Australian loyalty development and consulting firm Qantas Loyalty figured the market might be ripe for a program that rewards businesses with frequent flyer miles, which normally are awarded only to individuals. Qantas noted that a significant portion of its 10 million Qantas Frequent Flyer program members are owners of small- or medium-size companies; those individuals earn three times more frequent flyer miles than the average member, yet they earned nothing for their companies even though the companies are footing the bills.
Qantas Loyalty decided to create a rewards program specifically for businesses, especially small- and medium-size companies, with the goal of attracting and retaining 40,000 new business customers in the first 12 months.
In March, Qantas launched the Aquire program to reward business owners for everyday business expenses such as car rentals, parking, insurance, banking fees, recruitment costs and office supplies. Member companies earn airline rewards for their qualified spending, while their owners and employees who are Qantas Frequent Flyer members simultaneously continue to earn those Qantas Points. And if the flights were purchased with an affiliated credit card, then members would earn points in three ways for a single flight.
Aquire business members also earn points and special offers when conducting business with members of the Acquire partner network, which includes companies such as Avis, Deloitte Private and Gio Business Insurance. They can convert their Aquire Points at a rate of one-to-one to Qantas Points and redeem them for airline flights or upgrades, as well as any item in the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, including hotel stays, personal experiences and gifts.
Aquire member companies also can reward their employees with points in the form of bonuses or rewards.
In its first year, Aquire has beaten Qantas’ expectations on several measures. It hit its target of 40,000 member businesses five months earlier than its goal, and at the end of 12 months exceeded 60,000 members. More than half of those members have already earned rewards. Businesses with Aquire memberships have flown, on average, significantly more segments than those without, and Aquire earns annual membership fees from them as well.
In addition, the Aquire monthly newsletter has a 50% open rate, and more than 20 business partners signed on in industries such as insurance, banking and rental cars. Finally, market research and member feedback have offered positive assessments of Aquire.