Traditionally, members of an airline’s loyalty programme are issued a new frequent flyer card and luggage tags each year. These come presented in a nice envelope, but with the proliferation of smart phones, I’ve wondered before whether they’re actually needed.

I quite like to have an actual card, mainly because I have just the one. I’m not one of those hardcore people who is a member of 17 frequent flyer and 12 hotel programmes, with a gigantic fat wallet stuffed with plastic. One is enough, thank you! But anyway…

Cathay Pacific Frequent Flyer Card Charges

Members of Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo club will no longer be issued with a plastic card from May 2021. Instead, members will use the image of the card on their smartphone instead.

It will be possible to get a physical card, however these will cost US$20 or 2,000 Asia Miles each. Charging for it should mean people will not request it. In contrast, British Airways also stopped issuing cards, however you can request one to be sent out for free.

Sustainability is the new buzzword for businesses throughout the western world, especially now that Governments have set emissions targets. The airline sector has not been spared, with carriers coming up with ideas to reduce their carbon footprint.

Airlines like Qantas have gone one step further than just frequent flyer cards. Within Australia, they issue permanent RFID baggage tags to their frequent flyers. These you attach to your luggage and you never have to use a paper bag tag ever again.

Overall Thoughts

Cathay Pacific is aiming to reduce their single use plastic consumption by 50% next year, and this will certainly help achieve that goal. At the same time, it also has a cost saving for the airline, which is very needed right now.

It looks like the trend is going to be to remove physical cards all round. I’d say most people are not going to worry too much about that. All that needs to be done next is to transition the entire world to RFID baggage tags and that will be sorted too.

What do you think of Cathay Pacific’s move to charge frequent flyers for the physical membership card? Have others or do you think others will follow suit? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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