Online travel communities such as milepoint.com and FlyerTalk.com are made up of thousands of loyal (and not so loyal) members of travel programs. While employees of the programs themselves often monitor the discussions members are having and jump in occasionally to solve a problem or clear up a misunderstanding, few programs use the online forums to directly engage members and ask them what they want. American AAdvantage recently decided to start threads on milepoint and FlyerTalk to get the opinions of their most engaged members. They posed the following question: “Imagine you could design our next AAdvantage promotion. Except for miles and upgrades (we know you’re already crazy for those!), what would you choose as the reward?”
Members responded to the brainstorming session enthusiastically and came up with some interesting and creative awards, such as putting the member’s name on a first class seat or a promotion that allows members to book an AAnytime award without capacity controls for the cost of a MileSAAver. Other awards suggested included Admiral’s Lounge day passes, the opportunity to “rollover” elite qualifying miles to the following year or the option to redeem miles for baggage fees.
Bottom line: Even if American AAdvantage doesn’t decide to use any of the ideas offered by members, asking them for feedback is a great way to engage members and to generate new ideas. Maybe the next AAdvantage promotion will offer an award that was suggested by one of its members.