New Barclaycard American Airlines In-Airport Cooking and Golf Events

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When American Airlines re-upped their AAdvantage credit card deal they put together an arrangement where two different banks issue their cards. Citibank has most marketing channels — online promotion, American’s website, direct mail for instance plus American’s Admirals Clubs. Barclaycard has only:

  1. In the airport, but not within 100 feet of an Admirals Club
  2. Inflight
  3. Their own website, but they can only push traffic to their website from inside the airport and onboard

Customers don’t love the onboard announcements, whether they’re trying to sleep or watch a movie. As we learned from Scott Kirby, after he became President of United, his experience in the same position at American was that it’s the most effective marketing channel they have. (That’s why United has since introduced these onboard credit card announcements.)

What’s struck me though is that Barclaycard hasn’t seemed to really take advantage of their airport marketing channel. They’ve had advertisements for their product in American Airlines terminals and by gates but they have chosen not to do tabling, staffed tables where they try to get people to sign up on the spot.

However here’s something new in-airport that I love. Over the past week Barclaycard has actually offered something that’s value added for their in-airport advertising.

Tom Z. tipped me off to this at Miami’s gate D30.

Over the past week there were two events hosted by American Airlines and MasterCard with Barclaycard brand ambassadors. One was in Miami and the other at Dallas Fort-Worth gate A28.

  • Miami Culinary event ran December 12 – 17 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. daily with chef cooking lessons and tastings every 30 minutes on the hour, each lasting half an hour. There were iPads and Barclaycard brand ambassadors to facilitate card applications and existing AAdvantage Aviator cardmembers received premium seating for the event and a branded cutting board as a gift.

  • Dallas Fort-Worth golf event ran December 11 – 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily with golf instruction from PGA Teaching Professionals. There were two putting greens and iPads and Barclaycard brand ambassadors to facilitate card applications. Existing AAdvantage Aviator cardmembers received branded golf balls as a gift and an instructional video via email. On the first day of the event golf pro Mark O’Meara was on hand taking photos with passengers.

There’s something about American Airlines and golf. I’ve earned miles playing the Avis golf game in an Admirals Club at DFW.

And the Admirals Club in Austin has a putting green, that’s slated for elimination when the move the check-in desks forward to make more room for seating.

I love this even more. It’s value add, and an unpublished benefit for cardmembers. It’s unobtrusive, but demonstrates the the product in person. Instead of tables with staff chasing after you to sign up, this is far classier and beneficial to customers

My understanding is that these were funded by MasterCard. Hopefully the partnership was deemed a success and enough of you signed up for cards that they’ll be repeated. The Aviator Red card offers 60,000 miles with no minimum spend and their new small business card offers 40,000 miles after first purchase.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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  1. This actually sounds really fun, and something I would’ve definitely taken advantage of if the flying and timing aligned!

  2. Just canceled my Aviator Red card because they would not waive the annual fee like they have for the last two years. They down graded me to silver and were sending me out a new card but that took 3 weeks without a card. (Had Citi send out another Auth User card for my partner to use). When I called today to see where my partner’s card was they had no idea they need to even send one out . After 30+ min on the phone I cancelled the card. Lousy benefits and they want $95 . I do not think so. I get free bags under my Citi Executive card and Lounge access.

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