Flying Blue Loyalty Program Going from Strength to Strength (#483)

It has already been a year since we met with Ben Lipsey, Senior Vice President of customer loyalty and President of Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France, KLM and Transavia.

Flying Blue now has over 22 million members, and Ben joins us today to share some new propositions and pricing they launched for members, the creation of a separate new legal structure for the entire program, as well as their plans to launch a “subscription” propositions this year for members.

Listen to enjoy the latest airline loyalty insights from Ben Lipsey and Flying Blue below.

This episode is available in audio format and also in video format here.

Show Notes:

1) Ben Lipsey

2) Air France

3) KLM⁠

4) Transavia⁠

5) ⁠Flying Blue⁠

6) www.Loyalty TV⁠.


Audio Transcript

Paula: Hello and welcome to our latest episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since we met with Ben Lipsey, Senior Vice President of Customer Loyalty and President of Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France, KLM and Transavia. Flying Blue now has over 22 million members of its program.

And Ben joins us today to share some new propositions and pricing that they’ve launched for members. As well as the creation of a separate new legal structure for the entire program. And also their plans to launch subscription propositions this year for their members. I hope you enjoy the latest loyalty insights from Ben Lipsey and Flying Blue.

So, Ben Lipsey, welcome back to Let’s Talk Loyalty and welcome to Loyalty TV. 

Ben: Thank you so much for having me. 

Paula: Great. I can’t believe 12 months. It has absolutely flown by since you’ve been on the show with us before. 

Ben: Yeah, time flies, especially in our industry. 

Paula: Honestly, honestly, brilliant. Listen, there’s loads going on with Flying Blue. It’s incredibly impressive. I know you’ve reached some fabulous new numbers, which you’re going to talk a little bit about today. Also had some very interesting structural changes. Lots of new propositions and plenty going on in terms of the overall business globally not just in Europe. So let’s kick off.

First and foremost, as you know, we always love to to get inside the minds of our guests and get a sense of your favorite loyalty program. So Ben, let’s see, please do share with our audience as we come into 2024. What’s your current favorite loyalty program, please?

Ben: This one I’ve given some thought and actually my favorite loyalty program at the moment is Bilt. I think you’ve had them on the show before but it’s a program in based out of the US where you earn points for paying rent. And of course they have a co-brand credit card as well. Really unique startup, really unique idea. And of course we’re partners with them and, you know, we really see some really innovative stuff that we would like to do with them and we’re quite happy with this partnership and it’s, for me, it’s just really cool.

Paula: Yeah, absolutely. I agree. And one of the reasons I started this show is to find cool new stuff and Bilt is exactly that. So big shout out to the guys there. So, and for anyone who’s not familiar with it, it’s Bilt. Bilt, which is B I L T, not B U I L T, as we might assume. We’ll make sure to link to that for the show notes. So we probably need to get Dave back on as well at some point. 

But what I always find amusing, Ben is, you know, when anyone talks to Bilt, like, you know, the guys have been here, you know, I’ve seen them down in Brazil recently as well, everybody’s like, please come to my country, you know, and for me, I am paying rent, so why am I not getting, you know, some kind of good payback on that. 

Ben: Yeah, of course.

Paula: So, a high quality problem. 

Ben: And you can use my subscription plan, too. Absolutely.

Paula: Totally. Totally. And you’ll be very impressed with me, Ben. I did sign up today. I know you have a partnership with, with ALL as well in terms of the mutually beneficial where, you know, fly or stay, and there’s there’s points and miles on both sides. So I did finally connect those two today. So fully fledged member of Flying Blue with ALL. So there we go. 

So listen, I think the most.

Ben: Thank you very much.

Paula: No problem. I was delighted to do it. Of course, I have to test it as well. It was really easy. So that’s the bottom line. 

So listen, kick us off with I suppose the biggest news in terms of the legal changes that you’ve gone through. I know it’s not something that affects consumers directly in any way, but clearly we have a loyalty audience, very sophisticated audience here around the world, and always very interested to hear about when a program is, I suppose, becoming more transparent and transforming its way of operating. So, will you tell us what’s happened and why?

Ben: Sure. So, yeah we were very lucky to have just completed this transaction. I mean, it was a lot of hard work by a lot of people. But what it does is it creates a separate shell around Flying Blue still owned by Air France and KLM and the group, you know, Air France-KLM Group. But what it does is it allows us to recognize the value and the equity that Flying Blue brings independently of the airlines.

So now, you know, we’ll be able to start reporting financially on the actual value of Flying Blue on the results. You know, we’ve always had a PnL, PnL, an analytical PnL but now it’ll become, you know, much more officialized. And as a result of this, we were able to raise 1.5 billion euros in quasi equity from Apollo, which is a private equity firm which highlights that, you know, the, even in this, you know, in environments of rising interest rates and everything else that there’s still a lot of value that the private equity world sees in loyalty programs in particular hours.

And you know, I think we credit the strength of our other brands, Air France and KLM. And of course, some of the innovative things that we’ve done in the loyalty program to be able to kind of lend credibility and value to this. So very proud of that. But as like, as you mentioned, I mean, there’s no change to customers. There’s no change to you know, how the program is structured and it’s managed to our business strategy to the value that we try to deliver to our customers. All that remains the same. But like I said, it allows the company to actually recognize the value that we bring. 

Paula: Brilliant. Brilliant. Yeah. And I think you’re a particularly then, you know, in my mind is particularly a market where, you know, privacy laws are extremely strict. So protecting all of that and keeping it, as you said, within the same ownership fundamentally means of course, that yeah, you can continue business as usual, but you do get the access to the capital. So congratulations on a, on that achievement. It’s a really good deal. 

Ben: Oh, thank you.

Paula: Yeah. Great news all around, super stuff. So listen, then let’s move on to what does change for consumers. From the program side, I know you announced some pricing changes recently which were really good news for people who are looking to redeem, looking to fly and probably quite different to what’s happening even in this part of the world, for example, where, you know, it is, you know, becoming more expensive, for example to redeem.

And and that’s, you know, often the reality of what the market needs, but you seem to be going the opposite direction. So tell us what’s happening. You’re reducing redemption prices. Brilliant news. 

Ben: Well, we’re doing what we can. I mean, I can’t promise it’s across the board. I mean, there is a small percentage that did go up in price. But for the vast majority of our rewards, we were able to lower them. And I mean, 78-80 percent of our rewards, I think we were able to lower. And the rationale is simple. I mean, for us, we look at where we have an attractive internal transfer price to our revenue management department team based on, you know, when we look to fill a seats that would otherwise go empty.

And we were able to kind of better it’s called common rating different destinations. So, you know, now New York and San Francisco to Paris or Amsterdam will be priced equivalently when there is inventory available. Now we are the only ones in Europe to offer fully dynamic pricing where you can redeem your miles for any scale. Even when the plane is quite full or expected to be full. So there are some instances, of course, where you will prices, but you know, when that inventory is there, it is now actually been reduced by sometimes up to, you know, 10, 15,000 miles. Which I think positions us as being quite the attractive option, particularly for miles conversion programs which I think I mentioned this before for us. That’s a big portion of our business. You know, in the US in particular, these are quite big. A lot of the banks have credit cards that earn points that you can then convert into frequent flyer programs.

So of course, Amex rewards is the biggest but there’s also Chase, there’s Citi, you know, Capital One. We, of course, have a partnership with Bilt. So the logic is roughly the same. You can transfer it to Flying Blue and then you can redeem. And, you know, a lot of the challenge that national to the US and international program has is we’re not always top of mind. So we also look at some of our partners. Like, for example, which acts as a kind of Google Flights or an OTA for redemption. That allows us to very easily compare the availability and pricing of reward tickets. And then it tells them kind of where to transfer my points to and how do I book.

And for us, you know, when we can, they’ll remain profitable and offer attractive reward inventory and options to our customers. In the US in particular, for us it’s a really, you know, good source of value that I think that we offer and one which will actually lead us to, you know, having over 50 percent of our award tickets being issued point of sale US. As of about mid next year, which is a really interesting statistic, I think, for a foreign, foreign loyalty program. 

Paula: Yes. Absolutely. Yeah. Quite a milestone for you, huh? Amazing. Yeah.

Ben: Yeah. I think it shows that there’s still some interest in the broad. 

Paula: You know, and I often think I don’t pay enough attention on the consumer side because I haven’t actually used, but I do remember the last time we spoke, you were like, you’ve been, I think a points geek since you were like, I don’t know, five years old or something. So it sounds like that is the definitive comparison side for the rewards side. Is that, is it more US focused or middle or Europe focused?

Ben: It’s a tool that I think just democratizes what, you know, kind of many people refer to as a hobby. 

Paula: Okay. 

Ben: You know, myself included, ever since I kind of got into this game as it worked. You know, you always look for outsize value. You always try to find. You know, how can I go, you know, either the most roundabout way, but the most time in premium cabins. How do I, you know, travel in first class for next to nothing? How do I get from A to B relatively cheaply? You know, how do I go with my family to, you know, Disneyland over the spring break? I mean, everyone has their own kind of value proposition that they’re looking for. There’s no correct way to redeem miles. 

But previously, I mean, you had to kind of be quite you know, well versed in kind of the loyalty, you know, sphere to kind of understand that, okay, I can transfer my, you know, US based credit card points to a, you know, Colombian based frequent flyer program to redeem on a German airline between, you know, like you’d have to kind of understand these things to know that this was a, this was an attractive way to redeem your points, but people, it’s not always top of mind.

You know, if you look at  to name any names, but to say, okay, if Delta, for example, being the biggest partner of Amex in the US and of course, it’s a partner. It stands to reason that, you know, I would think a large majority of people transfer their Amex MR points to Delta. Well, what, you know, I’d like them to also to know is that we also offer a good value.

And that, you know, Flying Blue is an attractive, what transfer as well. And that’s where tools like come in because it democratizes this and it allows them, to allows customers to kind of see firsthand. Hey, you know, there’s other options for me to to redeem my points. You know, going via another airline, another carrier that I might not have thought of at first. 

Air Canada has done a really good job. It’s my former employer, but I’m also, you know, very happy to see a lot of what they’ve done. I think the team there is fantastic. And I think they, you know, you’ve seen, they’ve added a lot of airline partners. That’s a strategy and you know, one where we’re also looking to grow as well. But when you do that, it means that, okay, so we’re Air France, KLM, them Air Canada. If I’m sitting in, you know. somewhere in the US or the UK or Australia. And I have dozens of partners that I can transfer my points to. 

I might think, well, I’m going to transfer on Qantas. I want to fly on Qantas if I’m in Australia, I want to travel BA if I’m sitting in the UK or Delta if I’m sitting in the US. But to say, you know what, if I transfer there in Air Canada, I can try, I can travel on 45 different airlines serving destinations that this one airline might not travel or inventory that they might not have available. You know, you start to create more of a higher value proposition for that currency.

And I think that’s why Air Canada is doing really well. Their loyalty program is, you know, so highly rated by many people in this industry. And so like I said, I mean, I have a lot of thanks for what they’ve done. I think also, there are things I think that make us quite attractive. But no, there’s a lot of really cool things that are going on right now. 

Paula: For sure. Yeah. And definitely for me, you know, it does start to get very exciting. Of course, as the balances grow and where I live, you know, I’m lucky enough here in Dubai. You know, to be able to get the credit cards and start to build up the balances.

And I know you guys also announced something relevant here, so I’m definitely going to go and have to check out. So I’d love you just to talk about the Etihad partnership. I think again, another feather in your cap, and that was just announced a couple of weeks ago. So I’d love you to tell our global audience that, yeah, it’s, I think a full earn and burn  partnership.

Ben: Yeah. Yeah. So we are actually quite excited about that one. That’s a strategic partnership with Air France-KLM and and Etihad. But for the first time, we have recently just implemented a full earn and burn a relationship with them so you can use your Flying Blue miles to redeem on Etihad and vice versa, which greatly expands the number of destinations that our members can earn and spend on. 

We are exploring and negotiating reciprocal benefits for our elite members. So that will come shortly, which I think is also a nice a nice touch. Always good for our top tier members. And Air France recently launched its own flight, a daily flight from Paris to Abu Dhabi. 

Paula: Okay. Amazing. 

Ben: Connecting it to Etihad’s network. We then co chair on that flight and they also co chair on our flight out of Paris. So, it’s it’s been a, it’s been a a nice partnership, I think. And we’re also quite pleased with the earn and burn. And like I said, we’re also looking to add more partners as well. 

Paula: Okay, so you heard it here first. Anyone who’s listening and wants to work with Flying Blue. Definitely got to reach out to Ben. I get those conversations kicked off. So, brilliant news. 

So listen, we’re coming into 2024 now. I think, you know, if anything I have learned from talking with Well, you know, people specifically in airlines, I think the to do list is never ending. There are a million ideas. There’s like, there’s just so much exciting work that can be done. So I’d love to get a sense about what is, I suppose, being prioritized for Flying Blue. Tell us, what are you thinking? What’s on the roadmap? What can we look forward to in different markets? 

Ben: Oh, where to start? There’s a couple of exciting things that we have coming up for 2024. I will give you a sneak peek now. I mean, we’re looking at launching a subscription product which you’ve seen some other airlines launch. Not just for buying miles, but also for benefits. I think, you know, Emirates launched Skywards plus a while ago. That’s turned out really well for that. Yeah, we have our own kind of spin on that on which I think will be, you know, engineered towards customers to compliment and enhance their elite tier not to replace it.

So, you know, we don’t want to make people think that you can buy status and then no longer worry about flying with us. That’s not the point. But we do want to offer people benefits that will help enhance that elite tier. So that’s that’s one thing that we’re doing. 

We’re looking to grow kind of more of the sustainable options that people can use their miles for. And of course to highlight once again, of course, that we’re the only our loyalty program, I think in the world certainly we were the first that awarded that awards status currency or what we call XP for purchasing SAF or Sustainable Aviation Fuel or donating to a sustainable charity that we’re partners with which effectively is saying to customers, you need to fly less because if you earn certain amounts of XP from purchasing stuff, you no longer need to fly much to either earn or maintain your tier which for us is quite important as part of our corporate CSR goals. 

We’re also looking at enhancing benefits for our top tier, particularly our platinum and ultimate tier customers. And that should be announced in the coming months. And again, just trying to make sure that we were competitive and an interesting choice for for our members based in Europe and abroad.

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. Well, incredible. I know, particularly in Europe. I think we talked about it the last time the whole environment focus is something that is a very important topic, less so on other markets. And, you know, as you know, I’m sitting in Dubai. We’ve just had COP28 here, which I think has been you know, an interesting choice of destination. It’s wonderful for this city. But there’s a lot of people a little confused to say, you know, actually, you know, this is a part of the world that does produce fuel. So the whole sustainable piece is perhaps an even more important message. 

So I like that you have found a way to connect the status, as you said into a sustainable proposition. And I know you said last time as well, it’s almost like. If you must fly, please fly with us, but we’re not asking you to fly more. 

Ben: That’s it. That’s it. 

Paula: Yeah. I think is that still a core message for you? 

Ben: Yeah. Yeah. I think you’ve seen the message change certainly for us and I’m sure many other programs as well. Where, you know, we understand that there’s a, there’s an environmental impact to flying, but at the same time you know, I think the joy of travel, the benefit that you know, we’re able to offer customers by, you know, bridging world and cultures. You know, I live in France, but my family lives 10 hours away in Canada.

So, I mean, you know, short of sailing, I mean, there’s very little other option I have. So I you know, and that’s what travel allows us to do is to explore, to you know, to understand each other better, to learn different cultures, to try different foods. I mean, these kinds of things are, we take for granted.

You know, the last 20, 30, 40 years. It’s seen the boon of travel. It would be quite arrogant and selfish of us to say, Oh, you know what? Our kids no longer have that opportunity. So I think what we have to do is collectively as an industry is to work towards making sustainable aviation a reality.

And so, you know, from an Air France-KLM perspective, like I say, we’re proud of the steps that we’re taking airplanes that we’re buying that will help us admit less, less, you know, fuel emissions and have more of a environmentally sustainable footprint. Working on things like reducing, you know, plastics and reducing weight and offering bamboo all of these kinds of things, they all add up.

And then on a loyalty program, like I said, we take our responsibility and, you know, we’re not here to say you need to fly more, we’re saying when you do need to fly Air France – KLM. And you know, by being one of the only programs that actually says you can earn status 100 percent if you want by purchasing SAF.

You know, we’re really putting the money where our mouth is. And it’s something for us, which is an important core tenet of our program and something which we’re proud of and will help us meet our our SAF targets for the coming years. So for us, no, it is a, it’s an important message and not one that we’re trying to greenwash, but one that is that’s our reality.

Paula: Yeah, for sure. It’s funny. I’ve noticed myself then, you know, as I’ve become again, you know, back in fully, you know, flying commercially, I was lucky enough previously to be staff of an airline. I didn’t have to worry about it. But now that I am having to pay for my own tickets. You know, I’ve been chasing the redemption tickets, of course, but I’ve just lost my gold. So now I’m chasing status. So every single email that comes in, I’m literally going, okay, where is the opportunity to get back to gold? And actually it’s the first time in my life I’ve had that kind of opportunity. So that’s why I’m smiling away to myself here to go, Oh, there’s another one. 

And you’re right. You know, there is options here, for example, with the subscription program with Emirates, where there is, you know, a way to get there sooner. Again, not a way to replace the need to fly, but certainly I am very keen to get back to the gold status. So, so that’s really good. Yeah. 

And the sustainable piece, as you said, I know there’s a risk of greenwashing and people can be a little bit cynical, but we have to start, we have to do our best. And I think the loyalty program and the currencies and the levers that we have are available to kind of change that behavior as much as we possibly can. So talking more about part.

Ben: Well, and that’s.

Paula: Sorry, go on. Yeah. 

Ben: Sorry. No, I was just going to say that to kind of respond to what you had just said. I mean, I think what you mentioned about trying to go back to gold status and trying to find the opportunity is something which, you know, I kind of refer to as this irrational behavior. Because there’s this aspect award. Right? So whatever your aspirational award is, whether it’s wanting to travel, you know, to Japan in, in, in business class, or whether it’s wanting to get gold because you like the benefits you know, for you, that’s this aspiration that you have.

And it drives your behavior because you like the program, you like the benefits, you like how it, you know, you feel or reflects your values, whatever it is. So you know, as a customer would be willing to go out of your way to perhaps, hey, a bit more or that flight, if it was a little bit less convenient than a competitor because that, that drives your decision.

And so when I look at what my job as a head of loyalty program it’s really, it’s that is to stimulate what you’ve just said, which is to say, how do I make you make irrational decisions by offering you something, which you so that you’ll continue to choose us. And that’s you’ve  just you just said it very perfectly. So I just wanted to highlight that. 

Paula: You know what, it’s also happening as well, though, Ben, you know, I’m now, you know, guiding my husband’s behavior. So, the role of advocacy.

Ben: There you go.

Paula: Shouldn’t be underestimated either. You know, because there are some people who really want to. 

Ben: That’s how I got into this. That’s how I got into this. I was managing my dad’s frequent flyer program when I was about 12 years old. So it’s, I get it.

Paula: Amazing. Brilliant stuff. Great. So brilliant. Yeah, absolutely. We’re all about the status and partnerships is another one, Ben, that I know you’re, you have on the roadmap. We did have one of your partnerships directors on I think it was about two years ago now, but for me, I suppose the roadmap that you mentioned to me offline about you know, starting to get more integrated, more deeply in the e-commerce space.

I’d love you to explain this overall concept because it sounds quite genius. It sounds like something that hasn’t been done anywhere else. So will you tell us about, yeah, getting deeply embedded with some of the e-commerce brands in Europe? 

Ben: Sure. So, you know, I think many loyalty programs have realized that they’d need to branch out into kind of what they call the lifestyle space or, you know, going after the commercial partners. Many airlines have partnerships with Starbucks, Uber you know, those kinds of stores and we’re also targeting those kinds of things. 

But what we’re also trying to do is think a little bit outside the box. And I think there’s one or two airlines that have done this as well, but there’s a partner that we use that we work with called Loylogic, and they have a program called Pointspay. And what this tool does is that when we work with them is they integrate directly into the merchant’s checkout flow meaning so Rituals – the Dutch skincare brand is one of the first partners that we’ve gone live with and it means that when you’re in, in, in Rituals environment and you’re, you know, wanting to, to check out from a, you know, purchasing the product, you will see pay with credit card, PayPal, pay with miles.

And so it allows us to be present directly in the customer’s journey in their shopping environment without having an affiliate link or anything coming from the website. So it’s a really unique thing that allows us to be present in that, in, in those kinds of transactions, particularly online.

We’re also gonna be launching application our own app next year probably. Well definitely next year. And it will be engineered a hundred percent toward, towards earning miles both online and offline. So not connected to the actual airline environment. So it’s separate from the Air Frances and KLM maps.

Paula: Okay. 

Ben: But specifically on the earnings, earning miles. So you’ve seen, I think British Airways and United have done something similar. And this is going to be our version of that, which really allows customers to kind of find merchants in their local environment that will allow them to earn more miles every day.

So it’s for us, it’s a, it’s an important part of making sure the program remains relevant so that we can find new ways to encourage customers to earn miles and then of course use those miles on their transactions.

Paula: Yeah. So just so I understand the distinction Ben So the app you talked about of your own which you said is going to launch I’m guessing 2025 as we come into 2024 and so that’s an affiliate based model. Is it?

Ben: So it’s a mix. So there’s an affiliate based model. Yeah. So it’d be an affiliate based model, but also tying into ALO, which is called account linked offers and CLO or card linked offers. Amex actually with their Amex offers was kind of the pioneer of the CLO model. Many other banks have kind of picked up on this, and there’s a few other companies that have followed suit. 

ALO is a little bit more unique to Europe because of the integration with open banking and the EU directives of payment service directives, which permit open banking and allow companies to kind of spot transaction. So you can spend directly from your bank or debit card, and it will be able to track your spend both online, which is the affiliate based model, but also offline in the merchant store directly, which is quite unique. So we’re looking forward to that.

Paula: Incredible. Okay. And then, as you said, the e-commerce in Bedded option to me sounds the most sexy. I’m guessing it’s going to be very clearly branded in terms of Flying Blue. So pay with miles. We’ll have your brand and everywhere throughout those beautiful stores. And again, I know anything like a ritual grant, of course really prides itself on a beautiful user experience. So the idea that people can pay with miles, I’m guessing they can card pay, can they Ben? Because I’m assuming it’s a cash plus miles. 

Ben: Yeah, you can do. Exactly. And you can do it. I should mention it’s both earn and burn. So you, if you choose to pay with cash, you’ll actually earn miles from participating merchants in addition to the miles on your co-brand credit card, for example.

Paula: Beautiful. Wow.

Ben: So it’s a, you can either pay a hundred percent with miles, pay part miles or all cash. But if you go through that channel, you’ll earn bonus money. And it’s part of this ecosystem that we’re calling Flying Blue Plus and that’s you know, like I said there’s the online merchants that we have. It’s kind of morally deemed that everyday usage of of miles. 

Paula: Wow. Well, I haven’t heard it announced anywhere else, Ben, so I’m going to say to our audience that you heard it here first. That may not be true, but.

Ben: You’re the first. Yeah. 

Paula: Wow. Well, Loyalty TV. 

Ben: Yes. You’re the first. 

Paula: Oh my goodness. We’ve got an exclusive. Okay. Wow. That’s very exciting. My goodness. Honestly, you’re doing so much, Ben. There’s just a lot going on. And as I said, this show is all about innovation. It’s all about sharing, you know, what’s not being seen necessarily yet in our own markets so that we can learn from each other. So very inspiring to see what you’re building.

Ben: Thank you.

Paula: With all of that, I’m almost afraid to say what else? Is there anything else that you’re thinking about, talking about, wondering about. I mean, I honestly, as I said, I know what the wishlist is long and deep, but is there anything else that you’d love to be able to do if you had a, I suppose, you know, all the resources in the world?

Ben: Well, that’s the key right there is all the resources. I mean, I think, you know, all of the loyalty programs I was at an event and there was a dinner and there was a bunch of, you know, my, my counter parts of heads of loyalty programs. And it was quite funny because even on an airline level if we compete on a loyalty level, it was quite funny to hear that we all have the same challenges, the same drive. I mean, we all are, you know, trying to shift customers to work with us. 

But a lot of the time we start we run into the same, you know, challenge for resources. But no, I mean, I think if we had you know, all the money and all the time and all the people in the world to work on this. There’s so much that we love to do. I think we’re really lucky to have Lynx. Lynx I mean, that’s, it’s our mother brands, but with with Air France and KLM, I think these are two strong, global, historic brands that people love that really resonate with people around the world. 

You know, France is the, Paris is the number one tourist city in the world. I think France is the number one inbound tourist destination of a hundred million people a year. And you know, of course we have the Olympics in Paris in 2024. So, you know, it really represents a huge opportunity for, you know, like Blue, but also for Air France and KLM to you know, kind of engage customers and and find new ways to keep them loyal, keep them coming back.

So one of the things we’re looking at doing as well and whether that will launch next year or in 2025, I’m not yet sure. But his experiences. So we see him and you mentioned the core all day. They do this really well. I think Marriott Moments and Starwood, they did this with the other pioneers where you can use your points for experiences.

We’re really lucky because, you know, using your points to be able to say, train with the pilots in a flight simulator or, you know, in Air France, we have something like 20 different celebrity chefs that sign the menus. 

Paula: Yeah. Wow. 

Ben: So they think that you can have a one meeting with these chefs or a meal in their restaurant. You know, or you know, take to the Olympics that are coming up next year. I mean, these are all things that we’re planning on doing. To really kind of create these money camp buy experiences. Which again, keep people engaged in Flying Blue. Keep people flying Air France and KLM. Keep people, you know, thinking about us and being top of mind even in international markets. So that’s that’s kind of the next big project for us.

Paula: Okay. Well, we will definitely have to stay I suppose, closely connected. I want to make sure that we get all of the updates and all the exclusives. I’m super excited that we’ve had all of that kind of news and that you’ve shared so generously today, Ben. 

Ben:  My pleasure.

Paula: Listen I just want to say, you know, again, for your time. Thank you for sharing. Is there anything else, Ben, that you wanted to say today before we wrap up? I know we have a busy year ahead for 2024. Anything else you wanted to mention? 

Ben: No, I’d like to thank you for for having me on the show and thank everyone listening for for listening. And of course, hopefully they’ll they’ll become members of Flying Blue if they’re not already and continue to choose Air France and KLM for the next, the next trips.

Paula: Fantastic. Okay. So Mr. Ben Lipsey, Senior Vice President of Customer Loyalty and President of Flying Blue. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV. 

Ben: Thank you, Paula. 

Paula: 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 500 executives in 38 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals. 

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