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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to launch wholly innovated Flying Dutchman loyalty program

Travel News Asia 2 September 2002

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will launch an wholly innovated Flying Dutchman loyalty program at the end of October. KLM will be offering Flying Dutchman members - now more than two million in total - a more generous program that has a simpler and more transparent setup. The main innovations are that members will earn Flying Dutchman Miles rather than points, and that the number of membership levels will increase from three to four. KLM believes that the program's more generous awards and greater simplicity will attract many new members.

When it was launched ten years ago, Flying Dutchman was one for the first loyalty programs in the European airline industry. Today, in 2002, it is one of the airline's key instruments for rewarding the loyalty of frequent flyers. "The FD program innovations constitute a significant improvement in our service to passengers. Loyalty programs are an increasingly important factor in the traveler's decision to fly with the same airline more frequently. With this new program, KLM is vying for a position among the world's best loyalty programs," says Simone Wickenhagen, KLM's Vice President - Marketing & Services.

Four levels - in line with WorldPerks

The new Flying Dutchman program will also strengthen KLM's strategic alliance with its U.S. partner Northwest Airlines. The Flying Dutchman program has been maximally aligned with Northwest's WorldPerks program, in terms of content as well as appearance. The program alignment ensures that Flying Dutchman members get the same recognition and facilities on Northwest Airlines flights as they do on KLM flights. Not only has the program gone from three to four levels, but the name and color of the membership cards coincides more closely with that of KLM's North-American partner. The new Flying Dutchman program has four membership levels, starting with Blue Plus, followed by Silver Elite and Gold Elite, through to the highest level, Platinum Elite.

Overview of innovations

FD Miles instead of points

From now on, members will earn Flying Dutchman Miles instead of points. The actual number of miles flown are credited to a member's account. On shorter flights with KLM, KLM uk, KLM cityhopper and KLM exel, members earn a minimum of 500 Flying Dutchman Miles.

Member earn one Award Mile and one Level Mile for each mile they fly. Members move up through the levels as they earn more Level Miles. The savings setup for non-airline partners will also switch to Award Miles, which will be the currency of the Flying Dutchman program and can be used to obtain free flights and Awards.

Four levels instead of three

The old BlueWing, SilverWing and RoyalWing system will be replaced by a new four-level structure consisting of Blue Plus, Silver Elite, Gold Elite and Platinum Elite. As of December 31, 2003, members will be annually assessed to see whether they have accumulated enough Level Miles to remain on the same membership level.

Bonus Miles for Business Class passengers and Elite members

The new program also awards bonus Flying Dutchman Miles. Any member who flies Business Class receives double Award and Level Miles. In addition, Elite Members receive bonus Award Miles regardless of whether they fly Business or Economy Class.

Flying Dutchman Miles easier to redeem

A simpler and more flexible system has been devised for members when exchanging Award Miles for free flights. This region-to-region system revolves around the starting point and end point of their chosen flight. For instance, when flying from Athens to San Francisco one has to transfer in Amsterdam. However, this will not count as two separate flights, but rather as a single flight from Europe to North America. Members will also be able to combine flights operated by different airline partners.

Web@wards

In addition to these innovations, KLM will also be launching Web@wards for Flying Dutchman members. These special offers will see Flying Dutchman members booking flights for fewer Award Miles (or points, until the end of October) via the Flying Dutchman page on KLM.com. The offers will change every two months, with various flights available at 25-50% off the going Award Mile rate.

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