This is the kind of news that should make a fuss. Avios travel reward currency has announced its partnership with Auchan Retail Italia’s loyalty program, Latua!Card, which will give customers the chance to convert Latua!Card points in Avios.

I’ll explain it better. Avios Group (AGL) Limited, chaired in Italy by the Country Manager Pier Paolo Bucalo, manages the international reward currency for the loyalty programs of several airlines including Meridiana Club, British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus.

Beginning in March 2017, the members of these loyalty programs residing in Italy can get Avios points also by shopping at over 1,000 outlets – including Auchan hypermarkets, Simply supermarkets and Lillapois stores – in 18 Italian regions, getting one Avios point every two Latua!Card points, to be used for a number of Avios travel rewards including flights, hotel nights and car rentals.

Customers can already collect and use Avios points within their Meridiana Club, British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus programs, benefiting from both the global reach of the Avios currency and the access to the several international routes of Meridiana, British Airways, Iberia as well as the oneworld partner companies.

So far, you say, there is nothing really new. It is not the first time that loyalty to a large-scale retail chain is awarded with travel services.

What’s really new, actually, takes over right from here, from the mechanism of this program involving airlines which are very active in business travel.

No one has ever said, in fact, that the owners of Latua!Card get always to be just leisure travellers. Even business travellers do their shopping. Even corporate buyers, who spend at least three months a year travelling the world to attend workshops and exhibitions, go to the supermarket. And the frequent flyer cards with which to convert the travelled miles in free tickets are nominal, not corporate.

The thing should be clear by now: the buyer/business traveller John Smith, owner of an Auchan loyalty card, once reached a certain amount of points may decide to convert them in miles for his next business trip. And his reference airline company won’t certainly deny this, since the purpose of the journey for which the customer requires the conversion is totally indifferent to it. The same mechanism also applies to flights that are not directly booked by Mr. Smith, namely those for Mice workshops or exhibitions, usually cared by the promoter. While, in these cases, the purchase isn’t proceeded by the buyer, those who organize these events – and therefore buy airline tickets – often ask the buyer to indicate on which flight he/she would like to leave and on which he/she would like to return.

Our John Smith, at this point, will just indicate one of the companies included in his loyalty program.

And, once back from a large number of medium-long haul trips, he will just have to go to the supermarket, buy a pack of snacks or so, and here it is – a free return flight for a dreamy holiday.

To put it shortly – the meeting industry has officially entered the supermarkets.

It was time, wasn’t it?



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