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Nine airline companies comprise a $30bn. dollar club courtesy of co-branded credit cards

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CarTrawler sponsored research explores the jumbo economics of loyalty programs at
Air Canada, Alaska, American, Delta, IAG, JetBlue, Qantas, Southwest, and United.

DUBLIN, IRELAND & SHOREWOOD, WISCONSIN – Co-branded credit cards deliver wheelbarrows of money for some airlines. The latest IdeaWorksCompany report explores how this has transformed frequent flyer programs (FFPs) and contemplates the effect upon customer loyalty. Many airlines have shifted from sole reliance on behavioral loyalty, which relies upon a customer’s expectations for service and quality. Carriers now embrace transactional loyalty which emphasizes exchange relationships where something is given and something is received. The report advises caution about over-reliance on the co-branding bounty and suggests focusing more on the overall customer experience.

Airline Loyalty Becomes a Billion Dollar Club was issued as a 16-page report. It describes how airline FFPs generate revenue in the billions and provides abundant analysis and research on the business of co-branded credit cards:

  • Delta Air Lines, with 7.5 million SkyMiles credit cards, saw payments from American Express jump by 24% to $6.8 billion for 2023.
  • IAG (British Airways and Iberia), navigated Europe’s prevalent merchant fee restrictions and achieved outstanding Avios partner revenue of £1 billion.
  • Southwest generated more than 22% of its 2023 total revenue from its Rapid Rewards program and Chase-issued credit card.
  • Qantas achieved a revenue result of $96 per Frequent Flyer Program member with help from nearly 40 credit card options available to consumers in Australia.

Aileen McCormack, Chief Commercial Officer at CarTrawler commented on the report, “In today’s aviation landscape, airlines are vying for price-conscious customers by providing greater rewards for their loyalty. The rise of ‘transactional loyalty’ – where passengers seek more incentives in exchange for their regular custom – has seen huge growth of frequent flyer programmes and co-branded credit cards, which have generated an incredible $30 billion in revenue for a selection of early adopting airlines.

“We understand that customers are seeking additional ways to spend their miles to gain value. This is why CarTrawler works with the world’s leading airlines to enhance their loyalty programmes by offering bespoke car rental earn & redeem functionality down to tier membership status and even fare class.”

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.