Skift Take

Who can market itself as the most digital airline alliance? Following a stream of announcements from Oneworld's 20th anniversary celebration, Star Alliance has been quick to share its own upcoming digital offerings. Any word, SkyTeam?

Series: Business of Loyalty

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Less than a month after Oneworld’s 20th anniversary and brand update, Star Alliance, its chief competitor, is talking up its own upcoming digital innovation.

The Star Alliance is the second largest airline partnership in the world and is anchored by carriers such as United, Thai, Scandinavian, Lufthansa, and Air Canada.

The crux of Star’s upcoming digital plans centers on a better loyalty proposition across all 28 carriers. Right now, while it’s usually possible to book an award seat across carriers, it’s still difficult to use miles across them — say to use United miles to buy a bottle of duty-free whiskey or upgrade a seat on Thai. Coming up, Star plans to make transactions like that easier through well-designed digital tools.

The alliance also has plans to digitize and unify aspects of customer service, airport experience, and loyalty, though the latter field shows the most promise, according to Star’s CEO Jeffrey Goh. And even though Star’s fully deployed digital solutions are still in the works, they show a lot of promise for the future of a unified airline passenger experience.

Skift’s Raini Hamdi has the full interview with Goh from the Aviation Festival in Asia last week.

— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor

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Kenya Considers a Full Takeover of Its National Airline: Kenya may consider taking full ownership of its national carrier to effectively ward off competition from other state-owned airlines on the continent and from the Gulf, according to Transport Principal Secretary Esther Koimett.

British Airways Parent Chooses Boeing’s New Widebody to Replace Aging Jets: Boeing Co. ended a two-year sales drought for its 777X aircraft, as the owner of British Airways struck a deal for as many as 42 of the planes to replace an aging fleet of 747 jumbo jets.

Air Canada Reaches Deal With Amex to Remain Partner Under New Loyalty Program: Air Canada announced on Thursday a new 10-year partnership with American Express. During its annual Investor Day presentation, Air Canada said this will lead to the release of “a suite of new consumer and business cards in 2020” simultaneous with the launch of Air Canada’s new in-house loyalty program.

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Skift Business of Loyalty Editor Grant Martin [[email protected]] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.


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Photo credit: Star Alliance is expanding its loyalty offering to compete with other airline partnerships. Jura Tone / Skift

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