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Lyft And JetBlue Partner To Take Travelers From ‘Door-To-Door’

The two companies are allowing consumers to earn JetBlue loyalty points on Lyft airport rides. Does the move foreshadow the next wave of on-demand partnerships?

In a move designed to integrate the process of air travel with getting to and from the airport, Lyft and JetBlue have launched a partnership that allows consumers to link their JetBlue and Lyft accounts and earn JetBlue loyalty points on Lyft rides.

“Through the… partnership, JetBlue customers will receive unique discounts and travel perks,” Lyft confirmed in a statement on its blog. “[And] Lyft passengers can earn TrueBlue loyalty points on any Lyft ride to and from any airport nationwide, up to 1,200 TrueBlue points per year.”

But while Lyft and its competitors have racked up a seemingly endless series of on-demand partnerships, this integration appears to be about even more than the obvious use case of encouraging Lyft riders to fly JetBlue — and vice versa. It’s about building a seamless travel experience that attempts to redefine loyalty in the mobile age.

Loyalty, On-Demand

The rise of the on-demand economy has conditioned consumers to expect programs and services to fit into their lifestyle, not the other way around. After all, who wants to wait for a cab in the rain when you could call a car to your doorstep from your smartphone? Companies like Lyft have understood this on a fundamental level for a while, as many “traditional” businesses have tried to play catch up.

This attitude shift has also had major effects on loyalty — and what Millennial consumers in particular expect from it.

“Membership is a failure for younger people on an operational level,” Loren Gray, founder at Hospitality Digital Marketing, told GeoMarketing earlier this year. “They don’t want reward far in the distance; immediacy is key. If they’ve visited several times, they want to see something for that – otherwise they don’t care.” Perhaps customers have always held this view, but with competitive booking services offering price breaks — not to mention the rise of Airbnb — they now have the ability to demand it.

How does this translate to Lyft and JetBlue tying together their loyalty rewards? Well, firstly, it’s all about convenience: Integrated rewards — easily accessible on mobile — intuitively make sense. Secondly, in this new “Millennial” view of loyalty, taking a car to the airport and traveling on a plane are two acts that are already inextricably linked; the attitude of “why shouldn’t I receive loyalty points for my entire journey” already exists. It appears a smart bet for Lyft and JetBlue to cater to that — and to deliver a more seamless experience along the way.

Partnerships between on-demand apps like Postmates or Lyft and brick-and-mortar businesses make fundamental sense when it comes helping physical retailers deliver goods and drive traffic. But now, perhaps we’re on the edge of a second wave of on-demand partnerships, one aimed at diverse businesses essentially tying their loyalty offerings together in a way that benefits both of them. After all, merchants can already pay for your Uber ride to a specific store location; could tying loyalty points to taking a certain car service and then making a physical purchase be far behind?

In any case, “just as we’re committed to the providing a world class experience for passengers, JetBlue has pioneered a refreshing in-flight experience to make flying more enjoyable and memorable than ever,” said Oliver Hsiang, VP Partnerships at Lyft, in a statement. “Air travel can be exhausting, but Lyft is thrilled to provide a seamless solution with JetBlue that relieves some of those challenges and allows travelers to earn more and save more along the way.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of GeoMarketing.com. A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.