Company sprouts from BA Airmiles

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Airmiles, the rewards program owned by British Airways, is launching a new company devoted to managing white label loyalty programs for other businesses.

The Mileage Company, which went public this week, will run the existing Airmiles program and British Airways' frequent flier program, BA Miles. It has yet to announce any other clients, but expects to begin devel­oping or managing other frequent flier and rewards programs within the year. The Mileage Company will provide clients with research and loyalty analytics, CRM and accounting expertise.

“We've noticed… since the recession has really started to bite [that] loyalty points are more valuable to customers, and loyalty schemes are more valuable to businesses who are looking for ways of keeping cus­tomers loyal,” said Andrew Swaffield, man­aging director, The Mileage Company. “So there's an opportunity for us to provide an expert service to other companies in run­ning a loyalty scheme for them.”

The Mileage Company will use some major lessons gleaned from its time in the business to drive strategy for its new clients, such as sticking to the tenets that successful reward schemes must be simple and consistent, with rewards that are attainable. It also will use its particular expertise in the travel arena to woo new clients from that industry.

Outside of the US, Swaffield said, fre­quent flier programs are largely undevel­oped, and so airlines could benefit from outsourcing those programs to The Mileage Company. Because it is owned by British Airways, the company will have access to the airline's stock of unsold seats as part of its rewards offering.

The program has signed 45,000 new cus­tomers since January — a higher-than-usual growth rate. BA Miles and Airmiles together claim 4 million active members.

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