Allegiant is one of American’s most consistently profitable airlines, though lately they’ve been running into some issues, especially when it comes to their reputation for safety.
Allegiant certainly isn’t targeting frequent business travelers, given that their route network is primarily between smaller point-to-point markets, rather than operating major hubs, like other US carriers.
One thing that makes Allegiant unique is that up until now they haven’t had a points program, making them the only “major” US airline not to have one. Even Spirit Airlines has a points program, even if it’s a bit of a joke (points expire after just three months of inactivity).
Well, that’s finally changing. Allegiant Air is introducing a points program, though only for those with their new co-branded credit card, being issued by Bank of America.
You can now apply for the Allegiant World Mastercard. However, you really shouldn’t. 😉
This is essentially a not-very-rewarding and extremely restrictive cashback card.
The basic details of this $59 annual fee card are as follows:
- Earn 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days
- Earn triple points on Allegiant purchases, double points on dining purchases, and one point per dollar on everything else
- Receive priority boarding and a complimentary alcoholic beverage on every Allegiant flight
- Receive buy one get one free airfare but only when you purchase a vacation package from Allegiant with four or more hotel nights or seven or more rental car days on the same itinerary
They market this card by saying “Finally, a credit card that helps you stretch your vacation budget.” I’m not sure what planet they’re from, but the concept of that is hardly novel — there are plenty of credit cards that are designed to do exactly that
In the case of Allegiant, each point can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of an Allegiant purchase, whether it’s a flight or a vacation package.
So this is basically the equivalent of a 1% cashback card for everyday purchases, except you can only spend those points on Allegiant. Furthermore, the card has a $59 annual fee.
Anyone who might consider getting this card should instead consider applying for the no annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers 1% cash back on every purchase, and then an additional 1% cash back when you pay for those purchases (in the form of ThankYou points). That’s a significantly better return, not to mention the card has no annual fee.
Of course not everyone is a rational or fully informed consumer, or else a vast majority of people would use this credit card to maximize their return on everyday spend.
Who is Allegiant targeting with this card? They have a very specific target customer, per Skift:
With the card, Allegiant expects to the same people who buy the bulk of the airline’s tickers — the female head-of-householders. The airline says its core customer is Christie, 48, a married former school teacher with two kids living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Her husband is co-owner of the local insurance company. “Christie has always been in charge of booking vacations for the family and hates wasting time and money,” Allegiant says in internal documents.
You can also expect them to hawk this credit card on all Allegiant flights, similar to what other airlines do:
But Allegiant expects to have something other airlines do not — motivated flight attendants. On every flight, they will make announcements and give out paper applications. They will ask passengers to fill them out and will collect them before landing. The on-plane collection is important, Davis said, because the airline fears customers will forget to mail them in.
Allegiant Air’s approach to a loyalty program is something I haven’t seen with any other airline before. They’re introducing a program, but only for credit card rewards, and not for those actually flying. The card offers stingy rewards and has an annual fee, which just seems like a very bad combo. I think they’re missing the mark on this, but who knows, maybe Allegiant has more brand loyal consumers than I expect.