Allegiant is no longer last big airline without a points program

Allegiant Air has rolled out a new travel points scheme, complete with an Allegiant-branded credit card.

With the move, Allegiant joins other big U.S. airlines in offering a loyalty program – typically referred to as “frequent-flier” programs. But that’s not how Allegiant is referring to its program, which the company says targets its base of mostly “infrequent fliers.”

“We don’t carry frequent-fliers, so the program isn’t built to reward frequency of travel on us,” Brian Davis, Allegiant’s vice president of marketing, says to Today in the Sky. “Our typical customer flies once a year. That’s their relationship with us. Then they’re done with us for the next 51 weeks of the year.”

Davis says the goal of Allegiant’s “points platform” is to keep customers engaged with the company even when they’re not flying on the carrier.

"I don’t think any rewards program is going to take a once-a-year vacationing family and turn them into a twice-a-year vacationing family," he says. "That was never the goal."

"The goal was to get them to invite us into their lives the other 51 weeks of the year when they’re back at home and going about their daily life," Davis adds. "By inviting the Allegiant brand into their life with the card, they can be earning points that then accumulate. Then, when it comes time for that family vacation, they can use that bank of value they’ve built up to take a longer vacation or stay at a nicer hotel.  For the airline, we want them to expand their relationship with us."

Allegiant specializes in connecting small and medium-sized markets to popular leisure destinations. The company does sell stand-alone airfares, but its business model is heavy on offering packages that bundle airfare with hotels, rental cars and other travel items.  Allegiant sells tickets only on nonstop routes and does not offer connecting itineraries. Most of its routes operate with just two or three flights a week.

As for Allegiant's new "points," customers will be able to redeem them as the equivalent of currency when booking with the company. The points, which will be valued at 1 cent per point, can be applied to airfare or travel expenses booked with Allegiant.

That means, for example, a customer with 15,000 points could redeem those as $150 toward an airfare or travel purchase from Allegiant.

As part of the launch of its points platform, Allegiant is also rolling out a Allegiant credit card that comes with a $59 annual fee.

The card – issued by Bank of America – gives customers 3 points per $1 spent on Allegiant purchases and 2 per $1 spent on dining purchases. Other purchases accrue 1 point per dollar spent.

Cardholders get perks when flying on Allegiant, including complimentary priority boarding and one free beverage on Allegiant flights.

Perhaps the most notable is an unlimited “buy one, get one free” airfare offer, though it comes with a significant restriction. It applies only when the cardholder has purchased a vacation package from Allegiant that includes four or more hotel nights or seven or more rental car days on the same itinerary. The cardholder also must be traveling as part of the itinerary to be eligible for the buy-one, get-one airfare offer.


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