Being able to exchange miles logged traveling for free tickets is a perk that frequent airline travelers have long enjoyed. Now those who travel by trains in China may be able to do the same in the near future.
The Ministry of Railways has recently started a trial membership program on 12306.cn, the ministry's official ticketing and customer-service website, that allows certain passengers to use credits to redeem tickets. This has sparked speculation that frequent train passengers will soon be able to use their mileage for similar ticket redemption.
On Friday, the website said in a statement that a total of 2,110 passengers have become new members. They were randomly selected from passengers who participated in an online customer-satisfaction survey in May.
Members can win credits varying from 10,000 to 100,000 points, while 100 points equal 1 yuan ($0.16) when members use their credits for free tickets.
The incentive program is in line with the ministry's long-term plan to strengthen its customer service.
Hu Yadong, vice-minister of railways, said in February that the ministry will explore its own frequent passenger-service plan to meet the needs of individual passengers, which aims to cultivate customer loyalty to Chinese railways.
"The plan will provide free train tickets to passengers on a trial basis as well as other value-added services, including the VIP train station lounge, luggage porter, hotels and accommodation," Hu said on the annual national railway-transportation work conference.
So far, the ministry has launched three customer-satisfaction survey campaigns, which granted membership to 4,220 passengers who were awarded credits, the Beijing News reported on Friday.