ChinaTravelNews, Yanan Huang and Jiayong Li — China’s largest online travel firm, Ctrip, and Air China launched an unprecedented cooperation in May, allowing consumers to buy domestic flight tickets from Air China on Ctrip using mileage and cash. It’s the first time such offer is extended beyond airlines’ official websites to an online travel platform.
Public information shows that there were seven times more users using the mixed payment offer during July 12 to 18, compared to the first week after the launch of the service.
The Ctrip platform will indicate the cash deductible value of air miles. The equivalent value of the mileage depends on the routes, but mileage can cover up to 30% value of a ticket. Currently, this mixed payment offer is not applicable to international flights.
After logging in to the Air China PhoenixMiles account, passengers can redeem miles at units of 100 miles.
PhoenixMiles members will also get mileage rewards for using this mixed payment. Air China offers 300 miles for every 100 yuan spent on a single order.
This payment method lets less-frequent flyers use their idle miles, as well as help develop users’ habit in use mileage for consumption.
Despite the possibility that the mix of miles and cash booking on OTA platform may attract airlines members to book flight tickets through OTA instead of the airlines.com, what Chinese carriers are now most concerned about is not direct sales, but how to attract more consumers to choose their services.