Would You Trade Your Privacy for Frequent Flyer Points?

Buyer beware: your mileage may vary

August 26, 2016 9:00 am

How much do you value your location data? 

If the answer is “not very much,” a new app has an offer you might not be able to refuse: Frequent Flyer, which sucks up your location data in exchange for frequent flyer points redeemable on “your favorite airline” — as long as your favorite airline is Alaskan, United, or Hawaiian. You’ll bump up your rewards if you answer surveys or refer friends for sign-up. 

The app promises “free travel,” but that travel isn’t going to happen anytime soon: users currently max out earnings at 100 miles per month. For reference, we randomly searched for a sample economy one-way flight from LAX to Honoulu in January on Hawaiian, one of the participating airlines: 20,000 miles. For the record, that’s … 200 months. 

Frequent Flyer’s earning currency is actually points — sign up, and you’ll have 100 in your account — but it takes 5,000 “points” to earn those 100 airline miles. How to earn points? We presume they keep rolling in as long as users share their location, but that rate of exchange — Daily? For how many points? — is hard to find, either on the app’s site or its low-information introductory video: 

Even undistinguished rewards credit cards generally offer a dollar-per-mile deal, meaning that you’d likely earn more using your airline-linked credit card for a single nice dinner than you would over an entire month with this app. 

So: waste of time or something (points) for nothing (your location data)? Your mileage may literally vary. 

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