Which frequent flyer cards do millennials use?
New Beem It research shows a fractured loyalty market, and a lot of missed opportunities for points.
Everyone should have a frequent flyer card. It's an easy way to earn free flights. But while both Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Australia Velocity boast more than 10 million members, how many people actually take full advantage of them?
Some fresh data from payments and bill-splitting app Beem It provides an insight. The app has been testing a new feature which lets users store their loyalty cards, such as frequent flyer cards and supermarket rewards cards, in the app.
That means that rather than having to carry cards, you can just scan the barcode from within Beem It. Frequent flyer apps such as Qantas offer similar features, but usually only for their own cards.
Beem It's user base is dominated by millennials, so the data on which cards have been added during the trial, shared exclusively with Finder, gives us some insight into which loyalty cards are most popular in that group. (Definitions for millennials vary and some use the label "Gen Y" to mean the same thing, but for our purposes it's largely applied to people born between 1981 and 1996, meaning they're likely in the workforce and can't really remember a world without the Internet. )
The next-biggest category? Makeup and beauty, which accounts for 16%. "The level of loyalty cards being added that are beauty stores related was a surprise, but clearly reflects the growing popularity of these stores," Beem IT CEO Angela Clark told Finder.
Frequent flyer comes a long way down the list, at just 5%. Why is that? It's easy to speculate. Possible reasons include millennials being less loyal to a single airline, preferring to hunt down the cheapest fare, or the popular perception that frequent flyer schemes are just too confusing to be worth the effort.
The clear lesson for me is that lots of millennials are wasting their loyalty points. Six times as many are using supermarket rewards as using frequent flyer schemes. That's a pity, because you can get far more from your supermarket points if you turn them into frequent flyer points.
Earning 2,000 points with either Woolworths or Coles will score you a $10 off voucher, but if you turn the same points into frequent flyer points, you can get anywhere from $20 to $80 in value. So if you're using a supermarket card, you should also be using a frequent flyer card. Don't waste those points!
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.