FFB Insider: Prague to Moscow – A Tale of Two Bonus Mile Promotions

Over the next two months, two airlines will be celebrating long standing service between Prague and Moscow. 75 years ago on September 2, 1936 Czech Airlines first flew the route and Aeroflot followed 20 years later launching the same route in October 1956. To celebrate these historic events both airlines are offering bonus mileage promotions for members within their respective frequent flyer programs. The offers themselves vary quite differently with one taking on the guise of a full fledged loyalty promotion while the other is more of a short lived gift.

Czech Airlines OK Plus: Czech us out, we want to reward you
Taking a play on the year they first started service to Moscow, Czech Airlines is offering their OK Plus members 1,936 Bonus OK Plus miles for each segment flown on the route,  nearly a 4,000 mile bonus for a round trip. The offer runs for the entire month of September and requires OK Plus members to register for the offer.

Aeroflot Bonus: You call that a ‘Bonus’?
Lately Aeroflot has been guilty of running promotions for very short time spans and I have a hard time understanding the reasoning behind them. Most have been on the launch or anniversaries of routes and in all honestly have little value in terms of loyalty or generating extra business. The celebration of the Moscow-Prague route is no different. Aeroflot Bonus members can earn 500 ‘Bonus’ Bonus miles if they fly on the route between October 10 and 15th. That’s right a whole 6 days to earn the bonus. The offer does not require registration so we can assume any Bonus member flying on the route that has submitted their member number on their reservation will receive the miles.

Analysis
Right away you can see some major differences in the two promotions for this route. As you may have guessed, Czech Airlines OK Plus is not only using the promotion as an anniversary gift but as a full fledged loyalty promotion whereas Aeroflot is simply gifting miles. Czech Airlines’ offer has a call to action, it requires its members to register and provides the OK Plus program with measurable data in terms of the number of people who express interest in the offer and actually take advantage of it plus it allows them to actually see their ROI, with the investment being the bonus miles. It also provides a decent amount of bonus miles, enough in fact that some travellers may choose Czech Airlines over Aeroflot because of it. In terms of Aeroflot’s offer, it is simply a loyalty gift, any Bonus member that happens to fly to the route during the 6 days of the promotion will be happy to see 500 extra miles in their account afterwards but does it really encourage someone to choose Aeroflot and keep their loyalty with them? Not in my opinion, with such a short window to earn a small amount of miles, Aeroflot is simply saying thank you for flying them and it is highly unlikely someone will choose to fly in that short period just to earn the bonus or choose Aeroflot over another airline.  It reminds of flying before the Internet was around, taking a flight from Calgary to Frankfurt and when I got my Aeroplan statement a month later I was elated to see I got double miles on the route. I had no knowledge of the promo nor was there any registration process (remember this was pre-internet) so basically I got a gift of double miles for a flight I was going to take anyways since I was not being swayed by the promotion. While 500 miles may not cost Aeroflot much financially, the bigger question that is needs to be asked is whether this promotion can even generate any extra business or loyalty?

About FFB Insider
This article is part of the FFB Insider, our corporate/B2B newsletter for those who work in the travel, travel rewards and/or loyalty industries. It offers insights into bonus offers and other loyalty promotions found in the world of travel. It also features updates and news on the FFB Group. The FFB Insider is sent once a month and you can subscribe to it here.

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