Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel subsidiary, announced a strategic cooperation with American Airlines, which includes the establishment of franchise stores on Fliggy and membership plans for both sides.
American Airlines has more airplanes than any commercial aviation company in the world. Its membership program is the world’s largest airline program for regular customers. From February, Fliggy members can apply for AAdvantage on the official website of Fliggy or on its app.
According to the cooperation agreement signed by Fliggy and American Airlines, Fliggy F1, F2 and F3 members will have access to AAdvantage. F1 members can get a priority boarding pass for American Airlines’ economy class. F2 members qualify for an AAdvantage Gold Card membership, which offers a 50 percent discount on seat selection and priority in security checks and boarding. F3 members can enjoy an AAdvantage Platinum membership, which includes free seat selection and priority in security checks, boarding and luggage pick up. Future cooperation includes accepting Alipay as a payment method.
Hu Chengjie, vice president of Alibaba group and vice president of Fliggy, said competition in traditional travel channels is stable, but competition in the Internet space is just beginning. For airline companies, those who can deliver valuable product information to the “right target” can get ahead of the competition. “Relying on the big data and technical advantages of Alibaba, Fliggy has access to Taobao’s 500 million members. Fliggy can help airlines to understand customer characteristics, to achieve precise marketing and to provide consumers with more desirable services and goods.”
According to data from the US Department of Commerce, increasing air connections between China and the US, as well as the 10-year visa program, have led to an increase in US-bound Chinese tourists for the past 13 years. In 2016, 3 million Chinese tourists visited the US.
Shane Hodges, vice president of American Airlines Asia Pacific Region, said partnership with Fliggy has changed how the American Airlines membership scheme is applied in China. It will provide more flight options for Fliggy users who commute between China and the US.