And the Award for Worst Frequent Flyer Program Name Goes to…

Lucky thinks new Star Alliance member EVA Airways’ frequent flyer program has the most horrible name out there — Infinity MileageLands.

And it is, no doubt, a bit bizarre and probably the result of a bit too literal translation from Chinese. That’s something that gets brands in trouble. There are famous stories that I’ve never checked out myself because I don’t think I want to know if they’re apocryphal.

Like Frank Purdue’s “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” being translated as “It takes a virile man to make a chicken aroused.” Or “Pepsi: the Choice of a New Generation” becoming in Chinese, “Pepsi will bring your dead ancestors back to life.” An of course nothing tops the Chevy Nova in Spanish: “no va”…

But I’d like to challenge the assertion that Infinity MileageLands is the most terrible name.

Allow me to submit, for your consideration, three programs.

  • AirAsia BIG
  • Air Jamaica Seventh Heaven. I think their reward chart must offer Jessica Biel at the million mile level.
  • WestJet Rewards used to be WestJet Frequent Guest, like the Canadian airline was a hotel or something?

What’s the worst frequent flyer program name out there? There is of course the minor problem that no one actually knows how to pronounce “AAdvantage” and that Continental sort of ruined “Mileage Plus” by eliminating the space between the name’s two separate words.

I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Some I think lack creativity.

    Vueling – punto (at first I thought it was puto, but the word means the point or the dot)

    Orenair – Respect

    UTair – Status

    Xiamen – Egret card (name of a bird, but also the logo of the airline. Still, “I am an Egret Club member” just sounds odd)

    Pakistan Intl Airlines – PIA Award Plus (pain in ass?)

    Air Nambia – Reward$ (not sure why the dollar sign)

  2. The “no va” story has been carefully dissected as an urban legend at snopes.com. Sales of the car actually met expectations in Latin America, and logically so since “Nova” and “no va” neither look nor sound the same. No Spanish speaker would ever confuse the two, just as you wouldn’t confuse “carpet” with “car pet” as an English speaker. The story sure has been around a long time though, and people want to believe it.

  3. If you’re talking about least creative name, I think there’s an easy winner: Qantas Frequent Flyer.

  4. Obscure: Montenegro Airlines’ Vision Team. Which management consultant came up with that?

    Striving for mediocre: Czech CSA’s OK Plus. OK.

    It must be a German thing: Air Berlin’s topbonus. Is it an airline, or a game show?

    Random capitals: Sri Lankan’s FlySmiLes. Is that Fly Smile Less? I think Spirit already has that trademarked.

    Extra credit for candor: UTair’s Status.

    The worst: Cayman’s Sir Turtle Club. I think that beats even EVA’s Infinity MileageLands.

  5. Being Chinese I’m always pissed that major Asian companies can’t be bothered to get marketing staff who are fluent in English. Having met many top execs i know they’re frightened that they don’t speak English yet unwilling to hire staff to handle this since they don’t blend in well in the corporate culture. The truth is, bilingual Western trained Asians are perceived as harder to deal with in old fashioned Chinese hierarchies. Possibly Japanese too.

  6. I think they originally intended to use “Infinity and Beyond”, but had to change it somewhat when contacted by an attorney for Buzz Lightyear, who has a TM on that phrase. :D

  7. SAS – “EuroBonus”

    Not a terrible name, but still sounds like something an employee in the EU gets for working overtime.

  8. How about the status tiers of Korean Air’s SKYPASS club?

    Morning Calm Club Member
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