60 Seconds with Tomas Hrdlick, Senior Manager Loyalty Programmes & CRM of Czech Airlines

60 Seconds with Tomas Hrdlick, Senior Manager Loyalty  Programmes & CRM of Czech Airlines

Czech Airlines operates four different loyalty programs: Frequent Flyer OK Plus for individual customers, Frequent Buyer OK Plus Corporate for SME customers, Jetsters Club for children and Frequent Seller OK Plus Partner for managers and agents from IATA travel agencies. We recently got in touch with Tomas Hrdlicka, Senior Manager Loyalty Programmes & CRM to ask a few questions.

InsideFlyer
How many members do you have? How many are Jetsters Club members?
Tomas Hrdlicka
We currently have 460,000 OK Plus members, almost 7,000 companies in OK Plus Corporate, 3,000 members of OK Plus Partner and almost 5,000 Jetsters Club members. The number of OK Plus members is still growing–we increased membership by more than 23 percent in 2009 versus 2008.

IF
Do you have many members based outside of the Czech Republic? Why would a business traveler outside the Czech Republic choose OK Plus as their primary airline in the SkyTeam alliance?
Hrdlicka
It is more than 59 percent and still growing. Our Prague hub is perfect for European connections and that is why we want to serve even more transit passengers. When business travelers outside the Czech Republic choose OK Plus as their primary program they will benefit from unlimited mileage validity when they fly (or have any earning activity in their account) at least once every 24 months. They can earn miles from all SkyTeam coded flights (not only SkyTeam coded/operated), redeem flexible awards without service fees and with free changes, 200 percent class-of-service bonuses in business class and exclusive airport standby upgrades on Czech Airlines flights.

IF
We noticed your Member Get a Member promotion, how long has this promotion been offered? Can you tell us a little more about it? Are the miles you can earn through this promotion limited?
Hrdlicka
We have offered the Member get Member promotion since January 2007. It is very cost effective and helps us find new active FFP members. OK Plus members can earn miles for their recommendations only after the first active transaction on the new member’s account appears. This is the reason why the promotion is not limited–if you are able to find active members you can earn an unlimited number of your miles. I do not know of a better member acquisition than a recommendation from family, friends or business partners who use our service.

IF
We also noticed online that you are offering 1,000 bonus miles for online booking. Is this an ongoing offer? Why so generous?
Hrdlicka
Yes, it is an ongoing offer to support our sales, especially Internet sales. The reason why is that we still need to teach our customers from Central and Eastern Europe about online services and how they can benefit. Web booking, check-in and mileage claims are still in very low percentages. Also, with online services, we of course save on distribution and handling costs.

IF
What are some of the more popular and unusual award offers from OK Plus?
Hrdlicka
Definitely popular for more than 10 years, are our airport standby upgrades for Silver, Gold and Platinum members. Platinum members can call us 24 hours before their flight to be confirmed. Otherwise, we upgrade all eligible OK Plus elite members at the gate if we have empty seats in business class. Even now, with restrictive company travel policies preventing travelers from buying business tickets, we give our frequent flyer premium passengers the possibility to fly in business class. This is a strong motivation for business travelers to fly with Czech Airlines. Other nice and unusual awards we offer are the flight Simulator awards (three types are available: A320, B737 and ATR) and balloon flights.

IF
Do you have any new partnerships in the works that you can tell us about? Are you actively looking for new partners?
Hrdlicka
Yes, we are always looking for new partnership opportunities according to our customers’ wishes. We are very close to finalizing an agreement with two new airline partners–Vietnam Airlines and TAROM. These partnerships will open up new earning and redemption options for our members. We are also working on a new co-branded credit card for the Russian market.

IF
Regarding your credit card partnerships, what are some of the most compelling benefits of card membership?
Hrdlicka
We have classic earning bonuses such as a welcome bonus of up to 20,000 miles, which is equal to an award ticket to select European destinations. But the biggest advantage is our credit card portfolio–our members can choose between three co-branded credit cards that suit their needs best. Currently we offer Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club cards with our partners.

IF
What can members expect from their OK Plus membership in 2010?
Hrdlicka
This year, we introduced the possibility to buy and transfer miles online. And new gifts in our online shop were launched in March together with 11 new delivery markets. We are planning a redesign of our Diners Club co-branded card and a product upgrade with the Visa co-branded card with UniCredit Bank. And of course, new airline and non-airlines partners will be added. We will do our best to improve the OK Plus program and keep it attractive in every way–even during the current global economic crisis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *