Why Avios chose Fidel API to cut friction and build a better global rewards programme

With the Digital Product Manager at Avios

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Travel Rewards
Over 7.7M
Products used

Avios is the global currency of travel. It turns everyday spending into travel and leisure rewards for almost 8 million customers around the world. If you’ve ever shopped at a Tesco, filled your car up at Shell, stayed at a Hilton Hotel, or flown with Aer Lingus, you’ll be familiar with Avios.

Cutting friction for global customers

In late 2017, with their sights set on further global expansion, Avios noticed an issue. While UK customers could link their payment cards and earn Avios points for online purchases, they couldn’t earn points on in-store purchases. The points they did earn could take months to be rewarded – and for customers outside the UK, things were even more complicated. Those customers had to log into their Avios accounts, search for offers manually, and be redirected to the retailer’s website before they could complete their purchase. The additional steps were adding too much friction, so Avios looked to streamline.

The lack of functionality outside the UK was also causing another problem. Irish airline Aer Lingus was set to join the Avios programme imminently. They wanted to increase loyalty by offering customers Avios points on Aer Lingus flights, as well as on everyday purchases at participating retailers. But Reward, Avios’ existing card-linking provider, was UK-based only – meaning Aer Lingus wouldn’t be able to use their product.

And there was a third challenge. Operating a global reward programme meant Avios would have to comply with different data handling regulations in each geography. To prevent additional complexity and remove the compliance burden, Avios looked for a way to avoid handling and storing customer payment data.

“Working with Fidel API has been and continues to be fast and effortless! They understand our key challenges and aspirations, and they are continuously finding innovative and creative ways to allow our customers and partners to get the most from Avios.”

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Building a rewarding customer journey beyond borders

Avios’ Digital Product Manager was tasked with addressing these challenges. He began by looking for a partner that would allow Avios customers outside the UK to link their payment card and earn points. Fidel API’s global partnerships with the three major card schemes (Visa©, Mastercard© and Amex©) was crucial. It meant that international customers could easily link their payment cards to Avios, without Avios needing to worry about PCI compliance or regulatory risks.

Avios used Fidel’s API to integrate card-linking with their internal systems in just 4 weeks – in time for Aer Lingus’ onboarding. Aer Lingus hadn’t yet cemented any partnerships with local retailers, so the Fidel API Partnership team worked with them to identify and partner with local retailers, including Grafton Barbers, Hotel Merrion and Oliver Bonas. In a matter of weeks, Aer Lingus was up and running, with customers able to easily link their cards and earn points for flights and purchases.

Now when a customer signs up to Avios, they’re prompted to link their card using Fidel API’s SDK. It only takes a couple of clicks. Then, they’re shown offers from local retailers where they can spend to earn Avios points. There’s no need to activate or claim an offer – when the customer makes a purchase with their linked payment card, they’re automatically rewarded with Avios points. Those points can then be exchanged for flights with airlines like Aer Lingus or Iberia.

In the year since launching, Aer Lingus has grown its customer base of card-linked members twelve-fold — an increase of over one thousand percent since the launch of their card-linked program in July 2018.

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