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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
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Skift Business of Loyalty Editor Grant Martin [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.