American Airlines, British Airways promote loyalty contest through social media

American Airlines and British Airways began promoting the “Miles Millionaire” loyalty contest on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on April 12 to acquire new program members. The contest, developed by OgilvyOne, is targeting existing American Airlines AAdvantage and British Airways Executive Club members, as well as prospective members.

The campaign is the first joint US promotion from the two airlines for frequent fliers. The two companies partnered in October to give frequent flier points to any consumer who flies transatlantic on either airline. The companies also aligned fare structures and schedules to make transfers between each airline easier last year.

Loyalty members who register for the promotion will earn 20,000 AAdvantage or British Airways Executive Club bonus miles for every eligible trip booked in full-fare economy class or above. Once travel is completed, customers will receive a contest entry email where they can submit an essay answering the question, “If you were cured of the ‘Wanderlust’ with 1 million miles, where would you go and what would you do there?”

“The overall objective of the campaign is to retain customers,” said Alicia Muzyka, manager of customer insight and engagement at the British Airways Executive Club in North America. “But it’s also to promote the new partnership, as well as create buzz and excitement in the market. We want our customers to choose British Airways or American Airlines over the competition.”

Two essay submissions from each loyalty program will be picked as essay contest winners. The authors will receive 1 million frequent flier miles after contestants and the general public choose four winners to become “Miles Millionaires.”

Muzyka also said the social element of the campaign will “create buzz over new media” and that British Airways would “see how [the new media] produces for us.”

John McDonald, executive marketing director at OgilvyOne, said the social aspect of the campaign will also “make the promotion ubiquitous.” He said social media will “make it easier for customers” and “increase participation.”

Collecting customer information to remarket is another reason the companies decided to extend the campaign to social media.

“We have triggers set up so customers get information from British Airways,” said Muzyka. “[The company will forward info] about our executive club or any promotions that fit their segment. This campaign may not pertain to them at this point but we will target them with future promotions.”

“Customers who sign up and don’t fly immediately will be re-engaged,” said Jennifer McEuen, senior marketing analyst for the AAdvantage Program.

Existing loyalty program members received email outreach for the campaign beginning April 6. The essay submission period ends July 15.

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