American Airlines will invest $200 million for a 5.2% stake in Brazil’s GOL as part of an expanded commercial partnership. The deal will see the two tie more closely in each other’s primary market, and significantly boost their loyalty program integration as well.
Our long-haul network marries seamlessly with GOL’s strong domestic network in Brazil. Together, we will be able to offer customers flying to, through and from Brazil, access to the largest network with the lowest fares and the Americas’ biggest and best joint travel loyalty program.– Robert Isom, President of American Airlines
Exclusive codeshare agreement
As part of the deal GOL will become American’s exclusive codeshare partner in Brazil. American will become GOL’s sole codeshare partner in the U.S.
The carriers expect the initial codeshare to include more than 30 destinations served by American in the U.S. and more than 20 new destinations in South America served by GOL.
Massive loyalty play
Similar to American’s new partnership with JetSMART in Chile, this deal comes with a major loyalty program factor. Beginning next year the two carriers will offer elite status reciprocity between the AAdvantage and SMILES programs covering:
- Priority check-in
- Priority security
- Priority boarding
- Larger checked baggage allowance
- Lounge access
- Preferred seats on both airlines.
The two airlines also expect to offer an enhanced joint loyalty offering to give customers more ways to earn and redeem miles
Some 65% of American’s traffic in South America is local origination according to Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja. At an investor conference a couple weeks ago he suggested that, “In most of the countries across South America, American is a native brand.”
Being able to expand that local branding – via the loyalty program tie-ups – presents a huge opportunity for the business. And, unlike the prior partnership with LATAM, the AAdvantage program offers a dramatically different scale of possibilities for members.
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