It may seem strange that I dislike airline reward program yet like hotel reward programs but they are set up differently. My first problem with airline reward programs are that the points expire. Many programs have extended the expiration date (it used to be a year, normally), to 18-24 months and also wave the expiration on the points if you fly within that 18-24 period or buy more points but honestly it still seems like a pain.
My second issue with them is I cannot find a credit card without an annual fee that links up with a airline. I can get cash back without an annual fee but no airline card? That just seems weird to me. Does it seem weird to anyone else?
Also, and this just may be me, I fly mostly southwest and Jet Blue, neither of which have business or first class accommodations and one of the reasons for belonging to a reward program is the bump ups, either in class or in room type.
Some people like the airline reward programs for access into lounges but I do not fly enough to care about a lounge nor do I see lounges being a great perk. Maybe if they included free internet I would be interested. But I still do not think it is enough to make me pay an annual fee unless I was flying at least once a month and maybe not even then. Off the top of my head I can think of two ways to get internet anywhere, not just in airport, either through a data plan on my phone or an internet card. That would give me what I want (internet) without an annual fee.
At the end of the day, I just don't see the benefit of an airline reward program unless you fly monthly and most students do not. Even my fiance who flies at least twice a year, normally three times a year cannot get any benefit from a reward program. Maybe when we are older I'll change my mind.