Airline Frequent Flyer Program Re-positioning

Brand Strategy

Member base +60% to 2 million members in under two years

NPS +32% in 24 months



In the late 1980s - likewise many other European airlines - KLM introduced her global frequent flyer program. Ten years later, the program had over 1 million global members.

Situation - The frequent flyer program had grown organically and through partners to over one million members over a period of 10 years. However, the program overheads were expanding annually while the value added contribution to KLMs P&L was not obvious.

Taco Nieuwenhuijsen - Founder of eMs - was requested to propel a change program for the central Loyalty department, to enhance the performance of the frequent flyer program, and to introduce CRM to the company.

Solution - The first priority was to align the loyalty program content with the customer decision-making criteria and appreciation of airline loyalty programs. This was followed by an alignment of the business processes along the customer experience journey. The third stage was a functional reorganization and a program repositioning which became the blueprint of the program as it is known today.

eMs Contribution - The brand repositioning program was kicked off into three directions. Firstly, the customer experience journey, and all program processes were mapped, visualized in flow diagrams and charts, and detailed. Secondly, the whole customer database was scrutinized and analyzed to identify crosslinks between loyalty tiers, travel patterns and customer contribution/LTV. Thirdly, a mind map of the whole program was drawn up to ensure all aspects of the program were covered and grouped in a logical manner.

Consequently, a Pan European positioning study was conducted which resulted into the complete re-positioning of the program, reorganization of the call centre/back-office (200+ FTEs) and introduction of online self services, which was a complete new phenomena at the end of the previous century.

Secondly, a first of its kind CRM vision and strategy was conceived and presented to the Board of KLM which resulted into a dedicated CRM department and a clear development program.

During that period, the FFP membership base grew with more than 60% to over 2 million members in under two years by initiation of aggressive member acquisition programs and a reorganization of the functional set up of the department.