America Online, Inc. (NYSE: AOL) and American Airlines (NYSE: AMR) today announced the creation of AOL AAdvantage, the world’s largest online customer loyalty program. With a single point, click and buy, millions of people will be able to benefit from a wide selection of redemption opportunities, including consumer products, AOL service, air travel, and more. Under the three-year agreement, the two companies also will launch a multi-million-dollar cross-marketing campaign to their millions of members.
AOL AAdvantage will bring together America Online’s AOL Rewards(SM) Program and the American AAdvantage Program, providing a host of new benefits for current AOL members, AAdvantage members and new participants. The program will feature a wide variety of products and services from partners of AOL AAdvantage.
AOL AAdvantage will be operated by a joint management team from American Airlines and AOL’s Digital Marketing Services (DMS) division. DMS is a pioneer of online incentive programs and has operated the AOL Rewards Program on America Online since 1996.
In addition, America Online also announced today an alliance with Netcentives Inc. (Nasdaq: NCNT), a leading developer of e-marketing infrastructure software and services, under which Netcentives’ rewards technology will become the exclusive support infrastructure for AOL AAdvantage, enabling the network to easily accommodate increasing numbers of members and commerce partners.
We are essentially creating a whole new currency for the online generation,” said Don Carty, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines. “By teaming the first and largest frequent flyer program with the world leader in interactive services, we’re establishing a powerful new brand that we think will change the face of e-commerce.”
Bob Pittman, President and Chief Operating Officer of America Online, Inc., said: “AOL AAdvantage is a major advance in our commitment to further expand the value of AOL membership. What’s especially exciting about the AOL AAdvantage program is that it will give the growing number of consumers who buy both online and offline easy and convenient opportunities to earn and spend miles wherever they shop.”
Our AAdvantage members will find it easier than ever to earn miles—both online and offline—and will find more exciting opportunities to spend them as we work with AOL to add merchant partners and the online platform to AOL AAdvantage,” said Mike Gunn, American’s Executive Vice President of Marketing and Planning, and chief architect of AAdvantage.
Ted Leonsis, President of AOL Interactive Properties, said: “AOL AAdvantage unites the world’s largest incentive marketing program with the world’s leader in interactive services to create a rewards program that will reach millions of online and offline consumers. The interactive medium brings many unique benefits to rewards programs, including easy and fast redemption of miles in amounts large and small. By working with American Airlines, it is our hope that AOL AAdvantage will give AOL members the chance to participate in a rewards program with the most flexibility and value available anywhere.”
Agreement Expands Consumer Choices
When the program launches in Spring 2000, members will be able to easily redeem AOL AAdvantage miles from a single account balance easily accessible through both AOL and the Web that can be used for a wide range of goods and services, including:
** Travel on American Airlines and its worldwide network of AAdvantage partners, including members of the oneworld alliance;
** AOL membership fees;
** Brand-name items including videos, CDs, magazines, books and appliances;
** Online rewards like free music downloads and premium digital greeting cards to send to friends and relatives.
In addition to earning miles by traveling on American Airlines and its airline partners, members will be able to earn miles by:
** Shopping with commerce partners available through the AOL service and other AOL brands including CompuServe, Digital City, Netscape and AOL.COM as well as a selection of AAdvantage partners;
** Buying from a worldwide network of airline, hotel, restaurant, rental car, and other goods and services merchants;
** Enrolling in various services available on AOL brands, such as the “You’ve Got Pictures” program and “My Calendar”; and
** Participating in opinion polls and surveys on noteworthy current events.
Major Marketing Campaign Planned
As part of the agreement, the two companies will also take advantage of the combined marketing clout of their popular brands to promote AOL AAdvantage in a wide array of online and offline venues. Promotions of AOL AAdvantage will be featured in airports and American Airlines planes, as well on AOL’s online properties, and in other communications from each of the two companies, as part of a multi-million dollar campaign over the next three years.
The official AOL AAdvantage launch is scheduled for Spring 2000. Currently, consumers can find information about participating in the program by going to the AOL AAdvantage preview site at www.AOLAAdvantage.com, or to AOL Keyword: AOL AAdvantage.