Airlines Are Rewriting the Rules on Frequent-Flier Programs—Again
The Wall Street Journal reports that frequent-flier programs really need a new name: Welcome to the era of the frequent-spender program. Carriers increasingly reward spending over actual flying, and American Airlines is about to push this trend farther than any big carrier. The pandemic has accelerated the transition as many formerly frequent travelers have been earning more miles and points on the ground through credit cards.

“The pandemic gave us the opportunity to really re-evaluate how we define loyalty,” says Heather Samp, managing director of AAdvantage member engagement at American. The airline will make it possible to earn elite status without taking a single flight starting in March. Credit-card miles will count more toward status than ever before.
 
Alitalia Launches Auction for its Loyalty Program
Alitalia on Wednesday launched the sale of its Millemiglia loyalty programme, in another step to dispose its assets before being wound down. The troubled Italian carrier, which last month was replaced by state-owned ITA Airways, said groups interested in entering the data room for the auction needed to express interest by Dec. 10.

Binding bids for the Millemiglia programme, which has a base price of 50.6 million euros ($57.22 million), are due by Dec. 13, Alitalia said. Under the deal with the EU Commission over the creation of a new carrier, ITA Airways is not allowed to take part in the auction, but can clinch a partnership with the buyer of Millemiglia in a second phase. The programme has 6.2 million members and survived the end of Alitalia's operations last month as customers can continue to earn miles by using the services of Alitalia's commercial partners or by travelling with Air France (AIRF.PA), KLM and Middle East Airlines. They can spend points through the lastminute.com portal.
 
Canadian Bedding Retail Chain QE Home First to Launch Carbon Neutrality Program
QE Home has launched a partnership with sustainability platform Green Story to offset the carbon footprint of their products. The first national retail chain in Canada to adopt such a program, the company's carbon neutralizing efforts will begin online with core products offered at www.QEHomeLinens.com, enabling consumers to make decisions based on the full environmental impact of their purchase and providing them the ability to offset emissions by funding a diverse portfolio of environmental projects worldwide.

On each of QE Home's core product web pages, Green Story combines sustainability analyses with data-driven metrics to trace, measure, and communicate the environmental impact of a product via an interactive widget. Customers can click the widget for a quote of the total carbon cost of a product—verified by third-party auditors—along with offset credit information provided by Green Story's carbon offsetting solution Simplizero Ecommerce. These credits are applied on behalf of the customer to fund three handpicked reforestation, renewable energy, and community projects worldwide, each aligned with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Customers receive a carbon neutral certificate verifying their contribution to each environmental project.
 
Penn National Gaming Launches STEM Scholarship Program
Penn National Gaming announced that it has launched a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (“STEM”) Scholarship Program in partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (“HBCUs”) in states where it operates. Through this initiative, Penn National will dedicate more than $4 million over five years to fund STEM scholarships and internship opportunities at the Company. The initial participating HBCUs include Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland, and Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio.

“Last year, we formed the Penn Diversity Committee to help put our Company’s longstanding support of diversity and inclusion into action,” said Jay Snowden, President and CEO of Penn National. “The Committee, which reports directly to me, includes a broad range of team members from underrepresented communities and at varying levels in our organization. Their guidance led to the Company launching a $1 million annual Diversity Scholarship Program for children of Penn National team members in furtherance of the Company’s commitment to equity in post-secondary education opportunities. This year 58 scholarships were awarded to eligible candidates, 57% of whom are first-generation students.

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