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March 17, 2015
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Americas: The Weird and Wonderful World of Airline Loyalty Rewards Programs


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by Sue Pelletier in face2face

I’ll be the first to admit that, while as travel advocate Christopher Elliott likes to point out, airline loyalty rewards programs aren’t always created with the traveler’s best interest in mind, they’re still perks few frequent fliers pass up. Why not use those miles accrued during grueling business trips to offset the costs of future travel, right? But I had no idea just how far beyond free plane tickets some airline programs go.

According to a new report by the IdeaWorks company, there are some funky offerings from some of the 160-plus airlines the consultancy researched.

Among the ones that made me sit up and take notice:

• A 90-minute flight simulator experience, with a trainer—EVA Air

• An in-flight marriage proposal kit that includes wine, glasses, premium chocolate and a discount on duty-free items purchased in flight—El Al

• A ticket to see a Broadway show or a pro sports game (an orchestra seat at a current performance of “Momma Mia!” at the Broadhurst Theater in New York will set you back 16,900 miles)—United Airlines

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