Interview: Barclays Africa

02 April 2013
Worldmiles is the rewards programme for the Platinum credit card holders of Barclays Africa in Botswana, Kenya and Egypt. The programme claims several firsts in the market, such as the first card to offer a cash and miles reward redemption option and the first independent airline miles programme in Africa.

Launched in August 2012, Worldmiles caters to the increasing demand for travel and lifestyle rewards in the African markets. As a member of the Worldmiles programme, cardholders can earn Worldmiles for all their purchases locally, internationally and online. Worldmiles earned can be redeemed for travel anywhere in the world, on any airline and throughout the year.

Collinson (formally talks to Vimal Kumar, Lending Director, Barclays Africa, about the launch of Worldmiles and plans ahead.

Q1 :   What was the rationale behind Barclays launching this loyalty programme in Africa?

With the rising numbers of affluent African consumers jet-setting the globe there was a need to offer a payment solution which can provide benefits of unlimited miles and access to the best travel facilities. But the challenge in African markets was the absence of a premium airline with a footprint across the continent and globally that Barclays could associate with.

So Barclays have designed Worldmiles as an airline independent miles programme that allows customers to earn miles on their purchases and redeem miles on any airline of their choice across the globe. It really changes the game and puts the power of miles and convenience of choosing any airline in the hands of consumers. This is a cutting edge product and shows Barclays' commitment to use technology to make the lives of customers much easier.

Q2 :   What makes Worldmiles different and unique from other reward programmes?
Worldmiles is Africa's first airline independent miles programme and Barclays have packaged several travel themed perks such as free flights, complimentary Priority Pass membership, free travel insurance and a host of exclusive Visa and other partner benefits. Barclaycard Platinum is the first Platinum credit card in Barclays Africa's stable offered on invitation to Premier customers.

Q3:     Given the pioneering nature of this programme, what challenges did you have to overcome? 
The challenge was to provide a comprehensive range of programme services uniformly across four markets and currencies. We had to look at both front end and back end integration of the bank services with loyalty operations for the member database and website as well as linking the countries to one combined travel desk. It was a joint effort which combined Barclays local insights and ICLP strong travel heritage.  

Q4 :   How is the programme being received by customers since its launch in August 2012?

The programme has been very well received by customers. Already more than 3000 customers have signed up for the programme and we are seeing that spend on the Worldmiles Platinum credit card is more than twice the industry average for similar cards.

Q5 :   What are you plans for the future of the programme?
Worldmiles is available to all Barclays Platinum cardholders in Botswana, Kenya and Egypt, with plans to extend to Mauritius and few more countries in the near future. Including debit card holders into the programme is also on the cards, as well as plans to widen the redemption options to include hotels and car rentals.