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Monday, July 22, 2024

Airlines scolded over bonus programs

Norway’s Consumer Council (Forbrukerrådet) has called on airlines SAS and Norwegian Air to extend the expiration dates on points earned by customers through their frequent flyer bonus programs. The pandemic made it difficult if not impossible to use points that are soon set to expire.

“Customers are in danger of losing a lot of value,” Inger Lise Blyverket, director of the consumer council, told news service E24 in Oslo. “We’re still not free to travel now, so the airlines cannot nullify the value customers have earned but can’t use.” Blyverket noted that some customers were also persuaded to accept points instead of cash refunds for cancelled flights last year.

She noted that SAS and Norwegian Air also created the most distress for consumers in Norway last year, when they dragged out or failed to deliver refunds for cancelled flights. She claims that the airlines’ customers, especially those most loyal to the company, deserve better treatment.

SAS has earlier countered that its customers have five years in which to use their points for flights or other benefits, and could have used them before the pandemic began. That attitude angered many loyal customers like Paul Ramm, who stresses that the airlines offered a service that can’t be used. He called any expiration of points “a commercially cynicial decision.”

The two airlines’ reluctance to extend expiration deadlines also runs counter to industry practice. At United Airlines, for example, frequent flyer “Mileage Plus” points never expire. staff



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