Thursday, July 12, 2007

Citibank AirAsia Card launched with 1 Million Cardholders Targeted

AirAsia Bhd hopes to sign up one million cardholders for its newly launched Citibank AirAsia credit card.

The target for the co-branded credit card with Citibank Bhd was “achievable” but no time frame was set, said AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes.

“The target is there, we should go as fast as we can to get there. Ultimately, the market wants it and we can promote it. We may also consider Indonesia and Thailand,” he told a media conference after the launch of the credit card yesterday.

Also present was Citibank country officer and chief executive officer Piyush Gupta.

Fernandes said AirAsia needed a regional player to grow the co-branded credit card in other countries. In Indonesia, AirAsia has not launched a co-branded credit card yet.

“My personal choice is to have Citibank (as partner) in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, then we can do so many things,” he added.

The low-cost carrier had previously tied up with RHB Bank for a co-branded credit card but the contract expired last month.

Fernandes dubbed the current co-brand with Citibank as a “five-year marriage” and, it would have “an option to renew” if the union proved successful.

Citibank cards business director Vipin Agrawal said existing customers could choose to convert to the new card.

“We are looking at 150,000 cards in the first year and many of those will be new customers. Currently, the primary redemption for this card is for free travel but, over time, we will provide more options,” he said.

The credit card will enable members to earn one AirAsia point for every RM1 spent on their card for daily purchases. Points collected are evergreen.

These points can be converted into AirAsia vouchers, which can be used to redeem free flights, airport taxes, fuel surcharges, administrative fees and purchase of Xpress Boarding. Cardholders will also be entitled to special privileges and access to low-fare seats during sales.

Meanwhile, on news that Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson would acquire a 20% stake in Fly Asian Xpress Sdn Bhd (FAX), Fernandes said: “Wait and see. I think AirAsia has always surprised everyone. So just wait and see.”

FAX is scheduled to launch long-haul budget airline AirAsia X in September. There would be two or three announcements before that, Fernandes said, but declined to elaborate.

While Fernandes denied a recent report that AirAsia planned to order 25 single-aisle planes from Airbus SAS, he reiterated that it “needs more planes” and was “looking into it but nothing was confirmed.”

Source : Star
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