For those that travel often, air miles are a godsend. Through frequent purchases on an American Express credit card, or by flying often with the likes of British Airways, AerLingus and Iberia, individuals can rack up enough Avios points to travel Business or even First Class to any corner of the planet for ‘free’.
The brainchild of carrier giant International Airline Group, Avios began life in 1988 under the name Airmiles and has gone on to transform the way frequent flyers travel. The scheme has become increasingly popular, with more and more people adapting their purchasing habits in order to reap the extraordinary benefits of Avios points.
It perhaps then comes has no surprise that Avios should seek to expand the number of platforms through which it offers points, and, likewise, that others in the travel industry should wish to participate in this incredibly popular scheme. And so, on February 27, leading accommodation site Agoda became the latest company to team up with Avios.
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Agoda too has its own point system, PointsMAX, which allows customers to earn benefits when booking accommodation through its travel meta-search engine. The two companies thus have a natural affinity to one another, and have partnered up to allow Agoda users to earn Avios points from its PointsMAX programmes.
This new alliance indicates the growing importance of building customer loyalty in a market as fiercely competitive as travel. Timothy Hughes, Agoda.com’s VP, Business Development, told Business Destinations: “Loyalty in travel is built around a range of different elements – price, service, range, customer experience, technology and overall trustworthiness. You could sum that up as consumers wanting choice plus something special. It is also clear that points and mile earning are a big factor for consumers. To make consumers happy we wanted a way to do all of these in one. Give consumers price, something special and points.
“Thus we developed a way for consumers to pick their favourite loyalty programme and earn points – lots of points – when booking accommodation on Agoda. The partnership with Avios strengthens that offer, growing our presence in Europe and opening up opportunities for consumers to redeem with five leading European airlines including Iberia and British Airways.”
Avios also benefits from broadening the scope in which customers can earn points. Marc Guiomar, Avios Head of Markets, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, explained: “Our goal is to offer a relevant reward currency to attract more customers, new partnerships and increased ways to use Avios. Partnerships like Agoda are imperative to this strategy, enabling us to enter new markets and grow our customer base significantly, in turn helping drive long term loyalty for our partner brands.
“We are the one of the few loyalty currencies that provides truly global collection and redemption opportunities”, he told Business Destinations. “Our customers, and our partners’ customers, have access to outstanding rewards through a shared currency with some of the world’s leading airlines and travel brands, yet the opportunity to collect Avios quickly and easily via relevant and accessible collection partners, now including on worldwide hotel bookings with Agoda.”