A brief history of air miles…

I write regarding your new story: “Rival Air Miles start-up lures Safeway man” (MW May 8).

We were most interested to read this but must put the record straight.

Air Miles was conceived, created and developed in 1987 by the directors of a London W1 advertising agency – Mills Smith & Partners. The company was first incorporated in that year as a vehicle to carry the Air Miles trademark and to license operating companies to run the Air Miles programme in selected countries throughout the world.

The original inventors of Air Miles were the original shareholders of Air Miles International Holdings NV. Philip Beard, mentioned in your article, had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the invention of Air Miles. Furthermore, I would add that Philip Beard was not a shareholder in this company – the original founding company of Air Miles.

Air Miles’s invention followed an approach made by the then operations director of British Caledonian – Alan Deller. Responding to a brief to maximise excess airline seat capacity, the agency put together a long-term, multi-brand sales promotion programme that gave consumers of selected products and services the unique opportunity to fly free on British Airways to over 150 worldwide destinations.

The now famous “Flying Boat” logo, the international trademark for Air Miles, was conceived and designed by Geoffrey Bean, as a vehicle to carry the Air Miles trademark and to license operating companies to run the Air Miles programme in selected countries throughout the world.

The director of Mills Smith & Partners and co-inventors of Air Miles are as follows:Keith Mills, Brian Smith, William Kershaw, Geoffrey Bean, Peter Badham, Nick Tomlin and Alan Deller – now chief executive of Air Miles Travel Promotions.

Brian Smith

FCM Market Communications


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