Etihad Aviation Group, Alibaba Group Holding Limited and Ant Financial Services Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand their partnership and develop their products and services for Chinese customers, including respective loyalty programmes.
Under the agreement, Alibaba and Etihad Guest will explore enhanced programme benefits and opportunities for cross-acquisition of loyalty points. This will include points conversion to Etihad Guest Miles, reciprocal benefits across premium tiers, and the ability to redeem Etihad Guest Miles for Alibaba products.
In addition, Alibaba Group and Etihad Airways will enter into a brand partnership agreement that will integrate the Alibaba Group of Brands with Etihad Airways’ leisure travel experience across its network. Alibaba and Etihad Cargo will also cooperate to enhance cross-border air cargo delivery solutions.
Alipay, an online and mobile payment platform operated by Ant Financial with 520 million monthly active mobile users, will work with Etihad Airways to explore payment service options inflight and on the ground to create a more convenient travel experience for Chinese guests.
Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Airways executive vice president – commercial, said: “Alibaba’s renowned digitalisation and product innovations, designed around Chinese consumer behaviour, have ensured Alibaba’s leading position in the industry. There is an impressive and growing number of Chinese outbound travellers exploring new destinations and unique experiences. The volume of goods transportation generated on ecommerce platforms has been amazing.
“We believe cooperation with Alibaba Group will better consolidate our product and service advantages for a convenient and refined travel experience, as well as enhance our brand awareness and jointly optimise our products and services.”
“Alibaba’s commercial ecosystem… combined with Etihad Airways’ network will markedly improve Chinese passengers’ travel experience.”
Chris Tung, chief marketing officer of Alibaba Group, added: “We are delighted to see the partnership between Alibaba and Etihad rapidly taking shape with close cooperation on formulating innovative methods that will further enhance our awareness and influence in the global marketplace.
“Alibaba’s complete commercial ecosystem, significant big data resources and cutting-edge technology combined with Etihad Airways’ remarkable services and products and extensive global network will markedly improve Chinese passengers’ comprehensive travel experience.”