The Points Whisperer

The sense of a bargain is my biggest driver, so I created iFLYflat to enable people to fly business and first class at discounts between 40% to 90% just by using credit card points a bit smarter.

There’s an emotional feeling when you know that the person behind you is paying 10 times the amount for the same flight and same seat. But it’s more than that. Our product allows small businesses to travel widely. Once we help them understand their credit card usage and how points accumulate, it’s like having a savings account of $100k that you can only redeem on flights.

It’s just such awesome value. Every time you fly you feel like you’ve won something as you’ve structured your spending to beat the system.

I’m a commercial person. If I can help someone fly five times and save $25,000, if I can create that type of value for them, then I know they will be prepared to pay me for that.

When small businesses know they can travel more, they start going to more conferences. They learn more about their industry. They create more connections. They can make quicker trips too, heading to Europe or the US for a couple of days and then back again a few weeks later, rather than having to spend 2-3 weeks there to make the most of the expense.

It enhances their business lifestyle and their personal lifestyle because it gives them a sense of freedom. Anywhere in the world is 24 hours away in relative comfort, in business or first class. There are no regrets for taking a flight.

I’m a commercial person. If I can help someone fly five times and save $25,000, if I can create that type of value for them, then I know they will be prepared to pay me for that. I know how hard it is to run a business, so the whole idea that you can score a reward through existing expenditure is something worth achieving.

Customers typically target a particular flight and a particular route only because it’s what they know. Our service helps them discover that perhaps they can fly Etihad first class on a different date, or perhaps they can stop over in Abu Dhabi for two days and that will be amazing and they’ve never been there before, and they will discover and learn new things.
We seek to open up the world, at no additional cost to them. We help them discover new destinations and new airlines that they otherwise wouldn’t pay money for and, in turn, help them discover new business opportunities. Every time I travel, I return fresh with ideas that improves my business.

Small business owners are our core target because their business has spending power. We show them how to pay B2B bills with their credit card in order to earn points. We help people understand the whole cycle, from expenditure to points to flight. My mission is to make points valuable, not just something that could be useful. I want points to be seen like any other currency that can be used to pay for travel.

Points are very much ‘use it or lose it’. If you’re paying for something and you don’t use the right card to take the points, you don’t get a second chance. Once you’ve lost the opportunity to earn the points on a transaction, the opportunity is lost forever.
That’s how I approach customers. They’re running a business, they’re spending their money but often not getting the rewards. That for me is a real shame. I ask them, “why pour points down the drain?”

Our number one driver is value. I want travel to be more accessible for more companies, cheaply, so they can expand their horizons and build successful businesses.
In my own small way, that’s what I’m trying to do.

Steve Hui is the Chief Executive of iFLYflat.