Accor has now formally relaunched its program under the name of ALL – with the big ambition to turn it into a lifestyle program with increased utility for everyday activities. While that development work is still in its early stage, some new earn opportunities have already been added, such as local services at Accor properties or Accor restaurant visits without staying at the property. It will be interesting to see how things will evolve from here, both in traditional areas – such as banking partners, an area Accor was always shy of getting involved in – and in new areas. But the good news is that all these enhancements will take place on the back of the same basic value proposition as before in terms of the core earn and burn opportunities rather than having misused that change for a program devaluation as it could have been feared from looking at other program makeovers.
While several airlines – though still by far a minority – have switched to a revenue basis with their FFPs, nobody seems to struggle as much as Lufthansa to find the right accrual rate. It was quickly understood that the initial accrual rate of 4 miles per EUR was not really sustainable in front of the high award levels at Miles & More and the rate has been adjusted several times since then, though on promotional basis and for certain segments only. As such, intercontinental Lufthansa Economy Class flights earned a higher rate of 6 miles per EUR spent since 01 February, which has now again increased to 7 miles throughout December. Flights to California and Texas even earn 20 or 24 miles per EUR. Premium Economy travel still earns 5 miles per EUR spent until the end of the year. It is though everyone’s best guess which rates will apply in 2020 – going back to the official 4 miles per EUR seems in any case not viable anymore. And customers are obviously eager to see such improved earn rates being extended to the other Miles & More carriers, including Swiss, Austrian Airlines and LOT. Interesting to note that no other major carrier having switched to a revenue basis – from Delta to United and Air France KLM – has ever touched their initial earn rate since being established…
Air France/KLM and Qantas have started a full reciprocal earn/burn partnership in their programs Flying Blue and Frequent Flyer. This partnership beyond alliance boundaries makes a lot of sense as it helps both programs to overcome gaps in their coverage. For Flying Blue members, it used to be a bit tricky to get Down Under since the program had only Asian partners such as China Southern or China Airlines, which are clear second choices for flights from Europe to Australia – compared to the larger Southeastern Asian or the Gulf carriers represented in the other alliances. Since the respective demise of Malév and Air Berlin, Qantas has clearly been lacking travel options within Central Europe since all its other European partners from S7 Airlines to Iberia really locate at the edges of Europe. A welcome value addition for members of both programs!
The Far East tends to have some rather generous FFPs, but this usually comes at the price of a restrictive expiry policy. While most major programs in other markets now apply a non-expiry rule at least for active members, this has so far not yet been the case with the major programs in the Far East. Asia Miles‘ initiative to stop mileage expiry for miles accrued as of 01 January for members with an account activity every 18 months is therefore a very welcome development. Even for international members, it should not be too difficult to meet that condition given the large partner network. It remains to be seen how big the pressure will effect other airlines in the region – from Japan Airlines to Singapore Airlines – to follow the example of Asia Miles.
While you might still be wondering what the real good news for a frequent traveller like yourself will be in 2020, it will be difficult to top that one:
Happy New Year and enjoy each day – because YOUR life is not eternal!