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It’s been years since frequent flyers in the United States were treated with any value by domestic air carriers — after all, who needs loyalty when the products are so similar? In China though, that story is completely different. With a middle class quickly discovering the value of domestic and international vacations, the travel industry is booming, and brands are racing to stake their claims.
For airlines, that means finding creative ways to identify and lock in potential clients. Fliggy, Alibaba’s online marketplace, has come up with a platform to do this. This month Singapore Airlines launched a partnership with the platform to give elite users of Fliggy similar tiers of status with the airline. American Airlines, which serves multiple destinations in China from the United States, offers benefits for Fliggy users that are similar to those in its gold and platinum tiers — though users don’t get awarded the status, per se.
This isn’t to say that U.S. consumers are left completely out in the cold. Programs like Delta Crossover Rewards at one point allowed low-level elites to share status between the airline and the late Starwood Preferred Guest program. What Fliggy’s partnerships do show, however, is how eager airlines are to tap into the growing Chinese market and what they’re willing to do to capture early marketshare. Expect more strong incentives for Chinese travelers soon.
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
Skift Stories and More Expert Insight
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Why Do National Airlines Still Exist? Many politicians fear their nations will be irrelevant if they abandon their money-losing flag airlines. That’s probably a stretch. In most places, the market likely would fill the gap — provided the government got out of the way. But national pride is powerful, and few people want to see storied brands disappear.
Airbnb for Work Brings Meeting Spaces and Experiences to Business Travelers: Airbnb for Work has touted strong growth since its launch a few years ago, when it was originally known as Airbnb for Business, providing better tools for companies to manage their spending and track where their travelers are.
Why Airlines Should Be More Creative as They Weigh Fee Increases: Checked bag fees probably seem like the greatest business idea ever. A decade ago, U.S. airlines took a service that was free and turned it into a massive revenue generator worth billions of dollars annually, industrywide.
Hackers Steal Customer Credit Card Data From British Airways: British Airways is investigating the theft of data including personal and credit card details from customers who used its website and mobile app to make reservations.
No Notice: Marriott Stops Giving Elite Benefits for Online Travel Agency Reservations: When Hyatt rolled out its new World of Hyatt program last year, it eliminated elite benefits on stays booked through online travel agencies. That left Marriott as the last chain that still did so.
Skift Business of Loyalty Editor Grant Martin [email@example.com] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.