Latest airline to launch iPhone app
Etihad Airways has this week launched an iPhone app for members of its frequent flyer loyalty programme that allows them to redeem points on the go.
The app, available free from Apple’s iTunes store, allows Etihad Guest members to check and redeem their loyalty points from around 17,000 items at the airline’s Reward Shop, or opt for instant seat upgrades (by email from the app), all in real-time.
According to Etihad, its application is unique in that it is especially tailored towards its loyalty programme, but criticisms are that unlike similar apps from other airlines, including American Airlines, Qantas and British Airlines, Etihad’s software does not provide general travel information such as timetabling and the ability to change booking details, and although it allows members to view the basics of their account information, it does not allow them to change or edit it. Instead the app is likely to be of most use to members of the programme who have built up many hundreds of thousands of miles, and yet have not had time to browse the Etihad Guest store online to discover items they can spend these miles on.
Special reward deals will also be available to those using the Etihad app. Other features include the ability to check promotions from Etihad’s partners and find general programme information.
Etihad said the new app formed part of a “broader digital strategy” geared towards providing more information through mobile devices. Expect “further announcements” of a similar nature throughout this year.
Apps offering management of reward programs are the natural evolution of simple “flight management” apps originally available for travellers.
In November 2009, Lufthansa launched Miles & More MemberScout, an iPhone-based social networking app to allow frequent flyers in its Miles & More program to meet and greet fellow members around their current location. Airline alliance OneWorld also released an app in November 2009 that allows flyers to browse flights within its network.