power.

Are you confused by your airline loyalty program? You’re not alone.

Nearly half (45%) of airline loyalty program members still don’t know how to redeem rewards, according to the J.D. Power 2019 Airline Loyalty Program Satisfaction Study,SM released recently.

Many airline loyalty programs are failing to deliver on their intended purpose because members do not understand how to redeem the awards they accumulate. According to the J.D. Power 2019 Airline Loyalty Program Satisfaction Study, nearly half (45%) of program members say they do not understand how to redeem their miles and/or points. This lack of understanding has a significant negative effect on overall customer satisfaction.

“This is the third year in a row that we’ve seen airline loyalty program customer satisfaction hampered by a widespread lack of understanding of how to extract the most value from the programs,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Intelligence Lead at J.D. Power. “Many airlines are evaluating the success of their loyalty programs based on dollars spent by travelers rather than on miles flown. That’s a significant shift away from rewarding frequent travelers and toward rewarding high spenders.”

Key findings from J.D. Power 2019 Airline Loyalty Program Study

Here are some highlights provided by the J.D. Power 2019 Airline Loyalty Program Satisfaction Study.

  • Lack of understanding program details negatively affects satisfaction: While overall industry satisfaction increases to 789 (on a 1,000-point scale) from 776 in 2018, airline loyalty program member satisfaction climbs 135 points when members understand how to redeem points and increases 129 points when members understand how to earn points. Yet, nearly half (45%) of general loyalty program members say they do not completely understand how to redeem rewards and 43% say they do not fully understand how to earn miles/points.
  • Recognition goes a long way toward building customer loyalty: Overall satisfaction scores increase 102 points when passengers’ names are used by airline staff, yet this occurs just 35% of the time. Similarly, overall satisfaction climbs 68 points when a member of the airline staff recognizes a loyalty program member’s status during the booking, check-in, departure or flight. However, this happens just slightly more than half (53%) of the time.
  • Most important perks: Among specific benefits and rewards used through airline loyalty programs, discounts on airport and limousine services drive the most significant increase in overall satisfaction (+102 points), followed by waiving same-day change fees (+95) and lowest rate guarantee (+94).
  • Increased mobile app use associated with higher satisfaction: Mobile app usage among loyalty program members has increased 10% during the past year, with 56% of program members reporting that they have such a mobile app on their smartphone or tablet. Loyalty members with mobile apps are more satisfied overall (+70 points) than members without the mobile app.

JetBlue Airways TrueBlue Loyalty Program ranks highest for third consecutive year

In the rankings, JetBlue Airways TrueBlue, with a score of 821, ranks highest in overall member satisfaction for a third consecutive year. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards (812) ranks second and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan (810) ranks third. 

J.D. Power Airline Loyalty Program Satisfaction Study
The J.D. Power 2019 Airline Loyalty Program Satisfaction Study rankings are based on numerical scores and not necessarily on statistical significance.

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Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller


  1. I couldn’t agree more. Earning loyalty points is the easy part; redeeming them is more difficult. Rules change, points are devalued, and many people find it difficult to mine the ‘sweet spots.’ Thank goodness for miles-and-points bloggers who help demystify the various programs.

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