CASE STUDY Travel

InterMiles Makes Member Experience More Rewarding with AWS

InterMiles is a travel and lifestyle reward program. Through its ubiquitous currency, InterMiles, the program helps its 10 million+ members fulfill their travel and lifestyle aspirations. As mobile has become the preferred channel for its members, InterMiles set out to provide the most rewarding mobile experience possible.

The InterMiles rewards program empowers members to earn and redeem ‘InterMiles’ across a wide network of program partners, from airline and hotel bookings, shopping, dining, fuel, and more — all around the world. InterMiles’ appeal is based on its ability to offer a more unique, comprehensive and rewarding loyalty program in the form of both rewards and an engaging digital experience.

  • comprehensive and rewarding loyalty program

    Award-Winning Loyalty & Rewards Program

  • members mobile experience design & develop

    10 million+ Members

  • program partners mobile experience design & develop

    150+ Program Partners

InterMiles Launches Mobile App To Elevate Member Experience

A core focus of the InterMiles program was expanding its mobile presence. The existing mobile capability was minimal, and relied almost entirely on mobile web, significantly limiting the experience for members. The company realized this was a huge gap for its on-the-go travelers looking for easy, anytime access to track their reward status and incentives.

As the company planned the brand re-launch of InterMiles in 2019, it turned to Infostretch to design and develop a world-class mobile experience for its loyalty program members and help reposition it as a digital innovator in the travel and lifestyle space. Its goals were to create a seamless, multi-channel experience by adding a mobile app to its existing web and mobile web presence. It could then use this platform to expand its member base by taking the rewards program beyond airline rewards and continuously onboarding new partners.

the Customer
Journey
2019

2020

2019
  • InterMiles Loyalty mobile application and SDK development

2020
  • Launched an app for new brand
  • 3rd party advanced mobile application launch
  • Mitigate Covid Challenges (Technical & Strategic)
  • Transformed the CX with experience design

the Results

Key Outcomes

20% Increase in Customer Engagement
20% Increase in
Customer Engagement

As a result of improved mobile user experience

15% Growth in High Revenue Customers
15% Growth in
High Revenue Customers

As a result of expanded selection of high-value partner offerings

Faster Time-to-Market
Faster
Time-to-Market

Reduced time to add new partners from 90 days on legacy web platform to 30 days for mobile app

Higher Customer Satisfaction
Higher
Customer Satisfaction

Better customer engagement and experience levels on new mobile app vs legacy web app

Our methodology

how
we did it

Infostretch works with companies across the digital lifecycle.

Go Digital
Go Digital

Accelerating the delivery of new digital initiatives with confidence

Be digital
Be digital

Creating the infrastructure and foundation to scale digital initiatives

Evolve Digital
Evolve Digital

Leveraging data and analytics to continuously improve digital delivery processes

The challenge
TO overcome time restrictions to complete project goal

Implementing a Hybrid Strategy

Initially, InterMiles planned to develop a brand new native mobile capability that incorporated all aspects of its offerings: airline and hotel bookings, membership tier status, rewards and incentives. However, the time requirements for that approach did not align with the planned brand launch. Accomplishing InterMiles’ goal required a hybrid strategy that would enable it to get to market on time by combining native mobile UX for select member interactions with existing web experience for others where it did not impact the UX.

Scalable & Cost-Effective Cloud-Native

InterMiles also needed a scalable and cost-effective cloud-native option for their compute workload. Usage patterns spiked based on marketing campaign activity and it needed a solution that could scale up and down with that demand. Assuring the performance of their loyalty management platform was crucial to improving lifetime member value.

The Solution

Formulating a hybrid approach

When Infostretch started working with InterMiles, the engagement covered multiple aspects of the new mobile experience, starting with assessing the situation and developing the strategy for its hybrid approach.

This involved several key decisions in concert with the InterMiles team:

loyalty/booking engine developed as part of the native mobile experience

The existing loyalty/booking engine was an important middle ground between access to existing member information and activity, and the new UX. Certain aspects had to be retained, and others had to be developed as part of the native mobile experience.

loyalty program for 10 MILLION+ MEMBERS

InterMiles wanted to ensure multi-channel business continuity and smooth customer experience so active user sessions were carried forward seamlessly as they moved from the native mobile UX to the existing web UX. This required a seamless handshake between the new native app and the existing web view.

Additionally, the tight project timeline had to incorporate user feedback throughout the development process. This included the core team, main stakeholders, employees, and extended user groups, both internal and external.

The Infostretch team then turned its focus to developing and launching both iOS and Android applications quickly and efficiently in line with the launch of the InterMiles brand.

The hybrid approach cut the original project timeline by 67%. By leveraging native mobile for the highest priority interactions and web views for lesser interactions, InterMiles was able to deliver an outstanding user experience for both existing and prospective members.

It used native web UX for initial levels of interaction; e.g., new user engagement, onboarding, profile updates and search initiation, and maintained web UX for ensuing interactions; e.g., search results, and bookings. The key was ensuring a seamless experience between native and web using tokens, cookies and 3rd party libraries.

There were several key tenets core to the Infostretch approach:

Developing and launching both ios and android applications - hybrid approach
Developing and launching both ios and android applications - hybrid approach

User experience, value-added content and engagement were also of utmost importance to the InterMiles brand transformation. Infostretch worked with the InterMiles team to deliver an experience that reinforced the new brand and its full value proposition for travelers:

Simplified Enrollment and Login

Simplified Enrollment and Login – made member access frictionless

Gamification & Interactivity

Gamification & Interactivity – increased member engagement and reinforced app use

incented use and engagement

Member-Exclusive Offers – along with special-tier benefits further incented use and engagement

Referral Programs

Referral Programs – encouraged social sharing and increased visibility

on-the-go notifications of reward credits

Instant Account Updates – provided on-the-go notifications of reward credits, debits and status

Easy Reward Redemption

Easy Reward Redemption – enabled members to collect and redeem awards for flights, hotels, shipping and fuel

For InterMIles, the new mobile experience reinforced their fresh, new brand image and helped reshape existing and prospective member’s views about what the company had to offer.

Infostretch helped support this goal by enabling InterMiles to get to market more quickly with an outstanding user experience. Member engagement increased almost immediately, and satisfaction levels were extremely high based on member feedback. Equally important, InterMiles had the digital foundation that enabled it to scale the mobile channel quickly and flexibly as its member base grew.

Our joint approach
AWS Cloud

InterMiles was a long-time AWS customer and wanted to build on its existing AWS environment. Infostretch leveraged its AWS expertise to help it do just that:

  • Developed a micro-services architecture based on JAVA APIs to support mobile and web applications hosted on the Amazon ECS cluster. Scaling policies are defined in such a way that whenever there is a demand for one or more services, only those services are scaling up for optimal resource utilization.

  • Leveraging the auto-scaling feature of Amazon Aurora to support unexpected spikes in the usage.

  • Using Amazon Elasticache (Redis) to store API response temporarily to improve response time and user experience.

  • Using the Kibana dashboard to monitor the performance, failures of the APIs and report anomalies in the ecosystem.

AWS Well-Architected Review

Infostretch introduced AWS Well-Architected Framework (WAR Program) to InterMiles.

AWS WAR defines key concepts, design principles and architectural best practices for designing and running workloads in the AWS cloud. Using WAR, the Infostretch team helped InterMiles identify how well their architecture aligned with these best practices and provided guidance for improvements.

Key areas of focus included:

War pillars
Focus areas
risk identified
Impact
War pillars
Operational Excellence
Focus areas

Running and monitoring systems to deliver business value and continually improving processes and procedures

risk identified

2+High risk issues

Impact

Configuration management solution

War pillars
Security
Focus areas

Protecting information and systems

risk identified

3+High risk issues

Impact

Annual expectancy cost due to security breaches

War pillars
Reliability
Focus areas

Ensuring a workload performs its intended function correctly and consistently

risk identified

2+High risk issues

Impact

Disaster recovery architecture

War pillars
Performance Efficiency
Focus areas

Using IT and computing resources efficiently

risk identified

3+High risk issues

Impact

Application performance workflow

War pillars
Cost Optimization
Focus areas

Avoiding unnecessary costs

risk identified

High risk issues

Impact

Cost-intensive resources by tagging and using optimization techniques

Key Outcomes from aws war review

Identified and fixed high-risk issues Concerning performance, operations, reliability, security and cost, with significant improvement in customer engagement and lifetime value.

Employed new AWS services Addressing high-risk issues observed during the discovery phase.

Enabled continuous monitoring and automation For tasks with high impact on mission-critical functions.

aws
SERVICES USED:

Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS)

Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS)

Amazon ElastiCache for Redis

Amazon ElastiCache for Redis

Amazon Aurora

Amazon Aurora

AWS WAR

AWS WAR