You Can Now Earn Frequent Flyer Miles For Your Pets
In the sky, pets are slowly earning the same benefits as people, as a new program aims to let customers with jet-setting animals earn frequent flyer miles. Korean Air introduced the loyalty program SkyPets, which lets pets rack up airline rewards that traditionally credit their human owners. If you're a dog, cat, bird, guinea pig or any other domesticated animal that fits in a bag, air travel has never been more economically rewarding.
Under the points-based system of the plan, customers can register up to five pets with the airline. For each domestic flight within Korea, a pet earns a "stamp" that they can later redeem. For international flights -- which includes routes to and from the US -- critters earn two stamps. Cumulatively, 12 stamps waive all of the pet fees for domestic travel while 24 stamps do the same for international flights. If it isn't apparent already, the plan only works if you take your pet basically everywhere.
Loyalty programs are obviously a way to curry favor with human customers, although this program is the first that promises rewards specifically for animals. As the LA Times points out, Jet Blue and Virgin offer rewards for flying with pets, although the points don't subsidize pet travel, and instead allow humans to fly on the cheap. Go figure.
Nonetheless, travelers in Asia clearly prioritize their gadabout pets, but not quite as much as some exotic bird enthusiasts in the middle east. In the United Arab Emirates, for example, falcons can earn special passports, allowing them to board planes with their own seats, and sometimes, they do so en masse.