The head of AAdvantage shares how you can make your loyalty more rewarding

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Today I am Sunny Fort Worth Texas at the the absolutely beautiful new headquarters of American Airlines. I am so excited to announce that I have bridget blaze Xintai. Hi As my guest today bridge. It just so happens to head. The world's largest loyalty program advantage excited to talk to her today about all things advantage advantage. And you know working at American Airlines. Bridget thank you so much for joining us. Gosh Brian thanks for having me and welcome heartily to sky view here here in Fort Worth Texas. We're delighted to have you here. New Headquarters let's just talk about this headquarters. I mean it is truly when you walk in. There's a huge engine in the ceiling. It will oh engine sort of design this is like an aviation geeks dream headquarters and actually. It's just so lighten area. Even if you're not a plane Geek you must love working here right right. Well said Brian. I think it really can Does draw in those who are aviation enthusiast with a whole host of sculptures or wall treatments or ceiling treatments. In the in the space of the engine. That you're referencing. And then those who may be decided about the industry but don't necessarily have to have a seven five seven engine in the walkway or the oversized oversight seatbelt. Do find it also superindent fighting and it's open space in the white walls and the the use of glass that allows the sun to come in just all very you know motivating even more so so. Let's talk about you know the American culture over the years has changed so you know several what is it six years ago you know merged with the US US Airways you were legacy American Airlines correct. That's right Brian. How do you describe like what is the culture of the twenty twenty American Airlines? So what I would offer you know as the A. L. Where you know am are in. US came together and formed this wonderful company. We are really striving to create an environment. Meant where we've got all hundred thirty thousand employees film like we're moving in one direction and that direction is upward in twenty nineteen the advantage program. Graham it's so much more than just rewarding people for X.. Flights that they take. How do you describe you over six hundred employees? You're running a massive business within the airline align. I sometimes joke inside. They're not frequent flyer programs anymore. They're frequent spender. Programs are frequent buyer programs. How do you think the advantage program is today versus when it first distorted in I? I love the question because so much about. This industry has evolved dramatically over the last couple of decades. And now that I think the evolutionist genesis is set to even accelerate and really at the heart of it. I think he's wonderful wonderful program in this case the advantage program which is really proven not not necessarily identified back then but certainly now as this means to engage loyal customers. And how you can keep this relationship going Wayne through the program and you do that in part through flying and how that is in terms of their personal professional needs and then hockey may engage further. Yes listen more. Commercial capacity that requires spend might be on credit card or hotel stay are coronal that a way to do that to keep engagement of customers it to me. It's not just about being customer. It's about being engaged in loyal customers to your brand when we think about evangelist. Several years there have been like the other major the airlines you know rewarding flyers based on how much they spend adding in a League qualifying tears. I know a lot of people. If we're GONNA Flyer community were very upset about at that. This is the end of the programs but it hasn't quite been that. Has It from your perspective. Like how have these new changes at reward. Frankly hire spenders in the changes changes and upgrades and things like that. How has the program changed in the last three years or four years? Would you say so. That's right Brian. So you know we all had programs that had been set a bit ago and during that period of time from when they were initially designed to really the airline models we were all running lots had changed and yet the programs were still pretty static in their design. So you know a few years ago you saw this introduction of some sort of minimum on the revenue side and do you know folks thought. Oh Gosh you know. I'm not being rewarded. It from my time. What we found is not only did our customers stay with us? The size of early poppulation grew quite handsomely. And so you know I can only describe it on what we're seeing through the data through the actual behavior of our customers and so I would conclude. It's it's all worked out for all the parties And and so you know. On the upgrade side. A lot of that really was the result of feedback we had received from customers. You know we had a really a timestamped approach to this right right. And so those who may have been able to travel further out before the reason we're actually rewarded in the queue for the upgrade A lot of our high value customers book pretty close to departure. I mean I know I never booking events because I know my travel always change. That's right so you have a fair booking. Even within their upgrade window and really they were kind of cut out from the opportunity opportunity so we really felt the need and obligation to action that feedback from these customers and then we moved to something. That's much more reflective of relative value value of our customers over a rolling twelve month period of time. I think one of the big things that has happened is like the multibillion dollar investment of most of the major airlines in the product. Right right so you know lie flat seats. There was real value their input into the product. And then frankly people have started paying more for those seats which I think ten years ago when I first started the points sky upgrades. I don't know what the percentages were airline but I'll especially domestically at Tanah people most of those flights or a lot of those people on those planes were we're getting a lead upgrades and Do you feel squeezed running the loyalty program. Now that there are more people paying for those seats to deliver on that promise to the members. I think we're in a good spot. Actually we've got first and foremost these are seats. That are for purchase right and really. The proposition has always been that if they should not prove to be sold that they're really the provided to those customers who have earned the benefit of the upgrade through consolidated into trouble with American Airlines and so while in certain cases really there's more more demand than there is supply of remaining seats without any argument. We feel like we're getting an ever better balance on being able to the direct purchase by customers because candidly. I get a lot of feedback. When we're sold out on the premium cabin and the customers I just want to buy it? And there's nothing available alongside those who would have loved to upgrade upgrade and it just wasn't there turn this time but when I look at results of upgrades Bryant remains quite lofty on success rates across all of Tares an executive platinum. One thing I do here talking to exact Platz is the system white upgrades and being able to use them. And we just saw united We just had luke bonder on this podcast. The day they announced plus points. which gives you know if you WANNA use double the amount of points now? You can confirm in advance. I would think think for exact plots confirming an advance a top priority and people have seen the availability in advance kind of dry up. Is that something that's GonNa Change or what. What are your insights on the exact system wides in so I- Offi? This upgrades have really been benefit. That really have outpunched their weight. They really Are Attractive and motivating to our customers and so for our system winds. They are quite different in industry-leading really in their design. And that you you know the may be available as soon as book them in all fair class types are eligible for the upgrade and alongside that. If you wish or choose to you may bestow that upon anyone and so we'd like the fact that they are transferable so you know for us Because of the importance of upgrades and how customers really do enjoy them even expect them. You know we're always underway with. How should we be thinking about this Again as the airline model itself continues to

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