One weekend I clocked up 1m points: that was worth 14 business class tickets

In the mid-1980s, I was living in LA – working in the rock concert industry, fresh out of college. I’d find short-term jobs as a roadie, or work corporate sponsorship gigs, before being fired pretty quickly.

It was around this time that airlines were launching their loyalty schemes, desperate to secure regular custom. Before, nobody cared which airline they travelled with – it was all about getting the cheapest fare. Frequent flyer programmes radically changed things. By introducing mileage schemes that rewarded travellers with flights and hotels, airlines hoped to build loyalty.

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