Required Reading for Frequent Flyers
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60 Seconds with Mette Ostargaard of SAS EuroBonus
[Mar 2011 Issue]
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We recently spoke with Mette Ostargaard of SAS EuroBonus. EuroBonus currently has 2.7 million members and the program estimates that their member base includes approximately half of all Scandinavia's highest income individuals.

InsideFlyer
What's new with EuroBonus?
Mette Ostargaard
EuroBonus has undergone some major improvements lately! On the redemption side we made it possible to book any flight with SAS Group (SAS, Blue1 and Wideroe) for points, we introduced the possibility to book one-way awards and we also launched our online reward shop. On the accrual side we have broadened the program considerably and it is now possible to earn points with partners not only when travelling, but also when going grocery shopping, buying clothes and shopping online. We also introduced qualifying flights, which means that members become Silver after 20 one-way flights with SAS Group, and Gold after 40 flights. So in short, it is easier than ever for our members to earn points, use points and reach higher membership levels. On the redemption side we have our MatchMe tool, which provides members with award options based on how many points they have. On the accrual side we have, for example, had great success with the SAS EuroBonus Forecast Challenge, which invites members to forecast their travel for the upcoming months and then rewards them if they reach or surpass this goal. The higher the goal, the higher the reward for reaching it.

IF
Can you tell us something about SAS standby upgrade awards?
Ostargaard
Members can request an upgrade for points at check-in or at the gate. The upgrade can be requested regardless of which class the member travels in, and points will be deducted and the member upgraded, provided that there is space and meals available in the upgrade class. But we are also in the process of making it possible for members to request an upgrade and receive a confirmation in advance. While the standby upgrade entitles the member to fly in a higher service class onboard, using the confirmed upgrade will also entitle the member to the benefits of the higher class at the airport. This possibility already exists for upgrades from Economy Extra to business, but we also wish to make it possible to request a confirmed upgrade from economy.

IF
Free award flights are always the most popular award option. Can you tell us a few more popular award options for EuroBonus miles?
Ostargaard
Award flights are indeed the most popular award options, and have become even more popular since we introduced one-way awards and the possibility to book any seat with SAS for points. But hotel stays are also very popular and have had a tremendous growth since we made them bookable online, and car rental awards and the online award shop are also developing very well.

IF
We noticed that the SAS EuroBonus Shop features a slider with every item so that shoppers can choose to spend all points, all cash or a combination of the two. How have members responded to this flexibility?
Ostargaard
The slider and the option to combine points and cash to purchase your awards has been in the online shop from the very beginning, and we actually have the same slider when members book any seat awards with SAS Group as well. Because 20 percent of purchases in the award shop include a cash component, we consider this an important feature to ensure that even members with a few points on their accounts have a possibility to use them, and keep redemption on a high level.

IF
Any new partnerships in the works that you can tell us about?
Ostargaard
Our partnership with the loyalty program Trumf is an important one to mention, since it allows our members to earn points when grocery shopping at Norgesgruppen's stores (the largest retail food chain in Norway) and buying petrol at Shell. We are also about to launch a partnership with the famous Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten. But in the past year, EuroBonus has entered into more than one new partnership every month, and we have dozens of ongoing discussions with interesting prospective partners, so by the time you read this the information might already be outdated.

IF
How does EuroBonus stand out as the frequent flyer program to choose for frequent business travelers?
Ostargaard
EuroBonus is the leading frequent flyer program in the Nordic countries, regardless if you travel for business or leisure. The broadening of the EuroBonus program means that our members can earn points for rewards faster than ever, both while travelling and at home. And the possibility to reach higher membership levels not only by earning basic points, but also by flying a number of qualifying flights with SAS Group, has made it possible also for the frequent short-haul traveler to quickly become Silver or Gold and enjoy the associated service benefits.

Silver members, for example, earn even more points when flying with SAS Group, have access to the 24-hour SAS Service hotline, receive the exclusive Seasons travel magazine and can check in 10kg extra luggage on SAS Group flights. Gold members are guaranteed a seat on an SAS Group flight up to 48 hours before departure, and have access to fast track and lounges. Our premium members can also receive benefits from our partners, such as discounts on car rentals, room upgrades at hotels and waived annual fees on payment cards.

So in short, EuroBonus will allow both the frequent business traveler and all other members the possibility to quickly and easily get rewarded for their loyalty to SAS and our partners, and put a silver lining both on their business travel and their spare time. Or a gold lining, for that matter.


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