HLB targets 300k customers for new AirAsia tie-up

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

HONG Leong Bank Bhd (HLB) has targeted to sign up some 300,000 customers for its latest credit card partnership with low-cost carrier AirAsia Group Bhd within the next five years.

HLB group MD and CEO Domenic Fuda said he is optimistic that the service will be the preferred choice of travel card in Malaysia based on three selling points — simplicity in its usage, superior in value and seamless experience.

“We believe that we need to be what customers are. Malaysians are now travelling more than ever. So, we believe that by bringing something Malaysians are doing into a product, we are getting close to our customers.

“By doing that, we hope to get significantly higher penetration rates,” he said at the official launch of the new AirAsia Hong Leong Bank Credit Card in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

Fuda added that the card complements two of the most relevant Malaysian consumer behaviours when it comes to travel — frequency and cost consciousness.

“Data has shown that Malaysians are ranked among the global top five when it comes to flying, taking at least 5.5 average flights annually with 83% of them checking into flights online or via mobile for greater convenience.

“The savvy Malaysian travellers are also the most cost-conscious in Asia, with 97% placing price as an important factor when it comes to air travel booking,” he said.

On the non-performing loan (NPL) of the credit card (overall), HLB personal financial services MD Charles Sik said the bank has one of the lowest NPLs in the industry, saying “it is well below 2% to date”, and that the bank would be able to maintain it.

“We have a very robust credit process in terms of managing credit. If you look at HLB’s profile alone, we have the second-best NPL in the industry.

“The credit card portfolio is part and parcel of that credit robustness and how we do credit in HLB,” he said.

Meanwhile, AirAsia group CEO Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes — who was also at the launch — said the whole digital revolution is going to make financial services much more accessible.

“The launch of the credit card is part of our plan to transform BIG Loyalty from an airline loyalty programme into BIG Life, a travel and lifestyle business.

“These cards not only allow our BIG Members to earn BIG Points faster and elevate their travel experience, they also make the points more accessible — a key step in making BIG Points a widely used and valuable digital currency, not just for flying, but for everyday use,” he said.

The AirAsia Hong Leong Bank Gold Credit Card and AirAsia Hong Leong Bank Platinum Credit Card are the travel credit cards that enable cardholders to easily get free flights and more, with every ringgit spent automatically earning them bonus BIG points.

Cardholders who actively use the credit card in pursuit of redeeming flights will enjoy welcome-to-card and quarterly bonuses of up to 25,000 BIG Points.

AirAsia has more than 20 million BIG Loyalty members to date.