A joint initiative between Tune Money and Visa International, BIG is an innovative global loyalty programme that allows members to earn points when travelling and shopping, and redeem them for rewards including flight seats.
(Tune Money is the financial arm of Tune Group that has Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Dato' Kamarudin Meranun, ’s co-owners and founders of AirAsia, in the same designations.)
BIG’s soft launch was held two months ago, but was officially unveiled by the stakeholders in Kuala Lumpur on November 14.
The BIG Card is both a VISA prepaid payment and loyalty rewards card, which can be used anywhere a VISA card is accepted. It allows the cardholder to earn points, known as BIGGIES, whenever they spend at all Visa accepted merchants and BIG partners worldwide, which include AirAsia and Tune Money in Malaysia, Indosat in Indonesia and CentralWorld in Thailand.
BIG membership is borderless and is opened to anyone aged two years and above, anywhere in the world. Each member, nicknamed “BIG Shot”, is issued with a BIG card carrying the cardholder’s name and membership identification number, or BIG Shot ID.
In Malaysia the BIG card doubles up as a BIG Visa Prepaid card, which cardholders can reload at all major banks or online at the BIG website.
Earning BIGGIES is simple, said BIG CEO Johan Aris Ibrahim. "Just present your BIG card at Visa merchants and BIG partners or quote your BIG Shot ID when you shop online and BIGGIES are automatically loaded into your account. For example, each RM2 (USD0.60) transaction with BIG partners like AirAsia, AirAsia Megastore, AirAsiaRedTix, AirAsia Go and Tune Hotels earn you 1 BIGGIE"
For the BIG Visa Prepaid card in Malaysia, each RM2 transaction paid on the card generates 1 BIGGIE, while selected merchants give double the points. This is on top of the points earned as a BIG Shot.
Pictured (L-R): Going BIG withTune Money Peter Miller, AirAsia Tony Fernandes, BIG Johan Aris & AirAsia’s stewardesses
There are 1,500 BIG partners with more than 3,000 retail outlets around the globe where Big Shots can collect double BIGGIES, both online and offline. On top of that BIG has also set up an online shopping mall, featuring more than 1,000 cross-border global merchants allowing BIG Shots to earn BIGGIES.
"Apart from collecting BIGGIES our strategic partners also enable their current members to convert their existing loyalty points into BIGGIES, providing them a wider option for redemption,” Johan added..
A BIG Shot can start redeeming from as low as 400 BIGGIES. Those with insufficient BIGGIES have the option of topping up with cash.
Fernandes, who is also AirAsia group CEO, said this global programme was a reward to the company’s loyal guests and customers, adding that BIG's greatest feature is the redemption of flight seats.
"BIG has certainly given a new definition to frequent flying and loyalty programmes as we know them. Merchants and partners should view BIG as an extended marketing and loyalty arm in further growing the businesses and market shares."
To date BIG has received 65,000 applications from 150 countries. When combined with AirAsia's existing customers, who will be moved to the BIG card, it expects to have a membership of over 100,000. The airline targets one million members by mid-2012, with the programme generating RM500 million additional sales in the same year.
Fernandes said the card will be launched in Indonesia in Q1 2012 and in Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore by end-2012.
Peter Miller, Tune Money CEO, said BIG’s target market was the "young at heart" who would like to fly for free.
"Essentially, a card for the now majority of consumers who are comfortable transacting online such as booking AirAsia flights and would like the opportunity to earn free flights and more from their online and other transactions."
Stuart Tomlinson, Visa country manager, Malaysia, added the BIG Visa Prepaid card was a safer and more convenient payment option for travellers as they can simply load up their card before they fly, and earn points for their next trip with every transaction.”
BIG is managed by Think Big Digital Sdn Bhd, a 50:50 joint venture between AirAsia and Tune Money.