The Washington Post

BWI launches rewards program for airport visitors

Passengers line up to board their Southwest Airlines flight at Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport in Baltimore, Maryland August 29, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
FILE: Passengers line up to board their Southwest Airlines flight at BWI Thurgood Marshall  Airport in Baltimore. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

If you love earning miles, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall has a new program for you.

BWI is joining a growing number of places that are rewarding travelers with points for spending money at the airport. Buy a hot dog? A magazine? Now you can get even more credit for it.

BWI has launched the “Thanks Again” program, which will enable folks to earn additional frequent flier miles or hotel points when they park, shop or dine at the airport. BWI is the first airport in the D.C. region to offer the program.

Travelers will earn one airline point or two hotel points for every dollar they spend at the airport. Travelers register their credit or debit card at to take part in the program. It is free to join.

“We think the initiative is a great way to reward and thank our travelers for their loyalty,” Paul J. Wiedefeld, Chief Executive Officer for BWI Marshall, said in a press release announcing the launch.

BWI’s Web site also provides a QR code for customers to register for the program with a mobile device to earn 100 bonus airline miles or 200 bonus hotel points.  Customers can also earn bonus points by texting FLYBWI to 82257.

The region’s three main airports have invested millions in upgrades hoping to encourage customers to spend more time and money at their facilities. BWI recently upgraded its food offerings, adding a cocktail lounge, Sky Azure, to the airport’s rehabilitated observation lounge. Popular retailers Kiehl’s and Tumi have also opened their doors at BWI.

Not to be outdone, Reagan National Airport now boasts Ben’s Chili Bowl and Legal Seafoods among its offerings. Retailer SPANX is expected to open a store at the airport as well.

While most airports make the bulk of their money from landing fees, but a growing number of airports are looking to concessions as another source of income. Airport do not receive money from taxpayers.  Passengers however, do contribute through passenger facility charges.

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.



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