Air Miles expanding Middle East footprint

Air Miles, the Middle East’s only true multi-participant coalition
loyalty programme, will embark on an aggressive regional rollout which
will see it launch operations in Lebanon and Bahrain by the year end.Already present in UAE and Qatar, and boasting more than a million
members, Air Miles, which is managed by Rewards Management Middle East
(RMMEL), expects to add an additional 100,000 members in the first year
from new markets with a further 20% annual growth predicted till the end
of the decade.

The news came during a visit to the Middle East by Air Miles’ founder,
Sir Keith Mills, who is in Dubai to celebrate the company’s regional
fifth anniversary.

‘As the Middle East’s retail sector continues to flourish it makes sense
for Air Miles to expand its operations across the region,’ said Mills,
who was recently heralded as the architect behind London’s successful
2012 Olympic bid.

‘Air Miles has a long standing history and leveraging its international
best business practices and wide knowledge base, it will continue to be
the region’s top loyalty programme. ‘With a predicted 250% rise in retail gross leaseable area
by 2010, the Middle East is a shopper’s dream. This is exactly where Air
Miles, as a coalition loyalty programme offering aspirational rewards,
can help members make the most of their daily spend.’ 

‘The power of the coalition allows members to reach that special treat
quicker. Programmes which can keep their fingers on the pulse and offer
members what they’re looking for will continue to flourish in this


Air Miles, which is free to join, has aligned with strategic players in
Bahrain such as HSBC and the Jawad Group and will bring an additional 30
participants online from leading fashion, supermarket, petrol retail and
travel & exchange brands.

‘This loyalty programme is unique because it not only incorporates a
wide range of brands but it focuses on getting the best names for the
consumer. This is what we have achieved in Bahrain by partnering with
HSBC and the Jawad Group,’ said Dave Battiston, CEO, RMMEL.

‘We look at bringing anchor brands that are highly accessible to the
customer, offer a sound product mix and raise the Air Miles profile.
This strategy has been instrumental in the highly successful development
of Air Miles both here and abroad.’

The loyalty programme operator is entering Lebanon, as a first phase,
through its strategic partner HSBC. Already managing the bank’s regional
Premier Rewards Programme, RMMEL will be extending this programme to all
HSBC credit card holders.

Air Miles has also earmarked Saudi Arabia as the next key market for it
to enter.

‘Saudi Arabia is unquestionably the Middle East’s largest retail market
and it is one that cannot be ignored,’ added Battiston. ‘With a
considerable consumer spending force, the Saudi market is one we will
enter in the medium term. We already have strong interest and
commitments from local and regional market leaders, who would be the
right strategic partners for both our customers and the brand.’