Frequent fliers in the Inland Northwest can now bump up their airline mileage accounts by joining Spokane International Airport’s new customer rewards program.
Airport officials last week announced that enrolled participants will receive air miles for money they spend on parking and retail purchases at the airport.
In addition, the rewards will apply to dining and lodging at the Ramada Spokane Airport and Wingate by Wyndham hotels.
Other restaurants and businesses outside the airport could be added to the program, officials said.
The new rewards program follows a series of changes intended to improve what airport officials call the “customer experience.”
In the past two years, the airport has started providing free time on its Wi-Fi, eliminated charges for baggage carts, added a cellphone waiting lot for passenger pickups and created a mobile website. The airport staff also has placed rocking chairs throughout the terminal.
“We’ve been focused on improving the customer experience here,” said Larry Krauter, airport director and CEO.
Participating airlines are Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, United and U.S. Airways, with Southwest joining the program this October.
Frequent fliers who use an airline bank card can now earn double miles if they sign up as participants using that card for purchases under the airport reward system, Krauter said.
Participants will designate their frequent flier account when they sign up.
The rewards system began in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2010 and has spread to 43 airports across the U.S., including all of the direct destinations from Spokane.
A company called Thanks Again is providing the network services under a $36,000 annual contract with the airport, Krauter said.
He said he expects the rewards program to be popular.
Denise Vickerman, general manager of the Ramada hotel at the airport, said, “We know customers are always looking for value added to their purchases.”
Marc Ellis, CEO of Thanks Again, came to Spokane last week from his headquarters in Atlanta to introduce the service.
He said participating airports and businesses have seen increases in revenue as a result of the program. He also said large companies whose employees travel a lot are being signed up for the rewards.
As part of the program, the airport will receive marketing reports on the buying and flying habits of participants. That will allow the airport as well as businesses to better hone their services and products to customer habits and needs, Ellis and Krauter said.
To sign up, go to thanksagain.com/GEG or text “FLYGEG” to 82257.
Changes to Post Street
Spokane city officials are planning an open house today from 4:30 to 6 p.m. to give members of the public a chance to learn more about major projects and plans along the Spokane River from Riverfront Park to Glover Field in Peaceful Valley.
City Council members are expecting to receive a briefing on the projects at the council’s regular 6 p.m. meeting.
The projects involve turning Post Street from Spokane Falls Boulevard to the north end of the Post Street Bridge into a one-way street northbound.
The idea is to improve pedestrian access on the Centennial Trail route heading westward into Kendall Yards. Also, new angle parking will be installed.
Post Street will close from Sept. 10 to Oct. 15 for the changes.
Also at the open house, members of the public can learn about a new city plaza adjacent to City Hall and Avista’s project to remake Huntington Park.
A new master plan for Riverfront Park will be discussed along with a stormwater line and potential trail project from downtown to Glover Field.
Bruce Road closed for repaving
Repaving of Bruce Road between Stoneman and Day-Mount Spokane roads begins today and will take four weeks to finish.
County officials approved a $1.6 million contract with Spokane Rock Products Inc. for the work.
East-west traffic on Stoneman Road and Day-Mount Spokane Road will remain open. Peone Road will be open to emergency traffic only.
Originally, the county was going to replace the Deadman Creek Bridge on Stoneman this year and do the repaving next year, but moved up the paving after bid problems were encountered on the bridge project, which is now delayed until next year.
DUI emphasis underway
The annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement campaign began Friday and will continue through Sept. 2 in Spokane, Whitman, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission is providing grants to law enforcement agencies to conduct the effort to apprehend impaired drivers, including those under the influence of marijuana and other drugs.
Intoxicants were involved in half of Washington’s 439 traffic deaths last year.
Highway lane restrictions
Eastbound Interstate 90 in the vicinity of Thor and Freya streets will be reduced to two lanes of travel from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday for landscape maintenance.
Also on I-90, the westbound on-ramp at Browne Street will be closed today from 9 to 10 p.m. for work on new lighting for the freeway. In addition, the westbound off-ramp at Lincoln Street will be closed today from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Paving work has resumed on Pines Road from 32nd Avenue to Trent Avenue.
State Highway 291 on Francis Avenue and Nine Mile Road is still undergoing resurfacing work between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Work started Saturday on a new roundabout intersection at Harvard Road and Mission Avenue where the I-90 off-ramp meets Harvard. Traffic restrictions, congestion and delays are expected during construction.
Airport gets taxiway grant
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced last week that Spokane International Airport will receive a $6 million grant for a continuation of taxiway improvements through 2015.
Part of the work involves construction of new “high-speed exits” to allow jets to move off the runway and reach the terminal more quickly.