There is little doubt that Qatar Airways is serious about getting out of Covid in a much better shape than before. Early into the crisis, it has done away the strange surcharge for booking award flights in Privilege Club, now it has reversed its massive 2018 award price increase for its own flights, reducing award levels by up to 35%. Most notably this means that it is now again cheaper in any case to redeem on Qatar Airways rather than on partner airlines on routings, where such choice exists. The only strange thing: Although a very bold and positive move, there was no communication whatsoever about it… Maybe they were still ashamed of what they did in first place with the price increase?
The Alaska Airlines program Mileage Plan has a certain number of members abroad benefitting of the program’s super generous credits for premium travel across its wide range of airline partners. And as flights on these partner airlines also count towards reaching their elite status with another rich mileage bonus, it becomes even more interesting for frequent flyers. It is not yet entirely clear what will happen to the program when Alaska Airlines joins the oneworld alliance on March 31 – except for the fact that elite requirements will remain low, but will require a minimum of segments flown on Alaska Airlines each year. This will put elite status out of reach for many of these international members, which are admittedly not the key target group of the program. Although, a positive sign comes in form of the new accrual partnership with Qatar Airways, which is launching today (15 December) and where the generous bonuses for premium travel are maintained. So, the key questions still to understand are what the (global) redemption table will look like and what will happen to the non-oneworld airline partners in the program such as Emirates or Singapore Airlines, which are also adding value today.
If an idea is good, there is nothing bad about copying it. After the (revolutionary) introduction of a double dip partnership between the loyalty programs of Air France KLM, Flying Blue, and of Accor, ALL, Accor is apparently pleased with the results. As of mid-2021, Accor will use that blueprint to launch a similar partnership with Qantas and its program Frequent Flyer. Once launched, registered Accor members will earn bonus points for all Qantas flights taken, in addition to any points earned in the Qantas program. On the other side Qantas members will earn when staying at Accor properties, although only in the Asia Pacific region. The possibility to double dip for Flying Blue members has no geographical limitation. Detailed accrual rates have not yet been published. It should be noted that ALL members cannot register for both double dip offers with Qantas and Air France KLM.
Planning ahead for your travel next year definitely pays off as many attractive offers are available for those daring to anticipate a return to a more normal life, be it around the loyalty currency or straight money-based deals. But if you are a Miles&Smiles member, you may have actually even no other choice: Turkish Airlines is one of the few major carriers that have not suspended its mileage expiry policy, although it has a harsh 3-year expiry rule, independently of your activities or status. So, there are all the reasons to use the current 30% discount on all Turkish Airlines award flights for reservations until December 31 and travel until June 15, 2021.
Without becoming political, one needs to recognise two achievements of Mr. Trump: Without his massive state support, there would probably not be a single airline left in the US today. And what still seemed completely unthinkable until recently will become reality in spring thanks to him: a reciprocal Frequent Flyer partnership between Etihad and El Al in their programs Etihad Guest and Matmid Club. Especially for the Matmid Club, this will represent a welcome extension of its partner network, which is traditionally one (however not the only one) weak point of the program. A partnership between El Al and Gulf Air is also in the making. But as Trump will now have more time in 2021, it remains to be seen if he will finally take care of an enhancement of the Trump Card, the loyalty program of his Trump Hotels.