Copa wouldn’t seem like the most important airline to most US-based frequent flyers. But they’re a lot more important than you think, in several ways.
Copa used to be majority-owned by Continental Airlines, and Copa took on a variant of the Continental logo and joined the old Onepass frequent flyer program. Continental started selling their investment in 2005, and the airline is independent now, but they’re pretty well integrated with United.
Even now that they’re launching their own frequent flyer program there’s reciprocal upgrade benefits between the two airlines. And of course Copa is a member of the Star Alliance.
Their brand new frequent flyer program which is about to launch is making a statement — and they’re calling out United and Delta while they do it.
They’ve just e-mailed out this missive:
Russ Hinckley was lured down to Panama to run the program. It’s important to know who he is:
- He was managing the US Airways Dividend Miles program when they merged with American (reporting to Fern Ferndandez who is now American’s VP of Marketing). That was a pretty generous Star Alliance program he was embedded in.
- He ran Northwest Worldperks. When Northwest merged with Delta he got the US Bank FlexPerks program off the ground. (US Bank had been the co-brand partner of Northwest and they wanted to keep their cardmembers.)
He’s an old hand at loyalty with a history of rewarding members well. He says that revenue-based programs are more complicated and not what members want and Copa is making a move to distinguish themselves.
They could well turn out to be a great program to credit United flights to in order to earn full mileage, regardless of fare. They’ve committed that much already. We’ve seen some of their award charts. We just need to see the rest of the program to know.
You can still receive 1000 free miles just for giving them your e-mail address prior to program launch.