News

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

 

LH-LO-DE

It was kind of predictable that Lufthansa would not be amused when LOT‘s parent holding company PGL agreed to purchase Condor, a long-standing partner of Lufthansa. Already LOT’s own development – like the one of Turkish Airlines – was never viewed very positively in Frankfurt since it was considered that they took away markets from Lufthansa. [@Lufthansa, that is called competition!]. But purchasing outright a large German carrier like Condor will obviously take the relationship between the two Star partners to new strains. Lufthansa has already announced that they would consider terminating the partnership agreement with Condor in its Miles & More program – but no word yet about what is to happen to LOT itself, which uses the Miles & More program on a co-branded basis. But ultimately, it is probably an arrangement, which doesn’t make any sense for either side and it might only be a question which side understands that first and decides to exit from it.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

VS-AF

While the UK is now going its own way, its second largest carrier Virgin Atlantic is going the opposite way. For the first time ever, its Frequent Flyer Program Flying Club has concluded a partnership with an airline from the heart of Europe, Air France KLM. This eliminates one of the historic key weaknesses of the program in terms of network coverage and makes the – basically generous – program all of a sudden much more relevant for members on the European continent. The award structure follows hereby the template of the principle known from Avios and award flights are especially in Economy Class during off-peak periods extremely cheap, e.g. 30,000 miles for a roundtrip flight from Western Europe to the US West coast. While awards are generally calculated on a segment basis, connecting flights of up to 1,750 miles one-way distance are not charged extra. By the way, the new Virgin Group-wide loyalty program Virgin Red is to launch soon and we will all know then what will happen to the underlying value proposition. But given the competitive situation in the UK, we don’t expect any bad surprises here.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

LA-ow

Once you know that your future is elsewhere, it might be better to turn the page quickly. This seems to be the credo of LATAM, which has moved forward the date to leave oneworld by five months compared to what was announced initially, to May 01. As reported, some bilateral partnerships with oneworld partners will be maintained, but you definitely need to adjust your planning if ever you’ve counted using LATAM or LatamPass for anything related to the alliance after May 01, such as earning status points or redeeming miles on multi-carrier oneworld itineraries. Hence, such things will very soon be a thing of the past. If you live in South America and LATAM is your main carrier, things may not change too much for you at a practical level, but if you take LATAM only occasionally, the changes might indeed be significant.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

AS

Alaska Airlines finds more and more followers for its Mileage Plan thanks to the large network of international airline partners – spanning from LATAM to British Airways, Emirates and Singapore Airlines – on which generous bonuses in premium cabins are earned. Frequent flyers can also qualify for elite membership solely by flying on these airlines and earn an additional mileage bonus of up to 125%. But between March 01 and December 31, the program also addresses its price sensitive travellers: Travelling on a long-haul flight to/from North America earns at least 5,000 miles per sector. As an Economy Class flight between New York and London on British Airways, as example, would usually earn between 865 and 3,458 miles, this represents a significant uptake, especially at the lowest fares. These additional miles making up the difference to 5,000 miles are though non-qualifying miles. A registration for this promotion is not required. With the announcement that Alaska Airlines is to join oneworld in mid 2021, it needs though to be kept a close eye on what will happen to that generous program proposition.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

Sta-UA

United was the first airline to enforce a new Star Alliance rule regarding lounge access for Gold members – or it was apparently rather the initiator of such rule, which was afterwards formally adopted by Star Alliance. As of now, it is up to the discretion of each airline to decide whether members of Star Alliance partner programs with Gold status are still allowed to access third-party lounges when flying in Economy Class. Concretely this means that Gold members in Star partner programs aren’t entitled anymore to lounge access when flying in Economy Class on United from places such as Madrid, Prague or Santiago. Access to lounges operated by Star partners continues to be granted in any case though.