Star Alliance, the oldest and largest airline alliance, is celebrating its 25th anniversaryand has announced two original initiatives.
The first is the inclusion of non-airline members, the second the launch of a credit card.
Star Alliance opens to non-airline members
Star Alliance has announced that it will open up to non-airline, intermodal members, including, logically, railways.
Attention: we are talking about members. Airline alliances and their frequent flyer programs have long included non-airline partners, with whom cross-mileage earning/spending is possible but not qualifying miles. However, the inclusion of non-airline membersis a first.
A Star Alliance credit card
The second announcement, at least as interesting in our opinion, is the announcement of aco-branded credit card issued by the alliance. This initiative is original for two reasons.
The first is that co-branded credit cards are not numerous in Europe and are far from offering the same advantages as those issued elsewhere, especially in the United States. In France, the landscape is almost deserted. As to why the European passenger receives so few advantages, especially through credit cards, this has already been explained.
The second is that this isthe first time a card is being issued by an alliance and not by the member airlines, as almost all Star Alliance member airlines already offer this type of product.
We are very curious to know more and to see how this will be articulated with the airlines’ programs: it can be very interesting for the client or not at all. Indeed, there is a chance that companies will take a dim view of the initiative because for some airlines credit cards represent a huge source of cash and profits. Not necessarily for European airlines, but we are thinking in particular of United, which in our opinion will find it difficult to accept that the alliance should compete with its own offer… unless it makes the alliance’s card much less interesting than its own, which in the end would remove all interest from this project.
We look forward to having more details on the subject.
Star Alliance is launching two interesting initiatives, the opening to non-airline members and a co-branded credit card.
But an idea is only as good as its execution, so we’re waiting for more details to know if these initiatives will really bring value to the customer: it can be a major breakthrough and a real competitive advantage as well as a flash in the pan.