Applying pragmatic approaches is probably the best anybody involved in the travel industry can do these days. Qantas and its Frequent Flyer are good examples to get inspired from. When Australia and New Zealand started a travel bubble in mid-April, there was no long internal discussion how to maximise cash flow, but the airline offered all seats on these flights for redemption to its Frequent Flyer members during the first three days of operation. In parallel, the airline started to reopen its lounges, but current traffic volumes don’t yet justify opening all lounges. As such, only the high-end First Class lounges are open in Sydney and Melbourne, which are usually reserved to First Class passengers and top elite Platinum members. But until more lounges will come back on board, even Gold members can access these lounges. And in New Zealand, eligible tier members can even access the lounges of competitor Air New Zealand until Qantas reopens its own lounges.
Without any announcement, Emirates has aligned the previously independent award tables of its numerous airline partners in its Skywards program to a single distance-based table. What could be welcomed as simplification turned out, however, to be a partially massive price increase of these awards – even if one might find an award through an extensive search, which became cheaper. Moreover, all awards are now calculated on a segment basis, what increases the price for connection flights additionally. That’s a pity since the program was until now an alternative to pool miles across a wide partner network reaching from Qantas to Korean Air, S7 Airlines and Jetblue or Copa, to name only a few, in spite of the absence of the very big names in Europe and North America.
When United stopped publishing award charts for its MileagePlus program in 2019, the fear was big that United would misuse this for hidden price increases. As a matter of fact, award prices on United have become much more dynamic, with good and bad surprises. While you might be lucky to find a one-way transcontinental flight in Economy Class for less than 10,000 miles, the cheapest flight might cost more than 25,000 miles on the next day. The practice is different with airline partners, where all awards are still capacity-controlled: No award prices are published anymore either, but an unpublished award table still applies, which is though subject to more frequent fluctuations than previously. Many prices went up by an average of 10% compared to the old values, but some decreased as well. As such, you can currently get one-way flights within Europe for flights of up to 500 miles for a mere 6,000 miles. United’s Star partner Lufthansa would, as comparison, charge you 17,500 miles for such a flight in its Miles & More program…
Vietnamese carrier Bamboo Airways continues to pursue what is probably one of the most ambitious (and though realistic) airline projects these days – based on a clear vision and strategy. As part of this strategy, the airline was already running a status match promotion in its Bamboo Club loyalty program in 2020, coupled with the condition of taking a Business Class flight. A new offer is running now until June 30 and offers unconditional status match to all elite members of any program belonging to one of the three alliances. In absence of any airline partnerships, such status is though only of any practical use if you really fly with Bamboo Airways.
If you belong to those persons, who would love to travel a lot, but still doubt where exactly this is possible, you should perhaps consider spending the nice summer months in Alaska: the small local Bering Air has launched an attractive program in the shape of Gold Points. The lack of a partners has been compensated by a creative approach. For each flight, one receives 10 points. For 200 points, you get, as example, either 200 USD in cash or 10,000 miles in the Frequent Flyer Program of your choice. How Bering Air handles that exactly with a program not offering miles for purchase is though not fully clear. Or what happens if you request, for instance, 10,000 points in the program of Air New Zealand, where those have a cash value of 10,000 New Zealand dollars …? With 400 points, you can get delivered 55 gallons of gasoline or heating fuel and with 1,000 points, you can request any award flight worldwide.