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Pricing and travelers' decision to use frequent flyer miles: evidence from the U.S. airline industry

Author

Listed:
  • Bar, Michael
  • Chernomaz, Kirill
  • Diego, Escobari

Abstract

Previous research on Frequent Flyer Programs (FFP) covered various topics, from analyzing the effect of international airline alliances on domestic travel demand to the effect of airport dominance and FFP on pricing. However, one important constraint in previous empirical research on FFP is the lack of a measure of these programs at a specific time-variant route and carrier level. In this chapter we use a novel way to measure the extent of FFP which allows us to analyze how these programs change from route to route, across carriers and over time. The dataset, that covers the quarters from 1993.1 to 2009.3, was constructed with data obtained from the Bureau of Transportation and Statistics and it has information on prices, proportion of frequent flyer tickets as well as various route and carrier variables. Using panel data techniques to control for unobservables along with the use of instrumental variables to control for potentially endogenous regressors, the results found are consistent with our economic model: travelers are more likely to redeem their frequent flyer miles in more expensive routes. Moreover, business travelers, who usually pay higher prices, were found to be less price sensitive than tourists when switching to buy with accumulated miles.

Suggested Citation

  • Bar, Michael & Chernomaz, Kirill & Diego, Escobari, 2010. "Pricing and travelers' decision to use frequent flyer miles: evidence from the U.S. airline industry," MPRA Paper 32201, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32201
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/32201/1/MPRA_paper_32201.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mara Lederman, 2007. "Do enhancements to loyalty programs affect demand? The impact of international frequent flyer partnerships on domestic airline demand," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(4), pages 1134-1158, December.
    2. Darin Lee & María José Luengo-Prado, 2005. "The Impact of Passenger Mix on Reported “Hub Premiums” in the U.S. Airline Industry," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 372-394, October.
    3. Borenstein, Severin & Rose, Nancy L, 1994. "Competition and Price Dispersion in the U.S. Airline Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 653-683, August.
    4. Escobari, Diego, 2009. "Systematic peak-load pricing, congestion premia and demand diverting: Empirical evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 59-61, April.
    5. Mara Lederman, 2008. "Are Frequent-Flyer Programs a Cause of the "Hub Premium"?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 35-66, March.
    6. Kristopher S. Gerardi & Adam Hale Shapiro, 2009. "Does Competition Reduce Price Dispersion? New Evidence from the Airline Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Frequent Flyer Programs; Airlines; Panel Data;

    JEL classification:

    • L93 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Air Transportation
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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