Finnair could soon recognise its most highly valued travellers with new better-than-Platinum frequent flyer tiers in the Finnair Plus program.
The upscaled loyalty level would provide even greater benefits than offered to ‘regular’ Platinum members – and an even higher further invitation-only level hasn’t been ruled out.
“We are very much thinking about how to, in a better way, recognise the top, top-tier customers on our flights at every touchpoint,” Finnair’s Senior Vice President Strategy and Resource Management, Ville Iho, shares with Australian Business Traveller.
“We have some plans to renew the top tier levels (in the Finnair Plus program), but it’s a bit too early to discuss that in detail,” Iho continues.
Finnair wouldn’t be the first Oneworld alliance airline to adopt an invitation-only VIP program: the Qantas Chairmans Lounge, American Airlines ConciergeKey, British Airways Premier and Cathay Pacific Diamond Invitation schemes already target influencers and corporate executives.
“That seems to be, at least, a small trend in the industry,” Iho says of airlines introducing ‘Very VIP’ tiers.
“But of course we also need to consider the market segments, and the levels, and that’s something we’ve been discussing and we continue to discuss: and will come up with that plan if and when we are ready,” he affirms.
Finnair has already begun tweaking its frequent flyer program to remain internationally competitive in lowering the requirements to reach the existing Silver, Gold and Platinum levels, but in turn is removing perks like free lounge access for Silver-grade flyers from August 1, 2016.
Having fewer travellers eligible for year-round lounge access will, however, help to relieve crowding during peak periods: improving the experience on the ground for the airline’s higher-tier guests.
“At the moment we’re considering a separate area for Platinum members (within our lounges),” explains Minna Väätäinen, Finnair’s Manager of Passenger Services (Lounges), “but there are currently some issues with that.”
“So if we cannot offer a special place, or a separate place, we want to do our best to have our customers enjoy their visit, and make themselves feel special in the lounge,” Väätäinen concludes.
Chris Chamberlin is visiting Helsinki as a guest of Finnair.
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