The air miles rewards market is set to take off, as the melding of airline customer loyalty and payment features on a single, multi-function payment card becomes a reality.
That’s according to i2c, which said in a report that 23.8 trillion airline customers’ miles go unredeemed around the globe, and 80 percent of U.S. air mile rewards members are inactive. That could all change if rewards were tied to payments via one card. I2c claims its new frequent flyer program payment card solution gives travelers a way to make payments and budget spending while at the same time earning loyalty points. The company said it also provides airlines with tools to expand their loyalty programs to engage their entire customer base and turn a marketing expense into a revenue generator.
“Unlike traditional co-branded airline credit cards available only to creditworthy consumers who qualify, the integrated frequent flyer payment card is open to all airline customers, who simply need to load funds on the card and use it to make purchases anywhere in the world and accumulate loyalty points and air miles rewards,” the company said in a news release. “Most airline loyalty cards lay dormant in a drawer or unused in a wallet, and less than 5 percent of airline customers are enrolled in co-branded credit card programs. The i2c-powered frequent flyer payment card offers airlines a novel way to reinvigorate their frequent flyer programs.”
I2c’s new card comes as some of the major credit card companies are eyeing the travel industry. American Express is gearing up to launch the Blue Delta SkyMiles credit card, which aims to court people who don’t travel that often.
According to a report in Bloomberg, the card will give customers two miles per every dollar spent at restaurants in the U.S. and on Delta Air Lines purchases. Customers get one mile for every dollar spent outside those two categories. Bloomberg noted there will be no annual fee associated with the credit card, which is rare for co-branded ones.