Older siblings of the School Strike For Climate generation are driving up carbon emissions, as they pay for their purchases with rewards cards to add to their air miles. If you want to help tackle the climate crisis, it’s time to cancel your frequent flier program and cut up your linked credit card.
It seems an odd time to be writing an article about frequent flier reward schemes when the world is in lockdown, airlines are going into administration, their share prices plummeting and customers’ access to some frequent flier programs are being frozen. But now may be the best time to speak to high earners about changing their flying habits because lockdown means they have more time for reflection.
HENRY (High Earners Not Rich Yet) are a primary target group for the world’s luxury brands. While they are not yet the highest spenders on luxury goods, they are seen as a priority, given their future potential. As the luxury industry is capturing as much data as possible on HENRYs, one conclusion companies have come to is sustainability is KEY to winning the younger consumer’s heart. But is this true?
HENRYs apparently prefer using credit and debit cards with rewards because they love racking up their air miles! Of all the age groups, the biggest spending HENRYs are Millennials (age 24-39). The average spend of a Millennial HENRY household is US$86K. Whilst Baby Boomers and Gen X tend to get the blame for driving up carbon emissions, people of all generations are ignoring the consequences of their excessive consumption patterns. This self-serving approach is a huge relief to the companies who want to sell you more unnecessary stuff!
Worldwide there are growing rumblings that air mile rewards systems should be axed so as not to encourage travellers to fly more than needed. The design of these schemes means that frequent fliers will take extra (unnecessary) flights to maintain their privileged flier status. Starting in Sweden but spreading worldwide, organisations such as We Stay on The Ground are encouraging travellers (both business and private) to build in Flight Free periods into the lifestyles.