West­Jet, RBC strike loy­alty deal

Times Colonist - - Business -

West­Jet Air­lines is team­ing up with the Royal Bank to cre­ate a new loy­alty pro­gram that aims to at­tract a “very sub­stan­tial” group of “very un­happy” cus­tomers from the Aero­plan pro­gram, which its ri­val Air Canada is pre­par­ing to re­place in 2020.

West­Jet and RBC said Wed­nes­day that they will launch the Am­pli loy­alty plat­form with of­fers and re­wards for cus­tomers by the end of the year.

The ven­ture is an op­por­tu­nity for the air­line to take ad­van­tage of un­cer­tainty about Air Canada’s de­ci­sion to ditch the Aimia-backed Aero­plan loy­alty pro­gram, said West­Jet chief ex­ec­u­tive Ed Sims. When the de­ci­sion was an­nounced last year, it up­set some cus­tomers who had col­lected points un­der the pro­gram for years and ques­tioned how Air Canada’s new pro­gram would work.

“There are peo­ple who know what is hap­pen­ing and don’t care and will stick with that scheme. There are those who know what is hap­pen­ing, but think it’s two years away and aren’t go­ing to do any­thing about it and the third camp are very un­happy about the un­cer­tainty that that sit­u­a­tion is cre­at­ing and are ac­tively look­ing at other schemes and al­ter­na­tives,” said Sims. “It is that third group that we be­lieve are go­ing to be highly at­tracted to our new propo­si­tion.”

In mar­ket­ing to that group, Sims said West­Jet will high­light that the air­line does not over­book flights or have black­outs when loy­alty points can’t be re­deemed.

He also said the RBC part­ner­ship will help re­mind con­sumers about the air­line more of­ten, since most peo­ple use bank­ing ser­vices more of­ten than they fly.

The Am­pli loy­alty pro­gram will op­er­ate through a mo­bile app that gives guests in­stant ac­cess to up­dates about their bal­ance, and also of­fers West­Jet and RBC quick in­sight into user habits.

The plat­form will build on RBC and West­Jet’s ex­ist­ing re­la­tion­ship, which in­cludes a West­Jet branded RBC Master­Card.

In re­cent years, RBC has in­creased its fo­cus on part­ner­ships, sign­ing deals with In­digo, Tire But­ler, Shopify and oth­ers.

CP

West­Jet wants to take ad­van­tage of former Aero­plan cus­tomers.

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