Collecting Flight points has become a hobby for many, and the right to fly somewhere for a lower price does indeed produce joy for the big consumers in the travel industry. The flights are never free of charge, since substantial taxes and fuel surcharges might make the reward flight costlier than taking a low-cost airline flight to the same destination. Sometimes you need to ask yourself, are the points guiding me too much and what is the purpose of the system? You would think that the reward system is supposed to produce a willingness to stay within one flight alliance or one flight company. Here is nevertheless an example, where the purpose is not quite clear for me.
Scandinavian Airlines maintains (at least) two point collecting programmes. I myself belong to the Eurobonus-programme, which is a relic from the time when the SAS-owned Blue1 was a substantial actor on the Finnish flight markets. This strange double system of SAS leads to a situation, where even its partners in Star Alliance do not recognize Eurobonus and the points registrations go wrong sometimes.
My most frequent problem when collecting points is when trying to figure out the flight class mentioned on the ticket. Eurobonus maintains a clear table of points for each flight class, but when the points arrive to your account, they rarely match the amount of points from that very same table. When I ask Eurobonus why, they answer shortly that the code mentioned on the flight ticket might not actually be the class I have actually used. Eurobonus also refers to their general rules, where this is specifically stated. Sometimes they refuse to deliver any points at all, referring to that same rule. This is their final statement regarding my request, because they do not answer anymore, when I ask for more information and transparency on their points collecting policy.
When you make your decision on which flight you want to use, the collecting and amount of points should be part of your decision, since they influence the price of your total travel pattern. Even round-the-world-trips are sometimes advertised with the argument that you earn an extra flight in Europe with the points collected from such a ticket. If a promise of points collected is not realized, it is as grave as advertising a wrong price. I am already used to the fact that online travel agents and search engines do not mention the flight class before you make your decision, whereby I am not able to check in advance the points that I will collect for that specific flight (by the way, why have the travel agents decided not to mention the flight class in their search engines?). But in Eurobonus they go even further: when the flight class is finally mentioned in the flight ticket after your purchase, then that class is not valid at all when points are delivered! This has happened especially when I have used the co-operation flight partner Turkish Airlines.
There is, however, one big advantage in Eurobonus compared to for example Finnair: the unused points stay far longer on your account in Eurobonus than they do with Finnair, where points are due annoyingly quickly.
Anyway, when flight companies turn their reward programmes impossible and annoying, they do not work to their advantage anymore. My feeling is that if I receive points, I do not understand why and they just arrive as a pleasant surprise. They might make me warm, but you might certainly ask: is it in the flight company’s interest to maintain a working marketing channel in order to influence customer decision or to just deliver surprising gifts every now and then to selected clients? Which of those alternatives offer a thinner bureaucracy and which alternative is less costly for the flight company?