business news in context, analysis with attitude reports that Delta Air Lines is breaking with the traditional approach to frequent flyer programs and moving from mileage-based rewards to a system that also will reward customers based on the fares they pay. The new system will go into effect on January 1, 2003.

The airline says that it believes that, in fact, this will reward more people faster, with customers moving up in status at a quicker pace.
KC's View:
We think this is of interest, and not just to those of us who have accumulated miles on Delta over the years. (We have most of our miles on united, actually, and that’s a whole different story these days…)

It suggests that it may be time to adjust traditional approaches to loyalty marketing…to come at things from a different angle.

In retailing, rewards have always been keyed specifically to money spent, which is where Delta seems to be headed now. But maybe retailers ought to shift to a more subjective approach, rewarding people based on other criteria – numbers of visits per week, perhaps, or giving greater consideration to people who shop perimeter fresh foods departments.

There are certainly a number of ways to skin this cat. We just think that it probably is time for nontraditional thinking in this vein.