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Travelers worry about data breach from loyalty programs, survey finds

Following news that hackers stole credit-card information from Target and Home Depot shoppers, it should be no surprise that frequent travelers worry that airlines and hotels may not be doing enough to secure their personal information.

Only 33% of frequent travelers believe their loyalty rewards information — credit-card numbers, reward account data and travel itinerary — is secure with airlines and hotels, according to a survey of more than 1,000 frequent travelers.

The survey comes at a time when airlines and hotels are pushing hard to personalize their service, such as offering travel packages based on previous bookings. But the survey found that frequent travelers are nervous about the security of that information.

A majority of the travelers surveyed (76%) said they worry about losing their credit-card numbers because of an online security breach and 15% fear losing loyalty points, according to the survey by Deloitte & Touche.

Charles Carrington, a partner in Deloitte’s Travel, Hospitality and Leisure practice, said loyalty reward programs need to assure their members that their data are secure.

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“Failure to do so could not only frustrate, even endanger, travelers, but also cause serious reputational damage and revenue loss,” he said.

The airline industry works hard to keep loyalty data safe, said Jean Medina, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, a trade group for the industry.

“Airlines know how important customer information is, and they have transparent privacy policies and are vigilant in protecting customer data,” she said.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.


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