Over the past 12 months, Emirates Skywards has been applying data-driven insights to increase member engagement and delivering more personalised and targeted offers using predictive data modelling. It is always a challenge to get any communication between a business and a customer correct, but Dr Nejib Ben Khedher, senior vice president of Emirates Skywards says its efforts have been well received by its members.
"Using data science, we were able to recognise and reward our frequent flyers with really timely and relevant offers. The offers generated 13 times the response rate as compared to standard offers and showed a sustainable change in member engagement," he explains.
The Emirates Skywards programme has developed global appeal and the airline’s home market of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is now only its fifth largest country base with 1.4 million members. Ahead are the United Kingdom, its largest membership at 2.6 million, followed by the United States of America (USA) with 1.8 million members. Australia has 1.7 million members and India with 1.4 million members.
“The programme has evolved in the 17 years since its inception in line with changing travel and lifestyle habits,” explains Dr Nejib Ben Khedher. “We provide a wide array of earn and redeem options across a number of categories: travel, retail and lifestyle and across geographies, leveraging more than 100 partners worldwide.”
To keep the programme modern Emirates says its range of global and local Skywards partners are “continually refreshed and expanded” to cater to the broad and diverse membership base. The programme therefore “stays relevant to its members” and provides value through an increasing focus on local partnerships and personalised offers.
Its most recent financial co-branded card for example was launched with Standard Chartered Bank in Pakistan, taking the total number of financial partners in various markets to 13. In the last year, it also added partners such as Mileslife, the airline miles-earning app, in China and Singapore, increasing Miles accumulation options for members and creating a seamless lifestyle experience.
In 2017, Emirates says Skywards members redeemed a whopping 35 billion Miles on reward flights, hotels stays and exclusive access to the biggest events worldwide. Members also redeemed 9,000 tickets to 50 events including attending European Football matches, Formula 1 races and the ATP Tour through the airline’s global sports sponsorships.
Emirates Skywards programme membership is free. Besides flight rewards and upgrades, members can earn and redeem Skywards Miles through over 100 programme partners including airlines, hotels and retail and lifestyle outlets. Members also enjoy ‘money-can’t-buy’ experiences at popular events worldwide and access to 41 Emirates lounges in major cities worldwide. Other benefits include lounge access, priority check-in and boarding and special privileges for Wi-Fi and advanced seat selection on board.