Earn points for being a brand ambassador

Airlines appear to have virtually no limits when it comes to identifying new ways to give out points in their loyalty programs. Early on it was other travel partners where the program synergies made sense to offer the rewards. Then it was credit cards and then retail partners. Next up on the list: Social Media outlets.

Because we have small resources and we want to manage our costs effectively we have picked social media as a new strategy to promote the brand and market the services we have. – Tero Taskila, CEO of Estonian Air

Estonian Air has teamed up with SimpliFlying to create a new marketing effort focused on Facebook and similar platforms.

People are being rewarded not just for flying the airline but really for being advocates. So whether or not you are flying Estonian Air you can be rewarded for example by sharing tips on flying or taking part in quizzes or polls on Facebook. You will earn points that are then translated into virtual rewards like badges as well as real world rewards like Amazon gift vouchers…or even free flights if you can accumulate enough points. – Shashank Nigam, CEO of SimpliFlying

The potential on this front is tremendous, particularly given the relatively low costs of creating the loyalty schemes in this manner. The cost to produce the rewards – especially the virtual ones – is nearly nil relative to the brand publicity produced. Of course, there is also the potential for abuse and for brand exhaustion should some folks become seen as shills rather than as providing honest opinion about the products, but that is something only time will bear out as a result.

In a similar vein, JAL and TripAdvisor have teamed up in Japan to provide points for JAL Mileage Bank members who create reviews on the TripAdvisor site. The program is limited only to members who live in Japan and it is limited to only 300 points per month, but it is a similar approach to building brand loyalty through social media channels.

Definitely some interesting developments on this front.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Interesting concept / program…

    Can you say conflict of interest? I mean, sometimes on FT some of the posts people make it looks like they are a little overly enthusiastic in their defense of / praise of a certain airline or hotel brand.

    What if an airline or hotel would reimburse me, a guy off the street, for making positive comments about them?

    The prospects are frightening.

    1. There are definitely some risks there, Lark. The travel industry has long struggled with the potential conflict of interest associated with compensating the reviewers and the potential interference that raises with the objectivity of the reviewer. The main difference here is that there is the potential for that to trickle down to non-professional individuals. On the plus side, most folks are more likely to trust their friends for reviews than they are to trust a third party. The down side is that a skewed or biased view like that can stress personal relationships and otherwise create troubles.

      Or it just becomes a game for folks trying to extract points/rewards from the programs at attractive rates.

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