Spirit boosts loyalty program with online mall

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Spirit Airlines has added to its loyalty program with the launch of the Free Spirit Mall.

An online shopping site accessible through the Spirit homepage, the Free Spirit Mall features more than 450 merchants. By shopping at the mall, Spirit loyalty program members can earn discounts and mileage rewards from the airline. The Free Spirit Mall is powered by loyalty shopping company Mall Networks.

“This is just another way for Spirit to reach out to customers,” said Misty Pinson, Spirit's director of communications. “With online spending going up year after year, this is a way for Spirit to capitalize on that online spend and to offer something valuable back to our online customers.”

The mall shows special promotions from the merchant partners, which include Apple, BarnesandNoble.com, CircuitCity.com and Lands' End. Rewards are determined on a merchant-by-merchant basis, meaning each dollar spent could earn shoppers various amounts of miles, depending on where they shop.

To promote the opening of the mall, Spirit is holding a “Quarter-Million Mile Giveaway.” The giveaway is a chance for Free Spirit Mall shoppers to win 100 bonus miles with their first $100 purchase. Spirit is also adding information about the Free Spirit Mall to its direct e-mail communications with members, which go out regularly.

“Since we're a low-cost airline, we don't have a big ad budget, so we do a lot of direct marketing to customers and free spirit members,” Pinson said of the company's marketing strategy. “When customers are online booking tickets, we show them information and different promotions online.”

Only Free Spirit members can shop at the online mall, which requires shoppers to sign in before browsing products at individual stores. Previously, the airline's 1.6 million Free Spirit members could only earn miles by using a Free Spirit MasterCard online or in brick-and-mortar stores or by purchasing tickets and other goods directly from the airline.

Mall Networks, which powers the Free Spirit Mall, has also worked with JPMorgan Chase, Upromise, Verizon and Virgin.

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