Yesterday I wrote about American’s holiday gift promotion and new targeted promotions for flying. Offers are now live in member accounts. What gift did you receive, and what offer was targeted to encourage you to fly?
Here’s what I got – I’m left shaking my head.
- My gift: 500-mile upgrades a complimentary single car class upgrade from Avis.
- My promotion: Earn (4) 500-mile upgrades and 2000 miles for making a booking after registration and then flying four premium cabin flights between January 1 and February 28, 2021.
These offers make absolutely no sense.
- I receive unlimited complimentary upgrades. As an Executive Platinum my domestic upgrades do not require 500 mile certificates. American has deep data on my transactions with them, yet in giving a Christmas gift appears not to know me at all.
- While sponsoring an upgrade for a companion would require 500 mile upgrades, I still have 500 mile upgrade certificates sitting in my account from when I was a ‘mere’ Platinum member of AAdvantage – prior to 2011.
- The promotion doesn’t even say how many 500 mile upgrades I’ve been gifted, and they don’t post to your account right away (when you register you’re told they’ll deposit within 24 hours). What kind of gift do you open and still not learn what it is?
- They’re offering me 2000 miles to add to my seven figure balance, and more 500 mile upgrade certificates I do not need, and to earn this I have to fly four premium cabin flights in the first two months of 2021.
Somehow the promotion terms, echoed by an American Airlines spokesman, say “Your gift is based off your membership, travel with American Airlines and other account and transaction-related activity.”
The free gift doesn’t make sense for an Executive Platinum and the flight promotion makes little sense for someone that hasn’t flown American Airlines since March, and is stunning in its lack of generosity – a potential 500 bonus miles per paid premium cabin flight. I think American AAdvantage either needs a new CRM, or different folks doing their list pulls.
My wife’s account received a 100 mile gift (extends her account expiration out beyond when American will start expiring miles again), and double miles starting with the third flight taken in January and February. My daughter received the same.
Frequent flyer programs are the most successful marketing innovation in history. They’ve turned marketing from a business cost center into a profit engine. The three largest U.S. airlines have mortgaged theirs for between $6.5 billion and $9.5 billion each.
Yet somehow U.S. programs seem to be playing small ball at a time they need their marketing engine the most, primarily worried that someone, somewhere might benefit too much rather than generating excitement for travel and really encouraging people to fly.
Perhaps the Straussian read is that they’re not actually comfortable marketing travel in today’s broader conditions, after all.
Maybe your offers were better, or made more sense?