#173: Education and Inspiration - Ideas for Airline Loyalty Professionals

Australia is a fascinating loyalty market led by two dominant airlines who have successfully built partner networks to make it incredibly easy for Australian consumers to earn points across all parts of their household spend.

Someone who feels passionately about the extraordinary experience of “flying flat” is Steve Hui, who has built a brand and a business advising Australian consumers how to do exactly that.

In this episode, Steve says that earning loyalty points is easy but redeeming them is not. He shares his top tips and ideas for loyalty professionals to drive points redemption – including ideas to support education, inspiration and consumer engagement.

Show Notes:

Steve Hui, CEO, I Fly Flat

Audio Transcript

Speaker 1 (0s):

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.

This episode is brought to you by Collinson, worldwide leaders in loyalty, creating and orchestrating loyalty initiatives and programs for some of the world’s biggest brands in travel retail and financial services. Doing it globally for over 30 years. Want to know more, go to collinsongroup.com.

Hello, and welcome to my final interview of 2021, which actually became a bit of a brainstorming session all about how airline loyalty programs in particular could become even more successful and popular with members.

My guest is Steve Hui, CEO of an Australian company called “IFlyFlat”, which helps people understand, find and book redemption seats as easily as possible. Steve is also known as The Points Whisperer, and as you’ll hear, he really believes that redemption flights are one of the biggest ideas available to delight customers.

So I know for sure that all of you listening, certainly agree with that one.

I hope you enjoy my fun session and all the great ideas we shared, so please enjoy my conversation with Steve Hui from I Fly Flat.

So Steve, I’m so happy to be talking to you today at Let’s Talk Loyalty.

Speaker 2 (2m 3s): Thank you very much. I’m very excited.

Speaker 1 (2m 5s): Great, great. Listen, I love and lots about what you do and the company name, I think is what first caught my attention. So I fly flat as something that I think everyone who knows you must be super jealous of. So first of all, congratulations, it’s a great name. Speaker 2 (2m 22s): Thank you very much. And it’s a nine D which I think everyone can adopt because everyone can I fly flat? Speaker 1 (2m 28s): Yes, yes, absolutely. Yeah. And even on your LinkedIn, Steve, I know you talk about, you know, working your way towards the pointy end of the plane. So again, for everyone listening in the loyalty industry, I think it’s just a lovely, simple way. And I know you predominantly talk to consumers, so it’s great to have you on the show today to represent a particularly Australian consumer interests. So with that said, let’s get straight in Steve, we’re releasing the show at the end of December. So Australia has been open just actually a, quite a short time and for travel again, but share with us the statistic about loyalty in Australia and that you just shared with me. It’s absolutely incredible. Speaker 2 (3m 12s): Yeah. So recently seven B in Qantas, frequent flyer points have been redeemed by Australians traveling domestically and overseas. So that shows how much pent up demand there was for who had points to use them and book a flight. Speaker 1 (3m 30s): Oh my goodness. Yeah. I mean, Australia is such an extraordinary market, Steve, from a loyalty perspective. And as I said to you, you know, people listening to this show are in all areas of loyalty, not just airlines, they’re also global. So they’re in the us or in the UK. But what I love is that you’re really inspiring people to particularly have premium premium experiences when it comes to travel. So ideally as we talked about flying flash, but yeah, I think the pent up demand probably hasn’t been estimated or really just publicized to the same extent. So, so can you maybe give us a sense, 7 billion Quantas points? What would that translate to maybe if we were to say, if I wanted to fly from Sydney to London, let’s say in business class, of course, which we all aspire to do? Tell me, first of all, how many Quantas points would it take me to make that return business class trip? It’s obviously a long way. Speaker 2 (4m 31s): Yeah. So 289,200 corresponds bonds get you one personal business cost return. Speaker 1 (4m 39s): Yay. Okay. And I know you’ve done the maths as well. So how many at that 7 billion points that Quantas M shared with us that have been redeemed in their first month being open? So how many people could do could have done a trip like that? Just tell us how the maths workout. Speaker 2 (4m 56s): Yeah. Yeah. I think I’ve worked at about 24,000 business class flights that worked out to be interesting. I fall how many, like Quantas planes would that take because not the whole plane has only got 42 business class seats. So what that is about 570 planes back and forth, back and forth with those people. So that gives you a great visualization of all the planes fly overhead. There’ll be in points on the way. Speaker 1 (5m 32s): Well, listen, it’s a great way to start the show. Steve, as I said, I just think it’s extraordinary. How much pent-up demand. I mean, the Australian borders were closed for how long? About 18 months I think in total. Wow. Okay. Speaker 2 (5m 47s): so for limited to coming in and no one going out, unless you had a trouble exemption that you had to apply for. Speaker 1 (5m 55s): Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So listen, you have this company we’ve talked about and you’re in the business, I suppose, of first of all, raising awareness of the extraordinary value that a lot of people are missing out on from understanding how easy it is to collect points. And whether that’s obviously with travel with em, you know, on the ground behavior. So frequent buying, for example, with them airline partners and obviously credit cards. So all of the usual ways, but I think what we’ve shared Steve, and what you do so well is to educate people on how to use those points in a way that’s the best value for them. And you have a whole team literally providing that service to help them enjoy it. So tell us, why did you start the company? How did you realize this problem? Speaker 2 (6m 46s): Yes. So my background, I’m an accountant, so I’m in finance. So I’ve actually still got my CPA and Kathy mindset. You’re always looking for ways to value. Where can you create something out of nothing and to five points or something that I just came across accidentally when I was early in my career in stop flying business class. Yes. When you did not have to pay money to fly yourself, your company will pay you this. And I started to enjoy business class, but I started in fact, freaking five points along the way. And prior to that, I had no interest cause I didn’t have any frequent flyer points, but once you start accumulating freaking five bucks, you like, what can I do with these points? And very quickly I worked out that if you could accumulate enough frequent flyer points, you could book self business cost flight for yourself, which meant that you save thousands of dollars versus buying a ticket. And that, that was the big light bulb moment for me, that frequent flyer points were really valuable. I would say worth more than money in some cases. Speaker 1 (7m 56s): Sure. Yes. And the emotional value as well, I guess. So, yes. As an accountant, obviously you’re tuned into the savings, but you know, you bought into it as well as, you know, somebody just, who loves that experience. So, so that will be used for anybody listening. We all share, I suppose, that, that beautiful understanding and put, why did you decide that, that you need to, to set up a company to actually make the bookings for, for people? Because what, what I suppose most of us listening would assume is that if people are so engaged and so inspired, surely they know how to go ahead and find the seats and book them and, and get good value. So, so where was the gap that you identified? Speaker 2 (8m 38s): Yeah. So finding frequent flyer seeks is actually the biggest pain point often tire program because earning points is quite easy. So some people might earn points by accident. So as you fly, you earn points. If he’s got a credit card that earns points, you earned points, but you might not have got that credit card on purpose. You might just got the credit card because it’s got a nice annual fee or maybe you like the color of the card. So you start earning these points by accident. So people don’t don’t, don’t go trying to discover how to use those points because mainly because those points came for free because you got them for free, you accumulate them. Then one day you like walk by these points. What should I do? And actually the moment for me, Katie was when I bumped into a friend and they had just redeemed, I think about 150,000 points for the life pad that came out and iPad was only about maybe a thousand dollars retail, which is a lot of money at the time for the same number of points. You call yourself a business class seat that sulfur four and half thousand dollars. And that’s really the time when a full wall, actually people knew how to use the points to find trouble and all the side of four and half thousand dollars seat financially is much more valuable than getting the iPad. But people talk about travel and they talk about trouble free out the years. I talked a bit to the kids about it. I talked to your friends about it, but very about the iPad. So in terms of the experience using points of travel and actually using pumps for something like pieces, cost is something that most people they may not pay for. And that’s what I found out. And that’s why I started the business of trying to help people utilize that points I’ve got and turn them to some inexperienced, which otherwise they couldn’t find themselves or they didn’t want to pay pieces class themselves, even if they had the money. Yeah. Speaker 1 (10m 39s): Yeah. I think sometimes in principle, the idea of paying whatever it is, I think I usually compare it’s about triple, you know, the price. If you’re buying cash in terms of a business class flight, it’s quite hard to justify for most of us who, you know, spent a lot of time earning that income. So yeah, it’s just easier to say, maybe I’ll just travel economy and just suck it up. But yeah, we all want to be flying flat. So that’s amazing. So, so it’s a brilliant service. I know, obviously like everyone in the travel business, you must have had a tough time yourselves over the last 18 months and what you did share with me, some, you know, I suppose ideas for loyalty professionals. So bearing in mind, of course, you know, this show is being listened to, as we’ve talked about all over the world, by people in lots of industries, but just again, representing consumers interests, what do you think loyalty professionals could do better to help? I suppose more let’s say on the burn side, because as you said, I think we’re all very clear on our partnerships and our earning mechanics, bullshit what we talk about and actually it’s come up a lot in the last few shows is, you know, burn drives, earn is actually a phrase that KLM quoted to me and they’ve done all of the analytics to say it’s only after as loyalty professionals we have given her awards that we see the earning behavior also then really grow because people trust the whole system. So what do you think we can do as loyalty professionals to help consumers? First of all, understand the value. Secondly, then have this beautiful redemption experience. Speaker 2 (12m 21s): Yeah, I think number one thing is just helping people understand the program and how authentic is the fact that they are freaking fly seats out there and it is achievable to get them. Because I guess in this day and age consumers, they, they don’t read a terms and conditions. They don’t read a manual because every single device is just turn it on and start using it. So the whole idea about trying to understand something it’s very different because at university you learn something, but once you move into the workforce and you get older, you don’t learn anything because I think what happens with frequent flyer programs and loyalty programs is that complex. And you don’t want to take the time to understand them, but you just want to use them. So taking that by the effect of pills, just want to use them because I just want to turn the apple device on. It gets working like in a way that apple doesn’t even give an owner’s manual because I know no one would read it, they just make it. So I think in a way, if people, lots of professionals want their users to be using the points, they have to make it intuitive to find these seats, which is actually what people come to the lottery program for that sometimes some people might redeem points for a Fitbit or, or some gift voucher, but that’s not really why they joined the program in terms of frequent flyer programs. I really joined a program in order to fly. And when that tried to redeem points and I can’t find a seat, then they’d been, they’d become disillusioned and think, oh yeah, this is just a promise. It’s actually a promise. That’s been broken because I’ve got points and I can’t find a seat and I’m not stupid. So therefore this system must be a scam and then indicted, withdraw from it. And they don’t reengage. Speaker 1 (14m 16s): Absolutely. And dare I say, it’s disloyalty. So if anything, we’ve probably damaged the customer relationship that we have spent so much time, money and energy, obviously trying to create. So, so definitely now and again, I mean, I’ve worked in the airline industry and that’s definitely one where I would say that’s the, the revenue management people that I’m sure all the loyalty professionals listening are pushing for more reward seats to be available. So I think in principle, that’s absolutely right. I’ve certainly seen some good announcements, for example, coming out of the UK. And again, post, I think there’s more inventory has been created, but you also gave a brilliant idea, Steve, when we talked before, which I would love you to share and, and I’m sure this is complex technically. So, you know, I suppose that the privilege we have is to be able to just give the idea and then Somebody else can figure out if it’s possible or not. But, but I did talk to a technology guy. So, and also I did say, is this actually feasible? But listen, it’s just for, for listeners to understand. So what you were suggesting, Steve was, let’s say I’m sitting here in Dubai and I reach a threshold, let’s say 90,000 points with skywards, which we all know I fly in and love to fly. So at that point, I know thankfully now that I have enough points to fly, let’s say business class, home to Dublin, but it’s only recently I’ve understood that. So I think what you were suggesting is why don’t the airline frequent flyer programs notice and proactively send out communications to members to say, did you realize you now have enough points to get home to Dublin or to get to Dublin? So I’d love you just to talk through that. I think it’s absolutely genius, Steve. Yes. Speaker 2 (16m 8s): Thank you. It all links comes down to making points usage, like the convenience for people. So people are earning points subconsciously or consciously because I just living life in flying and spending money and earning these points. So what they don’t know is what, what doors do when you reach certain teas or points? Did I open up? Because I’m like, I’m not me that study the program that are trying to find a golden nuggets. So if you want something to engaged and the magic is helping them understand that, I think it’s both taking your example. You reach 90,000 points is a threshold. Yeah, because there’s so much marketing emails being sent by airlines all the time. Like my thing, and that wine and flights, they could also market. And the way to the customers, your 90,000 points can now get your flight to somewhere. And there’ll be 70,000 points. And also market above that. So 420,000 points, you unlock this other flight. So then people would know that at the nine year mark, should I spend it or should I save it for something else? And then that then is great for the program because you’re able to encourages the redemption or he encourages further behavior that were essential, right there points earning. Cause now that I know that a 90 to get to one 20, maybe they could have for first class to Dublin. So what’s what will be worse is someone who’s spent the points as 70,000 points to fly premium economy. They could have easily gotten an extra, more points. You fly first class and then that attachment to the brain and that attachment to airline will be cemented forever. Yeah. Speaker 1 (17m 54s): And you’re right. And you’ve reminded me, Steve of a really good insight that also came through in a previous show and with research, academic research out of the U S and where they talked about that acceleration that you mentioned. So there is now absolute evidence that the closer we get to our goal and that the quicker our behavior starts to, and initially acceleration. And again, it’s, it’s almost like as soon as you’re told that as a loyalty professional and you realize, well, of course that’s how people behave, but actually I didn’t, I had never thought about it before until, you know, I literally heard about it. So, so you’re absolutely right. If you can say you only need another 10,000 to get to the first class, which I haven’t done as the commercial passenger. I absolutely think that would definitely go. I would certainly be off on my credit cards doing God knows what damage. So yeah. So there’s the added benefit of yes. We want to encourage you to redeem. And again, I’m sure that would come with all of the concerns about accessibility and in inventory that we talked about, but then the upsale or the opportunity to go one better and to give somebody awareness of the next biggest threshold that they can reach. I just love this idea. Speaker 2 (19m 11s): Yeah. Because I, I think maybe because some of these loyalty programs have been around for a while, there’s an assumption that there’s a prerequisite knowledge update already. Sometimes they call it for entrepreneurs. They say at least to the curse of expertise that you’ve been doing it every single day. You know, it it’d be like the back of your hand, but you actually there’s brand new customers coming into the program every day that don’t know anything. So then you have a information asymmetry because you’re talking about something that you talked about for 1600 time that week, but that other person I’ve only heard it for the first time. So that’s why there’s a big, sometimes a big gap between getting people to do something, to actually know what to do with. Speaker 1 (19m 60s): And, and another thing that I think is an opportunity, Steve is different formats of, of communication. So again, you know, I received lots of communications from loads of loyalty programs and again, not just flying, which is probably the most aspirational, but it’s still always seems to be in predominantly email format, which has been around for 20 years and GS performs extremely well. Boss, clearly I’m a fan of audio. So branded podcasts, I believe are a massive opportunity. I also believe video, you know, dedicated video content for loyalty programs would be super helpful, you know, to take somebody through that entire journey of now you’ve just joined whatever program, you know, here’s what we recommend you do. Here’s the partner like literally a handholding exercise. Like it’s not happening in your view, or is that something that maybe could do more of, Speaker 2 (20m 56s): But I definitely could do more and also links to the fact that different people. And I think in, in the education space towards notice that different people learn and absorb information in different ways. So some people are rating, some people are audio, some people are visual, some people have to experience it to learn. So we know that in education, they do that, but it seems that these lot programs, they’re still fairly old, everyone gets that written. So that’s why it’s all email everything’s written to you when you join they’re you maybe shoot card and they give you a booklet, it’s all written. So what that does is it only talks to a certain type of personality or people understand that lawyers will give, you can give them 200 page document that refreshed, happy, happy chaps. But I imagine you’re given 200 page document to someone else they’ll throw out and say, well, just tell me this, tell me about it. So naughty programs now even like read the really big glossy programs, it’ll be smiled at them to think about all the different ways that the customers need to hear the message because not everyone are great at reading the material anymore. And I do feel that they stuck in the, if I give you the terms, conditions, you must’ve read it. Right. And I think that’s when that’d move on and that’s after losing audience participation. Speaker 1 (22m 19s): Yeah, absolutely. And you know, you’re absolutely right. You made the point that there’s new people joining every day and that’s something we have to keep in mind. And I also think there’s an awful lot of research about, you know, particularly younger tech demographics, you know, because obviously when we’re younger, we’re probably flying less frequently. Both what I’m not seeing for example is, you know, the use of, you know, really alternative channels. Like, you know, what, if you could send them the frequent flyer membership on Snapchat, for example, or, you know, WhatsApp, you know, I’m thinking of the teenagers in my life, you know, and I think about, you know, again, being in an airline and trying to get people at that age before they make decisions about who they’re going to be loyal to. So why not connect with them and the channels the bay want, as you said, a printed booklet is, you know, it feels like it’s time has come and gone. Speaker 2 (23m 10s): Yeah. Yeah. That’s right. And it’s bad for the environment as well. Just go everything electronic, just be sure. Yeah. Yeah. For sure. I think we came across some good ideas just in, Speaker 1 (23m 23s): I was going to say snapshot. I hope you’re listening. So, you know, your heritage here first, but the other one, Steve, which I think I mentioned too, part of what I, I suppose I love about doing this show is to be able to take ideas from one industry and suggest them to another. And I think what we were talking about before we came on air was the idea of even incentivizing this content consumption as a possible idea for loyalty professionals. And I came across this with an insurance company, you know, some great guys at, down in South Africa and old mutual. And what they had identified is, you know, a real knowledge gap in that country around insurance products. So it’s one thing to, you know, again, to send the emails and to, to, to provide the content, but when they added in the, the loyalty currency and a reason to pay attention to the video, and again, I don’t know technically how they make that work. But I think if I was an airline Nulogy professional now as well, to me, that would be a brilliant idea. Let’s start, you know, inspiring certainly the leisure travelers and giving them whatever currency, whether it’s Quantas points or velocity with, with Virgin in, in Australia. So do you think that’s something that a loyalty professionals could consider? Speaker 2 (24m 42s): I think, I think that’s pretty clever because the larger program, they can meet them. They can print their own money, so to speak. And of course you can just track it as an internal costs. But what I know is the more people understand the program, the more they’ll engage to program and then even better is as they, as they sort of move through their careers, for example, they earn more money, they spend more money and then make choices about which airline to fly credit card or use which, which partner to use and all that stuff will all pay off versus someone else who might be a member of the program, but they don’t understand the program because they never, they never bothered to learn it. And it gets to the point sometimes where you’ve been, I guess it’s also the same as a job is know the first three months. Ask any question, no question stupid. But after that, this assume that you must go enough down. So if you still asking stupid questions in math, six, what’s going on key. So, and then I think what happens also is that for example, the employee, after six months, one has any more stupid questions because I think, you know, you, they think that, you know, and you can’t ask him why nothing, that what happens to loyalty programs they’ve been in there for so long, they’ve earned some point and they think that they know, and I think, and then that’s it, but don’t even bother to learn anymore, but maybe they just literally scratch the surface. So an IDT incentivize them to, I guess, learn more about that means that at least when I pop out of the end of that sort of like funnel, they are now much more wiser than when I went in and then they can make the conscious choice how to, what level to engage with the program. Speaker 1 (26m 30s): Absolutely. Yeah. And, and I don’t even think it would need to be like a hugely generous points incentive. Speaker 2 (26m 37s): No, sometimes the five points is enough generate action. Totally. Speaker 1 (26m 43s): It’s like, you’ve just given me a reason, you know, you know, there’s, I’m sure a threshold somewhere that somebody could figure out, but yeah, no, I think it’s a super fun idea. So, so super, super cool. And then the other thing I think you’d suggested Steve was, you know, the opportunity for, you know, an online booking engine, perhaps that would show Speaker 2 (27m 3s): The actual inventory for reward seats, you know, and, and in the stylus was a travel agency, because again, certain airlines you can go in and just book your, your concert rewards flights, no problem. But I think what you were talking about is the idea of a travel agency and creating that type of booking platform. So tell us a bit about this idea. Yeah. So that’s what would be my holy grail, because in a way, what we do right now is find those seats for predicament airlines and manually find them. So it’s like fishing, but what will be ideal is if you have an engine that could suck a ham, if you’re looking for a flight to Europe, maybe this taking an example flying from Sydney to London, we’ve got different airlines for contests. We’ve got Singapore, we’ve got cafe VAR, Hong Kong, you got Emirates, AP, have you got task? Ty got British airways. Imagine there’s lots and lots of airlines. If you can, you can put in a set of data and you’ll suck out all the inventory on all those different airlines. Then you can choose, or you can find freaking flight seats right now you have to go into each of those separate airlines search individually for the dates you want. So if someone wants, don’t do that, they want to not have any time to work because they’ll be searching for seats. Speaker 1 (28m 24s): Well, you know what I think with us and, you know, current pain points, it certainly will keep you busy and, and your whole team. So, you know, obviously we don’t want to put you out of business, Steve, but you know, again, you’re only available as an expert in the Australian markets as far as I understand. So, but definitely I think it’s a global problem as far as I’m aware. So yeah, hopefully there’s somebody from some big tech company that might be listening to us and think about, you know, how they can make the redemption process easier. And let’s say more consumer focused on, Speaker 2 (28m 58s): Yeah, that definitely is a holy grail, but, but on the flip side, like compared to say a GBS and what that’s done to find seats, why don’t you, there’s no money in redeeming seats. There’s no money to be made. So therefore that’s probably why there’s no effort gone into build a solution. Speaker 1 (29m 16s): But I presume, for example, you charge a service fee to the people who use your service. Speaker 2 (29m 21s): Oh yes, yes, yes. We wish had the service fee, I guess the human that the it system could charge a service fee. It could be a subscription type. Speaker 1 (29m 33s): Yeah, totally. Yeah. Yeah. And I’m glad you mentioned subscription actually, because that’s obviously a hot topic in loyalty. Is there happening in subscription-based loyalty in Australia at the moment or, or, or your views on it? Do you think it’s an opportunity for airlines? Speaker 2 (29m 50s): Yeah, but nothing I’ve, I’ve seen in Australia market, that’s a subscription base. Obviously lounges are subscription based, but that’s just the lounge component. It doesn’t add anything else to the rest. The only subscription services, what I’ve seen is the one that’s coming from Emirates is free levels and you pay different fees in the area, get nothing extra baggage, or you might, one of the levels gives you 20% discount on Dalewood redemptions, which is my favorite in this album, bits and bobs, where you get more points when you’d fly. So that’s interesting cause they, what they’ve done is they just reach the tools to give different benefits for price. Yeah, but I, I do find is quite interesting area because everyone is looking to the Amazon prime model and if they can get all the, the whole population paying X dollars per year, that generate amazing revenues. So everyone’s probably looking towards that. But what the non fish side is, I like to say Amazon prime airlines is that it’s fairly infrequent business. So a frequent flyer might fly frequently, but most other people are infrequent flyers. And then every time they get to, they get to choose. Well actually every time that they’re choosing two things, one is they’re choosing where they’re going and which airline to fly on and where are they going? That same airline might not always service where they’re going. So I guess in Australia, Quantus is the one that’s servers, everything. But for example, you feel picking and paying for the Emirates, a subscription service. That’s only useful if you’re flying Emirates and that’s generally towards, from Australia over to Europe area. So if you’re flying to say Los Angeles, you wouldn’t use the Emirates product, even though you got a subscription to it. So that makes it very hard for people to keep paying money for subscription when they might fly say six times a year, which is fairly frequent, but free flights, your way free flights, you had said USA. Why that, that means that I’ve only used that subscription free time that year. It makes it for hockey justify renewal. Speaker 1 (32m 11s): Yeah, no, I agree. Steve. I think so many people are struggling to get this subscription proposition really to be absolutely compelling. And again, an airline has the added complexity of the global nature and existing infrastructure and benefits obviously with our frequent flyer program. So, so I think you’re right. I think there’s more to come in that particular space. So definitely one we’ll be watching, but just Speaker 2 (32m 37s): Actually no idea about that is so there has, because this open loyalty, but potentially there will be a, there should be a discount for multi customer subscription because if you’re paying the same amount every year, that means that you can stop paying this year. It started mixed sheet and you suffered no potential loss. So to encourage you to be ongoing, it should be a discount for every subsequent use. So therefore say mark, give up that subscription because I actually just started a again from scratch and pay a high fees, but that’s afraid to how they get people. Speaker 1 (33m 21s): Yes. Sticky. Yeah. The boring term that we would use in other like utilities for example, is rewarding tenure. So recognizing that somebody has stayed for, I remember actually a close friend of mine when I started working in loyalty and in telcos. And she was like, I’ve been a customer there for 10 years and nobody’s ever thanked me or acknowledged my loyalty. And I remember that being very shocking to me because again, the thank you part is probably the one that I think we could all do more of, you know, let’s be grateful. And like, we all hear us as a good practice. And I suppose we forget to do or sometimes when it comes to our business and our loyal customer. So, but I think you’re absolutely right. So yeah, your heritage is here for us. We follow the ideas today, Steve, Speaker 2 (34m 4s): And actually that, that links to early partial compensation that when you reach certain amount of points. So if you say you reached a million points, which is a large number in anyone’s eyes, some recognition for that, because whether you earn a million points by flying or by spending, that makes you in a way you have spent significant effort to collect those points. So some sort of, some sort of recognition for that as well. So I think there’s a few ideas there. Speaker 1 (34m 36s): And sometimes I think that can just even be for the ego. You know, my ego certainly would be super impressed if somebody went, oh my God, Paula, that’s amazing that you’ve got a million points, you know, because first of all, I’m sure I would’ve noticed, but for, for, you know, the brands to notice would definitely make me feel good. So, and then the bragging rights, I mean, I don’t know what it would look like, but definitely bragging rights, word of mouth marketing. You know, I think there’s a missed opportunity in there that people like Speaker 2 (35m 5s): Clematis format because as a user, you only ever know how many points you got now, you don’t know, you might have a cumulatively spent a million points already, but you’re not aware, but the program is very much aware how much you use. There you go. Actually be a real surprise when you get an email or a gift saying, thank you, Paula, you, you spent you’ve utilized 10 million points. You’ve asked. You’re like really? Yes. Speaker 1 (35m 35s): Oh my goodness. Oh, I love it. Super exciting. Well, I think the ideas are just going to keep flowing now today. So yeah. We’ll have to start selling our consulting services. Speaker 2 (35m 48s): Absolutely Speaker 1 (35m 49s): Great stuff. So listen, two other propositions. I wanted to quickly just mention for listeners and because they’re both very relevant to Australian members particularly, but also might be interesting around the world. And one is the Quantus frequent buyer club. I think it’s called the Quantas club. I’ll ask you just to the points club, maybe just to tell us a bit about that and the other one, which I just, I know it’s literally hot off the presses, but at core hotels who in fact are on my show today, the end of November and have launched a double dip proposition with Quantas. So you earn both currencies for, you know, literally flying or staying with that, with those two partners. So yeah, maybe just, you know, any thoughts you have on these as I suppose, new ideas in, in travel loyalty. Speaker 2 (36m 39s): Yeah. Well, I told her about the Connor said call one first. So that’s really exciting because you are truly double dipping. So if you’re a member of both, if you fly Qantas, you own Qantas points and you earn a call phone call, you earn a quaint corners. So that’s a truly double D. That means that I caught a rating points, not earned points these days. So I think that’s a beeping of the relationship between a coin contest because I call, I’ve been always been looking at the Qantas lounges for a number of years now and I’ll pray to them making sure that they are a fantastic standard. So that’s a, that was out of the blue. And I really liked that one in terms of the point is Queen’s club that came out probably, maybe just pre pandemic. And what that is is Quantas has recognized that a large portion of their points earners earning them not by flying, but by spending and in Australia, there’s a glorying B2B payments by credit cards where companies are paying other companies by credit card and not by bank transfer. So the points club was, I believe developed to read it, to reward, to customers for earnings, large number of points on the ground and encourage them to do so. Also giving them some recognition that it’s not just all about points earned by flying, which traditionally is what a frequent flyer program is all about. They’ve done it on three levels. They’ve got the points club and once club plus. And what they say is that you have to earn 150,000 points a year on the ground, get points club and then free 150,000 points to get the plus version of that. And obviously there’s some different rules around that when you get the points club, plus you actually get hold of Connor’s club membership. So you don’t have to buy a membership to get access to what Condors cup lounges. And there’s other things like wine club discounts and, and that she all actually one really interesting thing is that if you’re a member of points club, you can earn status credits when you fly on redemption tickets. But that’s a new thing. It definitely an Australian market, maybe even in a strip Albemarle. Although I noticed that I think American airlines just did something similar, but it’s actually quite rare in the past. Tickets mean you’ve got no status credits, but now you can, Speaker 1 (39m 20s): I’m thinking, I think American have done that. Yeah. Yeah. Brilliant. And you know, just ahead of today’s show Steve, I looked up what I remember being my favorite loyalty statistic actually ever. And because obviously I ask everybody their favorite loyalty statistic, but literally the one and this was published in August, 2020. So there might even be a 2021 update, but it was just, I suppose, the value particularly of Quantas loyalty as distinct from Quantis airline. So this figure that I found today said that Quantis obviously, unfortunately so badly impacted like everyone by, by COVID the 20 19 20 21 figures revenue figures. And it was a loss of 2.7 billion Australian dollars. However, Quantus loyalty made the single biggest contribution, which was a $341 million profit in that same period. So I often remember at the loyalty conference that it was quoted us at the time saying that Quantis loyalty was more valuable than Quantis international travel. So this was when I kind of sat up and went, oh my God, this business is amazing. So Speaker 2 (40m 35s): It’s amazing business to make money throughout the whole pandemic. And it will continue to make more money without any of the issues that airlines have whereby like volcano Ash and all that stuff. But the, the, the loyalty program continues to make money 24 hours a day. Speaker 1 (40m 58s): Totally. Yeah. And again, I suppose what seems to be, you know, almost unique in the Australian markets, if I’m right, is the, the, the, the two airlines really almost operate as the coalition programs that many other countries would actually, you know, operate literally in partnership, let’s say by a leading grocery player in conjunction with a fuel player, or it’s, it’s, it’s much more strongly led by airlines, you know, in Australia. So I think that’s why there’s so many learnings coming from what you do, and that I think can be applied to other, at other markets, Speaker 2 (41m 33s): Qantas and Virgin they’re sort of release made the routers, pick a side. You want to offer your customers corners, flag off a couple of Virgin points. And so it’s very easy to point in. Speaker 1 (41m 49s): Yeah. Yeah. Wonderful. When listen with all our fabulous brainstorming and suggestions for everyone coming into 2022, Steve, I think, I think I’ve asked all of my questions. Have you any other, I suppose, important topics that you think we’re literally releasing the show now December 30th. So anyone listening I’m sure is going to be all excited for what’s coming up in 2022, but any closing thoughts or suggestions from your side? Speaker 2 (42m 15s): Yeah, I think obviously we depend on how many people had to cancel their travel or not travel. So 20, 22 and beyond is where you pick up all of those bucket list trips and just book and go again. So there’s times of course, I’ll always make them in the best way to fly, to use points in fly business class or first class, because that’s much more exciting than getting a Tosta or backing those points and even much more excited than paying them with money. Because getting something basically for free is one of life’s great joys along with getting a free champagne and free caveat on border planes. So people say there’s no such thing as a free lunch five, say this days there’s free lunch, there’s free champagne, there’s free caveat. And there’s also a free flight if you get your points. Right. So very excited. That always Speaker 1 (43m 13s): Fantastic. So listen, Steve, if people do want to connect with you, I know, first of all, it actually also, you’re so famous in Australia that actually we can’t do a connection on LinkedIn because you’re up to the maximum, but people can follow you there. So where’s the best place. Is it LinkedIn or other channels that people can then reach out if they have questions for you? Speaker 2 (43m 33s): Yeah. I think LinkedIn is best and that’s on the state. Who is I S T E H U I S a surname. So LinkedIn, cause I posted most of my content through LinkedIn. So if you follow me, you’ll get the content. I’m also on Instagram a bit for a bit of fun. And that’s just that I fly flats. You find me there and that’s more just interesting photos and things, but yeah, LinkedIn is aware of what actions. Speaker 1 (43m 58s): Okay, well, listen, I have really enjoyed our conversation today. So Steve hooey CEO of I fly flats. Thank you so much. Let’s talk loyalty. Speaker 2 (44m 8s): Thank you very much. Speaker 1 (44m 14s): This show is sponsored by the wise marketeer. The world’s most popular source of loyalty, marketing news insights and research. The wise marketeer also offers loyalty marketing training through its loyalty academy, which has already certified over one and 70 executives in 20 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals. For more information, check out the wise market, tier.com and loyalty academy.org. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of let’s talk loyalty. If you’d like me to send you the latest show each week, simply sign up for the show newsletter on let’s talk loyalty.com and I’ll send you the latest episode to your inbox every Thursday, or just head to your favorite podcast platform. Find let’s talk loyalty and subscribe. Of course I’d love your feedback and reviews. And thanks again for supporting the show.