Norwegian and Strawberry partner to enhance loyalty programmes

Norwegian and Strawberry have recently announced a partnership, establishing a joint company aimed at enhancing the loyalty programmes available to their respective members.

This collaboration brings together the renowned airline, Norwegian, and Strawberry (formerly known as Nordic Choice Hotels), a hotel company with a legacy of challenging traditional market norms and delivering unique guest experiences.

Strawberry growing: Petter A. Stordalen purchased his first hotel 25 years ago. Now, guests are able to enjoy 226 hotels, 122 restaurants and 21 spas

The partnership aims to provide a wider range of services to loyalty programme members and introduces a common loyalty currency and a versatile platform that allows members to earn and redeem loyalty points across various programmes.

With equal ownership stakes held by Norwegian and Strawberry, this joint venture is set to reshape the loyalty landscape, particularly for UK-based business travellers seeking seamless corporate travel experiences.

By replacing the existing point systems used by various loyalty programmes, the partnership revolutionises the way members can utilise their loyalty points.

For instance, points earned through hotel stays can now be used to pay for airfares and vice versa, eliminating the boundaries between travel sectors.

Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian, expressed his excitement about the collaboration, highlighting the opportunity to expand the highly popular loyalty programme, Norwegian Reward, through innovative partnerships. He emphasised the importance of thinking beyond conventional approaches and teaming up with new partners like Strawberry to develop a platform that offers customers a broader selection of services.

A significant development accompanying this collaboration is the recent name change of Nordic Choice Hotels to Strawberry. For over 25 years, Nordic Choice Hotels has been a prominent player in the hotel industry, consistently challenging traditional market norms to provide unique guest experiences. The name change to Strawberry marks a significant shift for the company as it expands its offerings beyond hotels. With a portfolio that now includes 120 restaurants, 20 spas, gyms, meeting places, and arenas throughout the Nordic region, the new name reflects the company’s ambition to represent its diverse range of experiences and services.

Petter Stordalen, founder and owner of Strawberry, explains,

We are no longer just a hotel company. Today, we offer experiences throughout the Nordic region, and therefore, we want a brand and a name that represents the entire portfolio.

While the ambition to deliver exceptional hotel and guest experiences remains unchanged, the rebranding as Strawberry signifies a broader universe of offerings for guests and the 2.4 million members of the loyalty club. This shift aligns with Strawberry’s vision to be the best in terms of hotel and guest experiences while expanding their portfolio to provide a comprehensive range of services to their valued customers.

Initially, the collaboration between Norwegian and Strawberry will focus on their loyalty programmes, Norwegian Reward and Strawberry’s loyalty programme. However, the partnership’s goal is to extend its reach by including additional partners from the Nordics, thereby offering members even more opportunities to earn and redeem loyalty points.

With a combined membership of approximately 7.5 million, the partnership between Norwegian and Strawberry holds great promise for business travellers. As further details about the new company and the loyalty currency are revealed during the launch later this year, anticipation grows within the travel industry.

Business travellers can look forward to an enhanced loyalty experience that provides more frequent and flexible opportunities to earn and utilize loyalty points for their corporate travel requirements.

The partnership between Norwegian and Strawberry not only signifies a new era in loyalty programmes but also reflects the evolving needs of business travellers. By unifying airlines and hotel chains and introducing a common loyalty currency, this collaboration sets the stage for seamless and rewarding corporate travel experiences.

As Norwegian and Strawberry continue to innovate and extend invitations to new partners, their mission of revolutionising loyalty programmes across the region gains momentum.

Norwegian to purchase 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA has reached an agreement in principle with Boeing for a recommitment to purchase 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

The agreement also includes options for an additional 30 aircraft.

The 50 aircraft are due to be delivered between 2025 and 2028, at a schedule closely corresponding to current aircraft lease expirations. This entails a limited net increase of the company’s current fleet. The parties’ agreement in principle is subject to various closing conditions, which are targeted to be concluded by the end of June 2022.

The company intends to finance the outstanding balance of pre-delivery payments through positive cash flow from operating activities.

A significant share of the aircraft will be owned by the company, ensuring an optimised and balanced aircraft financing structure. Subsequent to the conclusion of these agreements, Norwegian estimates to record a net gain of approximately NOK 2 billion.

Svein Harald Øygard, Chair of the Board of Norwegian said

Svein Harald Øygard: landmark deal

This is a landmark deal that sets out a path whereby Norwegian will own a large share of its fleet.

This will result in lower all-in costs and increased financial robustness, enabling us to further solidify our Nordic stronghold.

The deal also allows us to serve our customers with state-of-the-art aircraft that can run increasingly on sustainable aviation fuel.

The airline claims the purchase agreement demonstrates Norwegian’s ‘continuously strong commitment to operate a modern and fuel-efficient fleet’.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is approximately 14% more fuel-efficient compared to the previous-generation aircraft, putting the company on strong footing to achieve its target of reducing emissions by 45%.

Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian said

Geir Karlsen: the deal will also strengthen the company’s equity considerably

The overall terms achieved are attractive for Norwegian, and the deal fits well with our long-term fleet strategy and route program.

It will enable us to serve our customers with modern fuel-efficient aircraft with the latest technology, significantly reducing our carbon footprint.

The deal will also strengthen the company’s equity considerably, further solidifying Norwegian’s financial position.

Norwegian has been voted Europe’s Best Low-Cost airline by Skytrax for six consecutive years and won Airline Program of the Year Europe & Africa at the Freddie Awards for four consecutive years. Since 2012, Norwegian has won over 55 awards for our service, product, and innovation in the industry.