AOL Time Warner’s
America Online unit is expanding its
discount club program, through a deal with Norwalk, Conn.-based Trilegiant
The deal extends a 1997 agreement with New York-based travel and hotel
which in June outsourced its well-known
membership business to Trilegiant.
Cendant essentially spun Trilegiant out earlier this year to house its membership services
business, in a bid to erase a tarnished reputation by establishing a new corporate identity. That membership services unit group, of course, was at the heart of a 1998 controversy surrounding Cendant corporate accountings and earnings irregularities, which occurred
just months after the merger of the company’s parents, membership services giant CUC International and time-share marketer HFS Inc.
Now, with a new name and with ex-Cendant employees at its head, the group is looking to make a comeback, starting with the AOL deal. Through a renewal of the original agreement, Dulles, Va.-based America Online’s users will be offered
entrance into Trilegiant’s Shoppers Advantage, Travelers Advantage,
AutoVantage, and PrivacyGuard membership services, which offer discounts and
other incentives for a wide range of goods and services. As a result,
America Online expects to benefit from increased sales volume.
“Working together, we can continue making Trilegiant Corporation’s
best-in-class member services in travel, shopping, auto, and credit
protection available to users of America Online’s brands,” said Trilegiant
president and CEO Scott Bernstein.
In addition, AOL and Trilegiant announced a separate agreement, in which
Trilegiant’s Marketing Services unit would promote the America Online
service, through a number of unspecified distribution channels. In return,
AOL will dole out per-user commissions, though the companies did not
disclose specifics. (Through its continuing relationship with Trilegiant,
Cendant will receive a cut from the Marketing Services group’ income from
“We’ve had a successful relationship since we began working with Cendant
in 1997, and we’re pleased to announce this new agreement with Trilegiant
Corporation to enable the users of our brands to continue enjoying their
popular membership services,” said America Online chairman and chief
executive Barry Schuler. “We’re also happy to expand our relationship to
include Trilegiant Marketing Services becoming one of the partners who will
join us in marketing the AOL service to reach potential new members.”