x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Battle of the skies begins with new loyalty schemes

Etihad and Visa team up, while UAB launches FlyWards.

Visa cardholders can win miles with Etihad. Andrew Parsons / The National
Visa cardholders can win miles with Etihad. Andrew Parsons / The National

Visa, the global payment solution provider, and Etihad Airways have teamed up to offer credit-card holders the chance to win 100,000 guest miles with the Abu Dhabi-based airline every day this month.

The campaign is the latest loyalty programme designed to attract customers with air miles.

Earlier this week, United Arab Bank, the Sharjah-based lender, also launched FlyWards, which awards current and new customers with free flights via air-mile points through their salary transfers, fixed deposits and debit and credit-card transactions.

The FlyWards programme is unique in what is becoming a crowded loyalty market in the retail banking sector because it offers customers the choice of 360 airlines and has no black-out dates, not to mention encouraging saving rather than spending on credit.

"It is the only programme of its kind where customers can earn points for debit card, salary transfer and fixed-deposit transactions, in addition to earning points on all credit-card transactions," said Tom Smith, UAB's executive vice president and group head of retail banking.

"The best part is that they are not restricted to one airline or one departure point, which means absolutely no black-out dates."

As an introductory offer during September, Mr Smith said UAB customers with fixed deposits of Dh100,000 or more would receive a return ticket to one of five European destinations.

The Visa/Etihad programme will see 30 cardholders win 100,000 air-mile points, which can be used against free flights and upgrades.

For a chance to win, Visa cardholders need to register as an Etihad Guest Member when booking flights online at www.etihad.com.

The offer ends on September 30.