60 Seconds with Steve Mathwig of Midwest Miles

60 Seconds with Steve Mathwig of Midwest Miles

Midwest Airlines has been in the news lately and there are some major changes happening to the airline that turned 25 years old this past June. The Midwest Miles loyalty program has been around for 23 years and currently has 1,200,000 active members. We spoke with Steve Mathwig, Director, Loyalty Marketing, about the upcoming changes and whether there is any danger that the beloved chocolate chip cookies will disappear as a result of the change in airline ownership.

InsideFlyer
There’s lots of big news coming from Midwest Airlines, starting with being bought out by Republic Airways Holdings, Inc. Can you tell us a little about this new chapter for Midwest?
Steve Mathwig
It certainly is a new chapter in our 25-year history as we look to continue to build on our unique heritage of service and community commitment. Republic’s acquisition of Midwest will help secure our future as a strong brand in the industry and help us grow. Republic is a successful organization and strategic airline partner that can bring operational and cost efficiencies to Midwest to help us write the next 25 years of our history.

IF
You have a couple of new airline partnerships. Can you tell us about these? Who, what, why, when?
Mathwig
We’re really excited about the new partnerships that we are beginning with Delta Air Lines and Frontier Airlines. Our relationship with both carriers includes a codeshare program and a fully reciprocal (earn and redeem) frequent flyer partnership. Through these new partners, our Midwest Miles members will enjoy the addition of many more exciting award redemption and mileage accrual destinations worldwide. The Delta codeshare program is currently underway and the frequent flyer benefits on Delta will begin in Q4 following the integration of the SkyMiles and WorldPerks programs. We’re planning to launch the Frontier codeshare and frequent flyer partnership in September. We’ll be providing exact dates and details to our members as we get closer to launch.

IF
Along with the new partnerships how might the new owners make changes to the Midwest Miles program?
Mathwig
At this point we have not discussed any specific changes to the program with Republic. They have been very supportive of our business plan and the work we’ve done to manage our Midwest Airlines brand and our frequent flyer program. I know they are exploring options to restore or enhance service to various cities, which will increase the earning and redemption opportunities for our members. There are also a few technology projects we have in the pipeline for the program which could accelerate as a result of Republic’s support.

IF
Will there be any changes to your Barclays MasterCard co-branded credit card program?
Mathwig
Our Midwest Airlines MasterCard program will continue to play a strong role in our program and we don’t anticipate any changes outside those required by legislative and regulatory changes affecting all other cards and card issuers. The folks at Barclays and MasterCard have been very supportive of the program and we’ll continue to work with them on creating value added benefits for our cardholders as well as new acquisition offers and card products to meet the various needs of our customers.

IF
Whenever a major change happens to an airline, we get questions from members who are afraid that their miles might disappear. What should we tell Midwest Miles members who ask if their miles are safe?
Mathwig
Members can rest assured that their Midwest Miles are safe. If anything, the value of those miles will increase as a result of the new Delta and Frontier partnerships I described earlier.

IF
Midwest Airlines has won Best Customer Service for four consecutive years at the Freddie Awards. Why do you think Midwest consistently receives such high marks for customer service?
Mathwig
Exceptional customer service is really the foundation that we’ve built this airline on these past 25 years. Our Midwest Miles customer service staff does a truly remarkable job responding to customer inquiries. They consistently seek out creative solutions and provide options that meet our members’ needs. Our culture and our people … that’s the secret to our success.

IF
And everyone wants to know, what’s going to happen with the chocolate chip cookies?
Mathwig
This is usually the FIRST question everyone asks, but the answer is always the same … the cookies will remain!

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