Frequent Flier Rewards We’d Actually Like

drawing of a plane towing a banner that says "you get an entire row to yourself"
What if airlines really had to try hard to impress us? And had to get creative about it?

Airline loyalty programs are pretty complicated, and, let’s be honest—you’re never sure you’re actually getting “rewarded” for your loyalty to a certain airline. Or if it’s really worth it.

But what if airlines really had to try hard to impress us? And get creative about it? Instead of “After flying X qualifying segments or X miles and spending $X,000 on flights, you will potentially earn one possible free upgrade to somewhere closer to the front of the plane, if the flight is pretty empty on that day,” it was something like, “Hey, looks like you’ve flown a ton of miles with us, so we fixed that leak in the roof of your house and got your kids a puppy,” or “Thanks for booking your last 30 flights with us, we’ve arranged for you to have an empty seat next to you for your next 10 flights”?

Here’s an altogether unrealistic, but I think pretty persuasive, suggested list of airline loyalty benefits, using a simple formula:

5,000 miles
You get upgraded to a whole can of soda all to yourself on every flight for the next year, instead of five ounces poured into a plastic cup full of ice

10,000 miles
The wifi will work for the entire flight, every flight, for the next year

12,000 miles
You get a free beer every flight for the next year

15,000 miles
You get a comfortable seat sized for an actual human being, like they had in the 1970s (but no one is smoking on the plane like in the 70s), for the next year

20,000 miles
No one manspreads into your area + you have exclusive armrest rights for a year of flights

25,000 miles
You get to de-plane first no matter where you’re sitting, for one year

30,000 miles
You get a whole row to yourself for every flight, for one year

35,000 miles
No one cries, talks loudly, or uses their smartphone’s external speaker during your flights for the next two years

40,000 miles
No one sneezes, coughs, or farts on your flights for the next two years

45,000 miles
You receive a pizza, a whole pizza, from a pizza place not in the airport. It’s all yours. Also, the seat next to you is empty, so you can put the pizza there while you eat it. Here are some extra napkins.

50,000 miles
We answered all your emails for the rest of the month. Please enjoy a movie or a nap.

60,000 miles
You get a private bathroom on your next international flight, and—it’s clean. No one has blown it up, or flushed the toilet with the lid open, or even peed on the floor. But you can do all that stuff if you want to.

70,000 miles
A car and driver is parked on the tarmac for you, just hop out the rear exit door at the end of the flight here and go home. Your bags are already in the car.

80,000 miles
Surprise, we have re-routed your flight so instead of going to that conference for work, you’re going skiing. All your friends are there, and they have new skis for you, and it’s snowing. Also your boss is paying you to be there for four days and you got a raise.

90,000 miles
You get to sit in the cockpit for the entire flight

100,000 miles
You are bumped up to first class and all the the other first class seats are occupied by golden retriever puppies

125,000 miles
You are teleported to your destination this time

150,000 miles
None of your flights are delayed, ever, for the rest of your lifetime

175,000 miles
You will receive the ability to play any musical instrument; most people agree that you are also pretty good-looking

200,000 miles
Here’s a private plane and pilot who will take care of all your air travel needs for the next five years

250,000 miles
You can fly all by yourself, without a plane, like Superman

500,000 miles
Immortality

—Brendan

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