#300: Air Asia Rewards Super App - Loyalty Insights from the World's Best Low-Cost Airline

Today’s episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty features an innovative loyalty program called airasia rewards.

AirAsia is a low-cost carrier, headquartered in Malaysia that created a compelling loyalty program and loyalty proposition for its guests and members, and then decided to expand it to multiple countries and across all aspects of everyday spend.

Listen to learn about this comprehensive award-winning lifestyle loyalty program with Wai Fong Ong, Chief Loyalty Officer for the airasia Super App!

Show Notes:

1.) Wai Fong Ong

2.) Air Asia Rewards Super App

3) Feedback Link

Audio Transcript

Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas, and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.

Capillary’s loyalty solutions offer AI-powered next generational technology. Making them a catalyst for enabling meaningful human connections across the globe. The platform is deep and wide, yet flexible enough to meet the needs of any company. Looking to take its customer loyalty to new heights, visit capillarytech.com now, to see how they can transform your loyalty future.

Hello and welcome to episode 300 of Let’s Talk Loyalty. Today I’m featuring an innovative loyalty program and super app called Air Asia Rewards. Air Asia is a low cost carrier. It’s headquartered in Malaysia and it has been voted the best low cost airline in the world for the last 12 years, So it was no surprise to hear that Air Asia is bringing that same level of excellence to its loyalty program.

Having initially focused on creating a loyalty proposition for passengers, Air Asia then decided to take its program to multiple countries across all aspects of everyday spend. Air Asia Awards is now a comprehensive lifestyle program. It spans four countries and includes the ability to book and redeem, of course, flights and hotels, but also plenty of everyday services like food deliveries and taxis, and many more.

Joining me today to share this story is Wai Fong Ong, Chief Loyalty Officer for the AirAsia Super App. I hope you enjoy her insights.

Paula: So Wai Fong, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty.

Wai Fong Ong: My pleasure. Thanks, Paula for inviting.

Paula: I’m super pleased to have you here. It’s particularly exciting to have anyone with the title of Chief Loyalty Officer. There definitely isn’t enough people in the world, in my view, of course, with the, a chief in their title. So definitely exciting to hear how you got to, to be the chief loyalty officer.

So before we get into the wonderful work you’re doing with Air Asia Rewards, will you start by telling us, of course, Wai Fong your favorite loyalty program, or I think you have two. So do tell the audience exactly what you admire in our industry.

Wai Fong Ong: There are many loyalty programs that we like and, uh, I can learn from one of the involve being a pioneer in the retail loyalty program history was the Tesco loyalty clubcard yes. Um, that clubcard was really, uh, one of the pioneer into the retail history, at least in Malaysia. Yeah. Uh, I remember back then, uh, before the big data and also the machine learnings that’s coming into place, uh, the idea of having the, personalization of the, uh, vouchers basis on the, uh, members.

Yeah, clubcard loyalty members, uh, transactional behavior has already happened. Uh, a lot of, uh, communications just to cater into the personalization onto the club card loyalty members. Yeah. Uh, to make them incentivize, uh, their, their behavior and, uh, give them, uh, better loyalty to come back, to drive back a foot fall over to the retail program.

Wonderful. Yeah. But fast forward today, uh, I think there’s another one that coming into, uh, uh, flash into my mind, uh, is really on a Starbucks loyalty program. Yeah. Uh, it’s really something that, uh, giving a lot of good, uh, discounting over to the, uh, uh, coffee levels, uh, simple. And, uh, of course the, they keep innovating the offering.

Yeah. Uh, particularly that we listen and understand about this, uh, Starbucks ODC program that, uh, will be venturing into the Web 3.0. It’s interesting to, to learn from and, uh, actually looking forward for their launch.

Paula: Yes, yes, for sure, Wai Fong, I think we’ve all kind of been, um, I suppose, delighted that Starbucks has taken an initiative in the, the whole Web 3.0 space.

We’ve done a couple of episodes about that so far on Let’s Talk Loyalty, of course, but no doubt there’ll be plenty more coming and hopefully you guys will be experimenting in this space. I’m sure it’s top secret for now, but, I do think if a brand like Starbucks is, you know, I suppose normalizing these type of concepts, I guess what they do is they educate the consumers for all of us, um, and make it more acceptable, more accessible as well.

So, um, a great example and on the Tesco club card as well, what I like is, you know, I certainly would associate it with, being a UK proposition. So to hear that it was equally successful in Malaysia, um, is really exciting. So wonderful to hear that you’re inspired by these global brands, as I guess we, we all are.

So with all of that said, uh, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re here to talk about Air Asia Rewards. Um, you are the Chief Loyalty Officer. The key thing I suppose that’s really inspiring to me is the fact that you started as an airline loyalty program and then transitioned into an extraordinary super app across four different countries.

So I’d love you maybe just to explain, I suppose, the original loyalty program, Wai Fong and exactly, you know, how that was operating for Air Asia, because I think even that in itself is an unusual story. And then we can talk about the Super app and, and how it’s evolving.

Wai Fong Ong: Yeah, probably. I will just start off with giving a little bit of the background of Air Asia.

I understand that Paula, this is a, a global audience. Yeah. Uh, we are pretty strong in terms of the, of course we say that, hey, Air Asia is really strong for ASEAN. Uh, and, and obviously. Uh, uh, Tony make it to the worst stage, uh, of Air Asia story, which is something very inspiring. Yeah. Uh, that is an industry legend in a, in a way, uh, two decades, more than two decades ago.

The two co-founders, Tony and uh, Datuk Din has, started with a, a airline with two aircraft and 200 staff. Wow. And then now, today is the largest low cost airline, airline in ASEAN. And also the fourth largest airline, uh, in Asia. Wow. With, with more than 200 aircraft and more than 21,000 staff across the, uh, the key markets that the four key markets, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and more. Yeah, Yeah, yeah. With, with that, uh, the, the, the long history. Air Asia has carried more than 700 million of the passengers over to 160 destination in the network. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, with the famous tagline, of “Now Everybody Can Fly”. And of course then that’s back on, uh, the history of Air Asia as an airline. How does it evolve?

Yeah. But the recent two, You also heard a lot more that how diversify in terms of the Air Asia business right now and Air Asia super app has shown exponential growth in the past two years. Yeah. And of course then loyalty come into the picture more than uh, uh, 10 years of the history. and, we are going to celebrate our 13 years anniversary end of this year.

Uh, and in, and last year. We actually integrated the, uh, uh, loyalty apps, uh, features into the Air Asia super app. Okay. Uh, with the objective of really giving the kind of, uh, uh, better user experience. And then, uh, we rebranded the big loyalty as a, uh, Air Asia Rewards Program, under Air Asia super app. And Air Asia super app is actually now, uh, the one stop travel and also eCommerce platform, uh, of the business for Capital A, which is the, uh, capital holding of the, uh, entire Air Asia aviations digital business and the venture business.

This super app is actually offering consumer over, more than 50 lines of products and services. Uh, as well as, not only on the app as, as well as the airasia.com website. The travel products that offering by, uh, Super App, uh, is already beyond sounding the Air Asia, uh, uh, uh, flight, uh, is a ticketless, uh, uh, one of the pioneer in terms of the tech and technology.

Yeah, it’s ticketless, uh, uh, selling platform. Uh, but today the travel product includes a strong OTA platform offering flights from more than 700 global careers and as well as more than, uh, 700,000 of what hotels worldwide. Wow. So it’s a very strong. Online travel agent platform. Okay. While we also included the eCommerce businesses, that which is a platform provide the everyday services such as white hailing, food parcel deliveries. And of course you can also find on demand learnings of Air Asia Academy, aggregator of the FinTech space on the, uh, investment product, which is Air Asia money. Wow. And Air Asia Rewards really is one of the, uh, loyalty program that cutting across, uh, all the line of businesses or offering that Air Asia Super app has to offer.

Wow. Members will be able to earn and bend their point across all the transactions on the platform, uh, uh, that, uh, Air Asia super app has to be offered.

Paula: My goodness, what an incredible, uh, product and solution. Um, I mean, it’s almost, I don’t know where to start because, you know, the online travel agency itself, that business is very mature, I would guess from an e-commerce and from a loyalty perspective, yes.

But in my experience, um, super apps are so incredibly successful in Asia, and less so of course, in other markets, but, you know, for me, the idea that I can earn and burn loyalty points across ride hailing, across, you know, all of these products and services that I’m using every day. For example, you mentioned the Air Asia Academy.

I think that’s incredible that there’s an education proposition, there’s I think health screening as well, and vaccinations and health and beauty. It’s almost like, anything I would need transactionally in my life in Asia, across how many countries is it Wai Fong this super app is working?

Wai Fong Ong: Uh, currently we look at it, uh, in fact, Super App is actually, uh, available globally.

Okay. But the key focus right now in terms of the expansion, Yeah. We started off of course on from the home ground of Malaysia. Yeah. Expanded businesses over the two years into Thailand, Indonesia, and Philippines. Wow. And, uh, of course there will be many more to come.

Paula: Oh my goodness. Yeah. So incredibly inspiring.

What kind of, um, I suppose services would you say are the most engaging, would you say, uh, Wai Fong across all of these, because there’s so much variety there. Yeah. So where are you seeing most growth? Again, I suppose travel is something we do infrequently. Yes, of course, yes. Yeah. So which ones are the most frequent?

What, what, what are your, your customers loving?

Wai Fong Ong: Both mentioning in terms of the ride hailing is actually quite a good growth in the, uh, I think it’s one of the highest growth as well. Okay. Whereby the, uh, uh, the growth has actually, we have reached more than two millions. Uh, Right. Booking over span of less than a year.

Wow. Food is also, uh, driving a lot of transaction frequency. Okay. Yeah. Uh, but even looking in terms of the travel, which is a hotel. Which is online travel bits is really, really almost, if you look at all this, almost all the, uh, across the, uh, super app yeah, over the line of businesses, that’s actually shown tremendous growth over to the past two years span.

Paula: Well, my goodness, 2 million. Just, you know, hailing rides through your super app. And just for clarity, because I do think there’s a lot more, uh, variety, um, in, you know, in Asia particularly. So that’s, you know, not just cars like we would associate, you know, for example, here in Dubai, you know, it would always be a, a car.

But I think you also have the opportunity to, to hail a ride on a bike, if I’m not mistaken. I know I did that myself in, in, uh, Indonesia. So do you have all forms of transport, um, that you, you can hail a ride or is it mainly uh, taxis?

Wai Fong Ong: Not, not just yet. It will be coming soon . Okay. For the two wheelers? Yes.

Yes. It’ll be coming soon. Yes.

Paula: Super duper. Okay. So, uh, ride hailing, super popular, the food piece, super popular. And tell us a bit about the borderless part as well. Yeah, yeah.

Wai Fong Ong: So let’s come back in terms of how, rewards. And how does the Air Asia points powering the entire ecosystem in terms of the earn and burn transaction, right?

Yeah. It says that, hey, almost every points that the, uh, Air Asia members transacted, uh, almost every transaction that the Air Asia members did on the Air Asia super app, they earn points. Okay. Uh, it’s already beyond flight. It’s one of the, uh, ASEAN largest, uh, lifestyle loyalty platform. Yeah. Uh, that we are actually proud to have.

Uh, from a frequent flyer program that we transform, uh, the Air Asia Rewards into one of the lifestyles loyalty program for Air Asia, and cover with the wide span of, uh, uh, external partners, that we have more than 300 partners coming across the rest of the, uh, vertical that we looking at financial services, travel, lifestyles.

Yeah. Uh, that we offering, right? So what make, uh, uh, Air Asia Rewards or Air Asia points so special is the borderless, uh, or the versatility of the Air Asia points. So imagine that, uh, in, in, in someone, uh, earn a point in Malaysia, okay, to, um, let’s say booking a flight. Sure. Uh, and then, uh, you can, you will be able to actually spend, uh, the point you earned into redeeming something onto a platform, let’s say a week of free meal from the points that you earn by, by, by, uh, booking a flight with us, uh, essentially, or if you’re looking at, uh, the differentiation from Malaysia that you earn all those points. Uh, when I travel over, in Thailand, uh, when I land on Thailand, uh, I can actually use my points to redeem a free ride from airport to the hotel.

Wow. So those are the, uh, versatility and also the borderers of Air Asia points that like a digital loyalty currency across the, the, the, the ecosystem. Yeah.

Paula: It’s, it’s such an extraordinary achievement, Wai Fong, I cannot imagine the complexity of, you know, making sure that the currency earn and burn internationally and across, as you said, 300 partners with such a tangible use case.

Because at the end of the day, you know, you earn so many points from a flight, but obviously you have to fly a lot or do a lot of other transacions, to redeem something of, you know, value in the travel space, but to be able to redeem so effortlessly in your destination, as you said, literally to take a taxi on arrival.

It’s like the points experience, end to end closing the loop for the member. It’s almost the benefit of, I suppose, the simplicity where everything they earn is instantly available to use in a way that’s super meaningful for them.

Wai Fong Ong: Yes. So this is really something that we are proud of, that how the digital loyalty currency act as a form payment across all the offerings, uh, uh, aligning into the super app strategy that we have.

Yeah, of course, different product offering. And the points that the member earn as, as the loyalty program, they’re cutting across how the use of redeem within the, uh, ecosystem is tremendous. A lot of use cases, the members can, uh, totally and can benefit from the, uh, points that they actually earn, uh, from the transactions.

Paula: For sure. Yeah. So with such a wide and deep proposition, tell us how many members you have. I know it’s what, two years old now? The, this super app proposition Specifically.

Wai Fong Ong: Yeah. In terms of Super App, if you look at it, uh, just let me, uh, we have more than the, uh, super app downloads, right? More than 40 million of the downloads.

Yeah. And, uh, more than 51 million users on the platform, uh, from both app and the website. Of course, if you’re looking and in terms of our membership sign up, we have almost come to a close of 30 millions active users right now. It’s really, really a huge database and a lot of deep understanding that we collected throughout the years, we’ll be able to really catering into a better personalizations experience over to members or the platform users as well.

Paula: Yeah. And I know that’s your expertise, particularly Wai Fong, didn’t you, come in through to loyalty, I suppose, through the, the data, the analytical side of, of it. Would you maybe just explain a bit about your career background, because I think it’s a very useful insight. It’s obviously driving the success in terms of where Air Asia’s Rewards strategy is going.

So tell us, uh, how you got into this business?

Wai Fong Ong: Right. So I, if you’re looking at my background, like what Paula, you have mentioned, I was really an analytics or data person per se. Yeah. Uh, I venture into, uh, uh, data for many years, uh, looking into, uh, customer segmentation, uh, portfolio management, analytics and what’s not, right. And of course then, uh, uh, three years back, uh, I joined, uh, Big loyalty back then, formally known as Big loyalty before we rebranded.

Paula: Big loyalty

Air Asia. Was the name. Yeah. Yes, Yes.

Wai Fong Ong: Before we rebranded as Air Asia Rewards. Right, Okay. Uh, was leading the, uh, uh, the data science and the uh, uh, the data front, from, from engineering, data science, analytics, uh, tool. Also one interesting part, which is more on, we call, we call campaign scientists. Uh, with the, uh, CRM combination of how we using, because it’s a data and tech company. Yeah. Uh, even if you look at all this MarTech solutioning. It’s how we combine the CRM information plus all this intention, uh, uh, behavior traits that we collect from the platform.

Yeah. Uh, we hope to make more effective offering at the right time for the members. So that was predominantly how we, uh, uh, uh, my, uh, data and analytics or of course, in terms of segmentation backgrounds that help to add value. Into deep understanding about our members. Yeah. Help to cater and to drive the business together into a better product offerings.

Uh, uh, of course looking into shifting, uh, the, what you call that, some, some sort of into a more real time kind of offering at the right time for the members looking into the life cycle, uh, management, uh, all this talking about, uh, loyalty, uh, uh. Uh, uh, space. Yeah, to really think, sort of like building a CDP right now, right?

Because of the, uh, the huge data that, uh, the entire organization, uh, has collected inclusive of the, uh, partnership information that we collected through our member. Uh, we use it, uh, to, to, to give really, really best offering over to our members. Get into what they needs. Yeah. Uh, and during they really at the right time for the members.

So that is where it helps me, uh, to really value at, to be a loyalty person right now, we constantly listening to our members’ needs, need, and then we innovate the product, cater a better loyalty program. Uh, and over to, to, to really to retain to our members and shift them from the very transactional base.

And also, uh, go into, uh, offering those emotional experiential loyalty over to the members to bring that kind of long term, uh, advocacy over to the brand. Yeah. Uh, let them keep engaging and retain them, um, back onto a super app platform. Uh, Or, or to over to age of brand as a whole.

Paula: Yeah, Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, it’s, as I said, an incredible strategy.

You know, this year’s scale is breathtaking. So first of all, congratulations on creating something that really is resonating.

Wai Fong Ong: I mean, of course, Paula, I do not want to take everything into my credit. In fact, I really wanted to give a lot of credit over to the team. Yes. Or even from a pre-disaster has actually built really, a good brand.

Yeah. Or even the entire ecosystem with the kind of wide variety of line of businesses that you hear. Yeah. Uh, really, really help to form, uh, a very strong loyalty program for, for, for age.

Paula: Yeah. So how big is the team for Air Asia Rewards at this stage, Wai Fong?

Wai Fong Ong: Rewards. Now we have, uh, four Operations Office, which is actually very in line with where the Super app, uh, have, uh, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Philippines. Okay. Uh, roughly about 80 over, uh, uh, uh, head counts that we have.

Paula: Okay. Super. Yeah. And I know you mentioned to me last time we spoke Wai Fong, that uh, this piece around emotional and experiential. So a very clear direction. Um, I suppose as a lifestyle program that’s extremely important.

And I’d love to understand a bit about what that means for Air Asia Rewards, uh, particularly I suppose on the engagement side where, I know you mentioned you have a gamification strategy. Yes. And that seems to be something that’s working very effectively for us. So will you tell us a bit about the gamification element of your program?

Wai Fong Ong: So, uh, other than the points that we use and the ecosystem that we trying back, we have this, um, Biggie where we call it the points guru. Uh, and, and you, if you seen some of our platform or you go and search that, you probably will see our communication to our members. We have this very cute little mascot.

We name it as a Biggie. Okay? Very small insights. But very big in terms of charisma, in drawing, uh, educating the members, how they were able to earn and bend the points to give them better, saving, better, uh, uh, incentive as an loyalty program. Okay. And we actually launched this, uh, Biggie Wonderland, which is a game, uh, invaded into the app, the predominantly Biggie Wonderland started off with one small game. As a point catcher, uh, members will be, is actually with the aim or strategy to drive, engagement back into the platform. Right? From, from from monthly new active user into a daily active user. Because really it’s the lifestyle program and the super app that catering into more variety of the, uh, products, right?

Yeah. Let people keep coming back. So be. Uh, uh, other than points catcher, we have actually expanded the, uh, the, the game into another two or three right now that we have. Okay. Uh, members will be able to also shape the, uh, uh, the devices to also earn points. So all these three games, uh, really with the aim of engaging members back to the platform. Yeah. They will be able to earn their points, uh, and collect the points whereby they will be able to spend it also back into, uh, when they transact, uh, and the Super app. So all this gamification is really onto, uh, uh, driving daily engagement. Yeah. As well as Biggie, as really building that kind of emotion as a, a points guru to guide, and educating our members the usage of the points. Yeah. Uh, how does it, uh, able to to, to realize a bigger saving and earn faster. Yeah. Uh, throughout, uh, as a loyalty program. So that’s a shift from building the emotion and of course the other bits that you see, uh, as a Freedom Flyer program, uh, the, other than earning extra points, the member, with certain tier says platinum or black tier. Yeah. They also enjoy that kind of experiential or priority checkin, uh, express luggage, uh, uh, uh, check in, uh, onboarding process, uh, as a, a member. And of course then, uh, in, in, in, probably you will see in a very near future, uh, aligned with the super strategy, there will be a membership caring program coming up.

Uh, I think we can just, just dsiclose a little bit here. Wow. That, that the, the, uh, membership caring structure will be also covering, uh, the, the, uh, lifestyles or even the delivery businesses or the hotels earning. Something exciting coming up. Yeah.

Paula: Very exciting. Wow. My goodness. Well, I’ll be watching very closely to see when that’s, uh, officially published and launched, because that’s going to be, um, incredibly compelling for your members Of course.

And I’m sure it’s quite complex behind the scenes. Yeah. I heard somebody recently describing loyalty like a swan, which I thought was brilliant. You know, it looks super easy and elegant on the surface, and below the surface it’s like, you know, you’re paddling crazy. So I can see that’s exactly what’s going on for Air Asia Rewards.

So just can I clarify because I love this idea of the, um, the Biggie Wonderland. And the mascot. So how do you actually use this mascot? Because I really believe that education is something, um, that we all need to think very clearly about within our loyalty program at the end of the day, you know, even to that same analogy about the swan, there’s a lot of complexity behind the scenes.

And I think as, as program owners, it is our responsibility to help our members understand if they’re gonna engage. It, makes sense. Yeah. So how do you use the mascot? Do they have to come to the website to engage and learn, or is it something you’re sending out proactively in, in certain channel?

Wai Fong Ong: Yes. So if you look at it, uh, onto the report platform, you come to a website or even on the app, you, other than the games that they will be engaging and seeing, uh, Biggie in the Wonderland, okay? Uh, that you’ll be able to earn points, but into our communications, be it in terms of social media, be it in terms of, but EDM or app push notifications.

You will see Biggie visual there. And one of the good use case that we have been using Biggie to educate is that in our, uh, EDM, uh, when we send out something, say bid in terms of tactical or marketing, kind of communication. Yeah. We end it with a Biggie tips. Uh, and says that, hey, if it’s a conversion kind of, uh, EDM that we wanted members to convert points to try to, that you will be able to, uh, spend it across, onto, uh, super app for saving, Biggie will also tells you how would you be able to accelerate that earning? Or they will also tell you how you will be able to spend, uh, your points onto certain promotion onto which transaction that gain you a better offering and saving. Okay. So those are the things that, one of the good use case that we have been using Biggie.

Yeah. You can see Biggie really act like a points guru. Oh. Uh, to, to really optimize all the points that you earn. Yeah. Uh, to turn it into a good saving, uh, for the members will be able to, to able to use. Yeah. And how to even use the platform. Uh, by, by uh, I mean in terms of the onboarding processes of frictions free, when you really want to spend your points onto a platform that is really a Biggie role, uh, cutting across the proactive, uh, uh, communication we send to our members.

Yeah. Uh, even as good as one of the UK that when uh, we send out point expiry EDM to the members to remind them. Do not let their points go expire. Yeah. Biggie will also come, come in and tell them how to use it and, and spend it on the platform. So those are really Yeah. A points guru kind of things that are Biggie to, to, to, to be inspired. To be, Yeah.

Paula: Yeah. I love that. Yeah. Giving the program, I guess a personality and you know, with all of that integrity around, you know, we really want you to, to use the program. We really want you to benefit from the program. So it’s like that helping hand with the friendly character. And it sounds like it’s very carefully segmented as well, Wai Fong, you know, because if it’s obviously triggered by onboarding, for example. And I’ve often wondered, you know, again, thankfully I’ve never been, um, you know, in this, uh, analytical responsibility cuz it’s not my skill set. But for example, is it possible for you at this stage or in the future to, you know, send out, for example, segmented communications using Biggie, for example, to say, Okay, Paula, you’ve got now 80,000 Air Asia Reward points. That’s enough for your favorite redemption flight. You know, because obviously you’ve got my history to know that I would’ve redeemed perhaps on a specific sector in the past. Have you got to that level of sophistication or,

Wai Fong Ong: I think Paula is a good one that actually reminded. In fact, it’s already up to that level in terms of content catering. Yeah. Uh, a lot of background that the team is using the data and modeling. Yeah. Uh, to craft the segmentation into a different personification. Yeah. If you look at the, uh, uh, the offering of Air Asia ecosystem to have, Yeah. Uh, Is actually giving a really good opportunity or a lot of things that, uh, we can actually, uh, craft out all of the data that we collected.

Yeah. So there are very details or even one to one hyper personalization that, uh, the team has been done. Since, for example, one of the use case that you mentioned will be based on the points balance, of course, in terms of the marketing and the brand team. How does it actually translating, uh, 80,000 points equivalent to how much worth?

See, for example, 80,000 points be educating the member. And since that, hey, you can earn a flight from here over to Bangkok. And then with three days things from a hotel and so on, right? Yeah. And of course if you only have 5,000, if you spend it into some of the super member that we are actually running, Yeah.

The 5,000 points can buy you, uh, maybe one day full meal, right, from breakfast, totally noon to to, to dinner. Yeah. So those are the things that we trying to relate. Use Biggie and cater the content. Yeah. Uh, combining with the, uh, persona or segmentation that we understand from our member. Yeah. Uh, to really give, more resonate, uh, uh, story over to our members to really know how much is the points worth and how would you be able to spend it according to your lifestyles or your, your persona. Yeah, if you frequent traveler, then we will come you more about how you use a points onto earning a holiday. Yeah. If you’re someone that really on a lifestyle basis, then we’ll tell you that, hey, you can buy a free McDonald meals or a ride over to somewhere.

Yeah. Or even if you’re someone that really love academy, uh, by, by earning this point from, from a flight, you will be able to earn one month on demand learning onto our platform. So, So these are really done, by, by, by the data team and also the campaign cater to it. Incredible. Even some, you would take it to another level where I spoke about in terms of the, uh, online behavior that is on the transactional, uh, data, right? Yeah. So if you combine the transactional data to the online behavior, where, Paula, now browsing the, the super app, uh, looking into, uh, let’s say a destination fine to Langkawi in Malaysia, right? One of the beautiful island that you should pay to visit. I must. So, yeah. Then after that, that, hey, you drop off.

So all this combination of information where I noticed that Paula used to a frequent flyer, Paula was uh, uh, uh, uh, the last uh, uh, traveling history with us was six months ago. Now that Paula is actually browsing on a destination to Langkawi, uh, then that’s where we cater with all this personal lines, communication over to the members and tell her, Hey, Paula, you have 80,000 points.

You will be, we saw you looking for destination over to Langkawi, you would be able to redeem, a flight, redeem three nights, days of hotel, plus even you will be able to book right from home to, to, to, airport to take your flight over. So all these things has been really looked into and, and, and send out a communication, yeah, personalization over to, to Paula. Yeah.

Paula: Incredible. Incredible. And I mean, it’s so personalized and so relevant and I do think that that’s something we all talk about. We all aspire to, we all work on so hard. But it’s extremely difficult to deliver it at that level of detail. And I also think there is an important principle, which probably, you know, is very different in different countries, but you know, the whole idea about privacy, um, can be a concern.

Um, certainly back in, in Ireland where I’m from. Do you ever have to worry about, you know, your members feeling, that it’s too much information that you know, because I do think we all know that our, our browsing behavior is, you know, we can see the results of it, you know, coming up in different places. And I would love that experience of being told that now I can come to Langkawi, for my holidays cuz it’s definitely on my wishlist. But how, how do you sense, check if there’s ever any concern about it being too much for your members.

Wai Fong Ong: Yeah. So this boiled back into some of the contact policy that we say exactly that, Hey, if I, you overdo it, that you keep constantly, uh, sending communication to me.

Yeah. And you ended up even your personalization, how personalized you do. Yes. The member would be really, Get into this kind of, uh, GY that been keep targeting. So there are certain, uh, criteria they look into. Uh, by not overboarder, uh, to the members. Uh, getting too much of the targeting or communications.

uh, other than doing this kind of, I mean more on the marketing targeting and what’s not, right. But in fact, uh, that’s where we spoke about this, uh, uh, emotional bits that, uh, we communicating the benefits of being a member. Yeah. Instead of, uh, keep coming back to just push through, uh, in terms of all this communication, but of course shouldn’t be.

There are certain contact policy that we should not be, uh, over targeting, uh, communicating too much to a member in a short period of time. Yeah. So those are the things that have to take into consideration. Yeah. Uh, uh, uh, even put myself as a member or a user point of view. Yeah. Uh, which is rightfully pointed out.

Some, some, sometimes, uh, unless that, I think getting from a data person right today in a, a, a smart technology kind of era, uh, sometimes that, uh, I would also think that, hey, would I, uh, over providing access to all, all these devices or, or that we actually been using. Yeah. So that it’s not that put ourself into a user or even a member’s shoes.

Yeah. Um, we also need to be, strike a balance, in terms of all this communication.

Paula: Of course, of course. And I was thinking back to, I suppose, my own experience in career as well. Wai Fong where. , you know, I, I do love the fact that now that you are an independent proposition, I guess you can control the communications on a, on a much clearer basis.

Because previously, you know, for example, if you’re sitting within, for example, a frequent flyer program, and I don’t know if that was the case with Air Asia. But for me, working with o2, we had to compete for communications capacity with the, the phone network. So everything was controlled under one central policy.

So, you know, if there was a lot of messaging going out about, you know, the network or various propositions, it meant we couldn’t send loyalty communications, which I always felt was something that the member did want from us. So, I think you are in a, a wonderful position now where, they understand very clearly that this is a separate proposition.

Sounds like you’ve got a lot of control and yeah, a lot of thinking and analytics in place. If somebody’s starting to resist, you can turn it off and uh, and let them have that level of control so that it’s always welcome. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Super, super. And then I did have a question as well about the gamification you told us about.

Um, and it’s quite a general one, but you know, in some ways I, I’m curious cuz I’ve never run a gamification based program. Do you find it resonates with the, um, equally with all demographics? Um, or is there a gender bias or an age bias? Because it sounds very accessible. You know, I’m definitely not a gamer, but I know, for example, if there was, you know, a shake the phone proposition, like you mentioned, that to me feels, uh, feels like fun. So yeah, definitely love those kind of ideas, but I’m not gonna go in and play World of Warcraft, you know, so, Games, come in such different ways. So it sounds like yours are targeted mass market, but just if you can share any insights in terms of how they resonate, either broadly or or with different segments.

Wai Fong Ong: Of course then, uh, if you come from a mechanics points of view, when you sense that you play a game, a simple game for just for one or two minutes, you earn points. Yeah. That is something that the loyalty programs do well, right? Yeah. Uh, most of the member will like that kind of incentive. Yeah. That you get the points, you turn it into, uh, uh, to, to certain saving that you’re able to when you use your points.

Right. So that resonate well to cater to certain group of members that really love, uh, to earn their points. Okay. Let’s not talk about even whether they like to pay the game or not. So that is more on the points attraction. Got it. Or for someone that really, uh, appealing to a loyalty program. Yeah. Uh, but your question rightfully pointing out, this is also a group of members that, hey, if you look at, uh, the, the daily engagement that keep using it and earn points. Uh, there are also certain segments that more appealing to it, obviously, Uh, uh, maybe not so much of a gender bias. Uh, In terms of the daily engagement, uh, by your earning points or play the game is to broadly, uh, to a younger, uh, uh, segment. Okay. But I wanted to quote another one since, for example, that uh, we have actually run some of the vouchers that the members able to, use the points to redeem some game vouchers where they use into those, uh, really the, the actual games like, uh, DOTA or what’s not right. But that we can see some of the gender differentiation, uh, that attracted quite a number of more on the male players. Yeah. Could redeem the points onto the game vouchers that they can buy weapons, but generally, Uh, for the earning points, the Biggie one, not so much of gender bias, but it’s still really appealing for those highly engaged daily comeback is more on the younger, uh, segment of programs.

Paula: Okay. Okay. And it sounds like it’s very effective for you. Is that fair to say?

Wai Fong Ong: Uh, Yes. Uh, and there’s also, uh, this is one of the growth tools that we actually use together with our super app counterparts to also try to drive more downloads, uh, uh, adoption. Yeah. Onto the, uh, uh, the app. Yeah. Uh, because the, the, the Biggie Wonderland game is actually really a, a mobile, uh, only happening in terms of a mobile device.

Paula: Yeah, so that lends itself then to the, the advocacy and referring to a friend. In a very tangible way, I guess a super easy way, and again, the network effect, um, particularly with such a broad proposition as your super app does have, uh, super powerful. So I can imagine the, uh, reporting being very exciting when you see the results of that coming in all of the time, huh?

Yeah. Super. So my final question then for you is just to, I suppose again, celebrate, uh, you and your team for all of the awards that I’ve been seeing you guys winning. Um, so for example, the Loyalty and Engagement Awards in Singapore, which I’m hoping to travel to next year. And then I saw last week he won a MarTech excellent award.

So tell us a bit about some of the awards that Air Asia Rewards has been winning.

Wai Fong Ong: So the Singapore ones that were, when mentioning one of it, we got the best, uh, card base program. I think it was, uh, I can’t remember, was it, So the best, was it a bronze or silver, uh, award that we gotten, best card base was really come from one of the, last year program that we’ve done onto our co-branded credit card.

Okay. Uh, the, the, the marketing and the brand team come up, or together with our commercial folks, come up with this ideation to team this credit card, uh, under one thematic, where we call it live lavi. In Malaysia. Okay. So basically it says that hey, uh, you live big, you earn big kind of concept. Oh, so that’s where ties in with our own proposition.

Yeah. Uh, using a core brand card, uh, you will really, it’s actually where you get more your points, uh, on your daily usage. Totally. Uh, you, you earn big and then you leave big with whatever proposition that you’re able to actually spend the points over to the, Air Asia ecosystem. Sure. I’m really proud of, uh, uh, that that uh, uh, campaign that we have run has tried a lot of good transaction uplift as well.

Yeah. So, yeah. And then the recent one, which is onto the, uh, multi award, obviously, uh, giving that, uh, uh, uh, the one that I explained earlier in terms of the usage onto, uh, CRM data plus the event trigger data, that is also the campaign team efforts and also the data team efforts. How do we use this kind of marketing automation tool, to drive more conversion onto the platform. Okay. Uh, and obviously, uh, we’ve seen, uh, uh, uh, some of the good uplift in terms of the engagement from the communication that we send out. Obviously it leads into a conversion, uh, uh, when we push out certain, uh, targeting messaging over to our members. Uh, they actually, um, based on the, uh, all this, uh, strategy or event figures, uh, kind of, uh, communication of messaging that we send out. We’ve seen quite a good responses from the members.

Paula: Incredible. So, plenty of opportunities for the team to celebrate, I guess, huh? Yes. Yes. . . Brilliant. So anything exciting coming up that you can share now, Um, or would you prefer that we, you know, just tease people and, and hopefully get you back on the show maybe in six months, 12 months time?

What do you think?

Wai Fong Ong: I think something worth mentioning that, uh, will also make Air Asia Rewards as one of the very differentiated loyalty program, uh, is really talking about this Air Asia Exchange Yes. Uh, platform. Right. Okay. Yeah. Uh, it’s not only in terms of a loyalty program, of course, you look at it that, members can do conversion from their credit card points into Air Asia points. Earn through the transactions on Super App, earn through spending on the co-branded card. Uh, and this exchange platform giving, uh, seamless experience or instant experience, uh, when member connect or link their accounts, since, for example, One of the bank cards account onto our platform, instantly you will be able to select how much points that you want to convert from your credit card points. Mm-hmm. over to Air Asia points and that kind of instant experience that providing over to members nice is really, really a good way to, to, to instead of, in the past that the member will be, need to fill out a form, call the banks totally waiting for three to five days for your points to, convert then when I look at a flight that I wanted to redeem and the promotion is running on is already over. Right? Yeah. So this platform create the kind of instant, like a highway for members to do points conversion, and be sticking it from one way conversion to two way.

And of course, something that I can tease upon, which is coming our way is a multi-way conversion. That idea is innovating this platform. Yeah. Providing members, uh, to gather all their small further loyalty points. Yeah. Uh, Doing conversion into this platform. Okay. Can redeem something really tangible out of all the accumulative points from all the small, small liters spread point that you collect. Yeah. Given on our wide, uh, uh, uh, partnership network onto this platform.

Paula: Wow. So am I right in understanding the Air Asia Exchange is already live and the multi-way exchange is coming soon?

Is it coming? Yes, you are right. Okay. Wow. Wow. Oh my goodness. Well, listen, we will definitely have to stay in touch. There’s so much going on. It’s incredibly inspiring and I always feel I don’t have enough insights coming from Asia, So I’m extremely grateful. I wanted to mention our mutual friend, Mark Ross Smith from Status Match.

Yeah. For connecting us because, um, it was him who said, You must meet Wai Fong. So, um, so definitely really, really exciting and as I said, I hope to, to travel over to some of the loyalty events in your part of the world. Uh, please God in 2023 so we can maybe meet in person and uh, and really talk loyalty even more.

Definitely. So yeah, so that’s everything from my sideway Wai fong. Is there anything else you wanted to mention before we wrap?

Wai Fong Ong: That’s, uh, I think basically that’s it. Uh, just a thanks for, like, I think I wanted to end this and, and say that when I venture into loyalty before, I thought that it was quite lonely in a way that is a niche, uh, uh, industry.

But, uh, of course, thanks to Mark, thanks to Paula and all the practitioner within the loyalty space, uh, is really, uh, making it, uh, enjoying. That kind of idea, exchange knowledge sharing. I can learn a lot from the rest of the loyalty program as well.

Paula: Yeah, I like to think of us as one big happy family, certainly everybody listening to this show, so Absolutely. With that said, I have to say it’s been super exciting. Wai Fong Ong, Chief Loyalty Officer of Air Asia Super App. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty.

Wai Fong Ong: Thank you.

This show is sponsored by The Wise Marketer, the world’s most popular source of loyalty marketing news, insights, and research.

The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its Loyalty Academy, which has already certified over 245 executives in 27 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals. For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com and loyaltyacademy.org.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty.

If you’d like us to send you the latest shows each week, simply sign up for the Let’s Talk Loyalty Newsletter on letstalkloyalty.com. And we’ll send our best episodes straight to your inbox, and don’t forget that you can follow Let’s Talk Loyalty on any of your favorite podcast platforms, and of course, we’d love for you to share your feedback and reviews.

Thanks again for supporting the show.