Most Travelers Will Stay Loyal After The Pandemic

In part two of our three part series on American’s feeling towards travel reward/loyalty programs we look at how COVID-19 has changed their perceptions of travel companies and their relationship with them. These are the results of a study by ValuePenguin.

When it comes to brand loyalty, airlines lead the way, with 1 in 4 Americans saying they have a preferred airline. As for the top brand, Southwest took the spot with 26% choosing it, followed by Delta at 22% and American at 20%.

“It’s unsurprising that many people prefer to fly airlines like Southwest, Delta and American, as these are well-known, reputable airlines with solid customer service,” says Sophia Mendel, travel writer at ValuePenguin.

They also have travel rewards programs that can provide considerable value to their members, she added, including perks like free checked bags, priority boarding and dedicated airport lounges.

In addition, 24% are members of a particular hotel or resort loyalty program, while only 7% are loyal to a cruise line and 6% are to a rental car company.

Surprisingly, 3 out of 4 consumers say the pandemic didn’t impact their loyalty to their favorite travel brands either way, though 14% became more loyal and 11% less loyal.

“During the pandemic, many travel loyalty programs made changes to adapt to the global situation and encourage travelers to maintain their membership,” says Mendel. These changes included extending points expiration and waiving annual fees and flight change fees. “Now that travel is back on the table, people are glad they’ve still got points and miles to burn with their preferred airline and hotel loyalty programs.”