See also the article by Stay Grounded of two years ago, which goes into great depth on those and additional problems with frequent flyer programs, here: https://stay-grounded.org/frequent-flyer-programmes-incentivise-climate-destruction/

And BTW, the 2% figure misses the big climate impacts of flying. When aviation's non-co2 climate impacts are included, it is responsible for nearly 6% of annual contributions to climate imbalance (global heating): https://stay-grounded.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/SG_Factsheet_Non-CO2_2020.pdf

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Aug 20, 2023·edited Aug 20, 2023

When considering FFP people need to remember that USA/CAN programs are very different from programs for the rest of the developed world. Implementation points and rewards are handled very differently. I don't have knowledge on the North American systems so my comments are for non-NA programs.

From the very first line of their report. "driving not just ticket sales, but increased flight provision." there is very little evidence that this is true. the FFP are used to attempt you to remain with a particular set of airlines rather than to fly more. " most carbon-intensive seating options and encouraging additional flights." again there is clear evidence that people upgrade but nothing indicates that people fly more (as a general rule - there will always be outliers)

Page 6 "Publicly available research on who uses FFPs is relatively sparse. " their own words indicate why real world data is completely missing from their report. They use pretend individuals to work out values rather than read data representing real travel patterns.

Page 11 "There also appears to be a sub-group of frequent-flyers for whom travel, or flying itself, or even simply points-collection, is a serious hobby. " Here we go again more of the "appears" a cursory examination of the available literature suggest that though these people exist they are a tiny irrelevant minority which in the scale of thigs can be ~~assumed~~ ignored.

Business travel for work has died when the new normal arrived. FPP plans are becoming more limited and more restricted. I have taken to international trips the last 2 years I gained points which I have been unable to use for anything. (One way domestic trip is of no use to me). You used to be able to gateway your AirPoints into other reward programs this is no longer possible.

"I can attest to this; on my recent trip to the UK, I upgraded to a premium seat I never would have paid cash for." But you would still have taken the flight right, so most of your emissions would still have occurred.

"but in the global picture, very few people fly often, and they are almost all in the richest 1%."

So what? Why is this an issue. We are not equal we will never be equal your life is not my life is not the life of an Indian Peasant is not the life of a small African town trader. We can never be the same there will always be imbalances. Some people have advantages over others and always will have. You and I Lloyd were lucky to be born into a first world medical system. Do you claim that we should not use that system because most of the people in the world don't have a similar one?

"Getting rid of incentives to fly like Frequent Flyer Points plans might be a good place to start."

I think you would be very disappointed with the results - but why bother the programs are dying under their own weight. 5-10 years and they will be footnoted in history.

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"I used to fly a lot to press gigs and Passivhaus conferences… even though I have only flown twice in three years and don’t have plans for flying much in the future". Past mistakes - flying so much in the past when, I assume, you were already well aware of the contribution of aviation greenhouse gases to the global warming crisis. Recent mistakes - still flying recently. But that's all simply water under the bridge - we all make mistakes. Tragic - lack of commitment to avoid future mistakes - lack of commitment to lead by example in the right direction and simply stop flying going forward. Stop flying, and tenaciously encourage others to stop flying.

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• "Possible complains that 'point collectors often describe their activity as an addiction, an obsession or a game. Airlines have gamified high-carbon travel to support a business model predicated on social stratification.' " •

Are you going to go after the coupon clippers next? You know the ones I'm talking about, the obsessive ones who clip and save dozens of coupons and stalk grocers who offer double or triple rewards on coupons—leading these people to grossly overbuy items they likely have no need for and which affects conspicuous consumption within their ranks.

Setting aside the few—and I do mean, FEW—obsessive types who go after FFP's the same way certain people stalk coupon clipping, let's look at the broader picture. Why shouldn't a legitimate, legal form of travel be allowed to offer their customers a benefit/perk/reward for their loyalty? As you point out, it's not just for air travel that these rewards points are good for when redeemed—other options include discounted or free coffee drinks, hotel stays, rentals, food, you name it.

The take-away is that there's no monetary reward for failure to purchase (other than saving one's own money) but when you MUST spend money on things you need (because that's what CAPITALIST ECONOMIES DO) it's nice to save some of your hard-earned cash to offset the costs of things that you WANT to do (because that's the reward of BEING CAPITALIST.)

And don't forget, time is money.

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