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Air Canada (Aeroplan loyalty program) recently was named the most generous airline loyalty program, according to reward program expert Patrick Sojka, the founder of RewardsCanada.ca and FrequentFlyerBonuses.com.
Sojka regularly tracks and reports on the bonus miles and points issued by all major airlines, hotels, and credit card companies.
Reward program expert Patrick Sojka, the founder of RewardsCanada.ca and FrequentFlyerBonuses.com, participated in a Q&A with Loyalty360 to discuss why Air Canada’s has been deemed the Most Generous Airline.
This is the inaugural ranking of most generous airline loyalty programs, and it was based on tracking the bonus offers of more than 125 global airline reward programs from Aug. 1, 2013 through July 31, 2014.
Rounding out the top five most generous airlines (loyalty program) were:
Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)
Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer)
American Airlines (AAdvantage)
Air France KLM Flying Blue
Sojka participated in a Q&A with Loyalty360 to discuss why Air Canada was deemed the most generous airline.
Why do you think Air Canada is deemed the most generous airline? What services does it offer or execute on better than other airlines? Is it more of a customer engagement influence?
It is definitely a product of its customer engagement. Since Aeroplan was spun off from Air Canada, it has grown from a Frequent Flyer Program to a full-fledged coalition program. By becoming a coalition program, Aeroplan and, hence Air Canada, not only targets frequent flyers but frequent shoppers with a large contingent of earning partners and the more partners you have the more potential for releasing bonus mile offers to engage customers. This is where Air Canada and Aeroplan execute better than other airlines.
With so much happening with airline rewards programs, how does Air Canada keep its program fresh and relevant?
Air Canada’s Aeroplan program is kept fresh and relevant with the constant addition of new earning and redeeming partners, program enhancements like the introduction of a separate Elite Status program called Distinction, which helps recognize frequent mileage earners who don't have to be frequent flyers while elite Frequent Flyers continue to enjoy their benefits via Air Canada’s Altitude program, and the constant ability to earn lots of extra miles with all the bonus offer promotions they release.
Do you think the definition of customer loyalty has changed in recent years? Why are so many customers loyal to Air Canada?
I believe the definition of customer loyalty has changed. With much devaluation in the Frequent Flyer and Frequent Guest world, we are seeing a shift in how customers stay loyal. The top end members of programs will tend to continue to be loyal, but those on the mid to lower end of the spectrum are tending to be less loyal and jumping between programs to achieve the best value for their travel, credit card spending and more. So many customers are loyal to Air Canada because they do offer a decent in flight product compared to other North American airlines while having a very strong loyalty program that despite seeing some devaluations and the potential of large fuel surcharges on flights redemptions still provides a lot of value to its members.
How does Air Canada use technology in innovative ways?
This question is little bit out of my realm, but the Aeroplan iPhone app has definitely evolved to a great app to have on your phone for checking balances, looking up promotions, and having a digital version of your membership card.
How does Air Canada view Customer Experience as an organization?
I can speak to this more for Aeroplan and they really strive to make the customer experience a special one via the bonus offer promotions and primarily the new Distinction program as it offers up exclusive flights and reward options for members who achieve Distinction status.
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