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Breeze, a low-cost carrier founded in 2021, believes it can attract a steadfast customer base to its loyalty program with the release of its co-branded credit card.

Breeze Airways announced Tuesday it would launch a co-branded credit card and a re-branded loyalty program, an ambitious step for the young low-cost carrier. 

The co-branded credit card, in partnership with Barclays, will allow customers to earn 10 times the points for airfare, checked baggage, premium seating and inflight snacks and beverages. Other perks include complimentary Wi-Fi on board, and the ability to earn points on Breeze’s loyalty program through groceries and dining at restaurants. 

The credit card has an $89 annual fee and offers customers 50,000 BreezePoints when they spend $2,000 in the first 90 days of opening the account. Credit cardholders will also receive priority boarding for Breeze flights. 

Breeze’s loyalty program will be known as “Breezy Rewards” instead of “BreezePoints.”

Breeze was founded in 2021 with a business model that’s similar to that of Allegiant — it typically flies customers from areas with little to no commercial air service to popular leisure destinations. 

A Big Step for Breeze

Lukas Johnson, Breeze’s chief commercial officer, said the carrier was eager to launch a co-branded credit card as part of an effort to revamp its loyalty program.

“The biggest part of loyalty programs for airlines are the partner credit cards,” Johnson said. “I think where people are earning it every day, earning points for the trips and ultimately on the trip side, that’s one of the most valuable retention opportunities that pretty much all guests want.”

Angela Vargo, Breeze’s vice president of marketing, added that the airline was maturing in a lot of its key markets and is often the only option for many flyers in those markets. 

“For them to have a card that allows them to earn on everyday spend as well as to earn rewards for more trips to more destinations because we serve so many of these key cities is pretty unique,” Vargo said. 

And while low-cost carriers like Breeze tend to attract travelers looking to pay the lowest possible airfare rather than loyal flyers, Johnson said he believed that Breeze would be able to attract enough sign-ups for the card. 

“It’s not gonna be your typical corporate business traveler that’s gonna drive 100 trips and needs 50 countries worldwide,” Johnson said. “That’s gonna be your legacies that are gonna be tailoring their program around that. This is really for the people that are gonna be traveling with us [because] we’ve got 20 non-stops in their city compared to everybody else.”

Breeze’s Financial State and a Potential IPO?

Since Breeze is a private company, its financials aren’t publicly available, making it difficult to determine the profitability of the carrier’s business model. 

A report from industry blog Cranky Flier found that Breeze’s filings with the Department of Transportation suggested that the carrier had burned through much of its startup funding and was operating at a significant loss. However, Breeze CEO and serial airline entrepreneur David Neeleman said the carrier was on track to be profitable in 2024. 

Breeze chief financial officer Trent Porter said those DOT financials were due to overhead costs that came with scaling the carrier’s operations and that there was no financial risk in launching the credit card. Porter added that Breeze now had enough aircraft and capacity to make up for those losses.

“We’re well capitalized,” Porter said. 

Avelo — one of Breeze’s biggest competitors that also launched around the same time — has said it’s on track to be profitable in 2025. Avelo CEO Andrew Levy told CNBC that his focus was “getting to a point where the company is IPO ready.”

As for Breeze, Porter said an IPO is something that may happen in the future, perhaps in 2025 or 2026, but it wasn’t an immediate goal for the airline.

“It is on the roadmap. It is something we are working towards,” Porter said. “We’ve got to make sure that the market’s in the right position and that we are also in the right position at the right time for us to take advantage of that.”

Breeze CEO at Skift Global Forum

Breeze CEO David Neeleman speaking at Skift Global Forum in September 2023 in New York City.

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Tags: airline credit cards, Avelo, Barclays, breeze airways, Low cost carrier, loyalty, ultra low cost carriers

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