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Introducing Loyalty Programmes

Profile image of post author Mark Howarth
Mark Howarth · October 2021

In the travel industry where differentiation is key and the customer is king, travel sellers need to think about what elements of their business can be a big driver for customer retention. There's no shortage of places to purchase flights - from airlines' own websites to meta-search engines like Skyscanner. Finding ways to motivate your customers to return to your website time and time again to purchase flights is more important than ever before. This is why we're launching Loyalty Programmes today on Duffel. We're making it simple to offer those loyalty programme perks and benefits to your customers through our API.

The growth of omni-channel loyalty

There are 123 airline loyalty programmes in the world with most major airlines invested heavily in these revenue-generating schemes. For example, International Airlines Group (IAG) secured a mid-pandemic deal with American Express which created £750m of free cash flow. United recorded $5.3 billion in revenue related to loyalty in 2019, along with its associate partners, which amounted to 10% of total revenue. In the last half of 2020 alone, Qantas generated US$355 million in loyalty-related revenue with close to half the Australian population being Qantas Frequent Flyer members.

Loyalty growth has been predominant in the US market, and airlines have found them particularly profitable where fees on credit card transactions are not capped like they are in Europe, giving card issuers more money — and more incentive — to pay up for miles.

Lots of advancements have been made in the loyalty space for airlines, but those advancements came with time as technology systems have had to adapt. For example, giving specific discounts on flights when you were a member of an airline's loyalty programme is new. Qantas was one of the first airlines to incorporate this into their offering - which was made possible by the introduction of New Distribution Capability (NDC).

With richer, more bespoke content available on NDC, airlines can offer loyalty programme perks that go beyond free flights or discounted business class seats - they can now offer the exact benefit that their customers want when they want it. For example, our partner Evoke Travel notes that for their most frequent flyers being in a prime seat on a plane is as important as getting to the destination on time, which is a perk typically guaranteed through the Qantas Frequent Flyer. Other services offered through airline loyalty programmes that travel sellers can include are VIP lounge access, flight amenities such as extra bags, in-flight purchases, free class upgrades or a complimentary limo ride to the airport.

With the growth and addition of loyalty programmes globally and customer interest in the loyalty offerings, it is important for your travel business to be able to accept major loyalty programme details from airlines and build that seamlessly into your user flow. With Duffel, you can now do that with Loyalty Programmes. Evoke Travel has shared how 'Duffel is setting the standard' when it comes to catering to this preferred customer experience:

"We're so excited to start being able to easily include loyalty programmes for our corporate customers. We know that incorporating their preferred loyalty partner is key and Duffel is setting the standard for ensuring that we cater to their requirements."        Mat Peterson, CTO Evoke Travel

How can I use it?

Loyalty Programmes is available on 13 airlines including Qantas and American Airlines.  Now you can use this feature to:

  • Capture loyalty numbers at search or booking time to earn your customers miles and status qualification credit. No need for them to remember it at check-in.
  • Give your customer a bespoke shopping experience where they can decide on a flight by considering what they’re entitled to from airlines and see any status benefits in the search results like extra baggage allowance.
  • Often see cheaper prices. Most airlines offer free seat selection to their elite customers and some like Qantas are even introducing discounts on the base flight price.

We've made it super easy to integrate Loyalty Programmes yourself in a matter of minutes. Check out our step-by-step guide here and start collecting your customer's loyalty information today.

Sign up today to get access to Loyalty Programmes.

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