Frequent Flyer Day – May 1, 2023

Frequent Flyer Day is celebrated on May 1 every year. If you’re a jet setter or someone who frequently flies across the U.S. or all over the world, then this day is for you. The Frequent Flier is an incentive program that airlines have come up with to reward a customer’s loyalty. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, as long as you’re registered to the program, you’re in for a treat. Celebrate this day by enjoying all your perks from the points you’ve accumulated. From more air travel, class upgrades, and priority bookings, to airport lounge access, there’s no better day to feel like a V.I.P. than today.

History of Frequent Flyer Day

The idea of a frequent flyer was first suggested in the 1950s when airlines tracked the travel activity of their customers, which lasted until the 1960s. However, it was Texas International Airlines that established the first mileage-based Frequent Flyer Program (F.F.P.) in 1979, merging with Continental in 1982.

It wasn’t until 1981 that the Frequent Flyer Program was popularized by American Airlines and was called the AAdvantage. This was a marketing strategy with the goal of not only rewarding customers but also, promoting customer loyalty. They tracked the number of miles traveled by all their members and came up with a system of “a mile earned for a mile traveled.” They included Hyatt hotel accommodations as well as Hertz rental cars, and surely enough, the incentive program became a major hit, immediately pushing their competitors to come up with similar systems.

The same year, United Airlines introduced Mileage Plus, which upped the ante from American Airlines by introducing an enrollment bonus of 5,000 miles. Months later, Delta Airlines also launched the Frequent Flyer program, later renaming it SkyMiles in 1995. More and more airlines adopted the reward system, changing the world of travel forever. The program in American Airlines started with only 283,000 members in 1981. Today, it has over 46 million members. Without a doubt, the F.F.P. is one of the most successful incentive programs in any industry.

Frequent Flyer Day timeline

1950s
The Frequent Flyer Origin

Airlines all over the U.S. create the system of tracking every traveler’s activity, inspiring the concept of F.F.P.

1979
The First F.F.P. Incentive Program

Texas International Airlines creates the first mileage-based incentive program for loyal customers.

1981
The Launch of AAdvantage

American Airlines introduces their F.F.P. called AAdvantage.

1981
United Airlines Launch MileagePlus

A week after American Airlines’ AAdvantage launch, United Airlines introduces MileagePlus.

2006
The Peak of F.F.P.

Airlines all over the U.S. boast a collective of 120 million members and 10 trillion miles.

Frequent Flyer Day FAQs

Can you transfer Frequent Flyer Program points?

You can’t transfer F.F.P. points from one airline to another.

Do frequent flyer miles expire?

Yes, F.F.P. miles expire when they’re unused for a while.

How many miles do I need to get a free flight from United?

You will need at least 10,000 miles to get a free flight from United Airlines.

Frequent Flyer Day Activities

  1. Treat yourself to the perks

    Depending on the points you’ve accumulated, you’re entitled to several perks and benefits as a frequent flyer. Today’s the day to redeem those points and treat yourself to the mileage you’ve earned.

  2. Travel more often

    Most frequent flyers have a mileage goal to reach. There’s no better way to spend Frequent Flyer Day than adding more points to your mileage until you reach the number you’re aiming for. So take that trip you’ve been postponing today!

  3. Upgrade your seat

    If you usually travel via economy, then it’s time for you to experience first class. Frequent Flyer Day is that time of the year to spoil yourself with rewards. Enjoy a business class trip to your destination complete with first-class service, drinks, and plenty of legroom.

5 Fascinating Facts About Frequent Flying

  1. The average traveler activity

    A frequent flyer member earns an average of 11,364 miles annually.

  2. The annual growth of loyalty programs

    Loyalty programs grow up to 11% per annum.

  3. The largest F.F.P. program

    As one of the airlines to pioneer the F.F.P. program, American Airlines's AAdvantage is the largest F.F.P. membership program in the world.

  4. Not all members are active

    Only 27 to 28% of all F.F.P. members are active frequent flyers.

  5. Credit cards do the trick

    Using credit cards is the best way to earn points without flying.

Why We Love Frequent Flyer Day

  1. We love the perks

    It’s always rewarding to get what you earned. Redeeming the perks and benefits is one of the most exciting parts of being an F.F.P. member.

  2. First-class travel

    For every F.F.P. member, the goal is to get a first-class upgrade. There’s nothing better than traveling on the fancy side of the plane complete with world-class amenities and V.I.P. treatment.

  3. It’s an exclusive club

    One of the bragging rights one can have is the exclusivity of an F.F.P. membership. It’s a small community of travelers with mileage points.

Frequent Flyer Day dates

YearDateDay
2022May 1Sunday
2023May 1Monday
2024May 1Wednesday
2025May 1Thursday
2026May 1Friday
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