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Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

 

LH

After the failed switch to a revenue basis by applying a too low earn rate factor, which has since then been partially corrected on a promotional basis, Miles & More will also adjust the recognition side of the program as of 2021. The introduction of a simplified status points system is nothing bad per se and follows closely the idea of Air France KLM. Required qualification efforts will roughly remain equal to today, although deviations might occur depending on one’s exact profile. But this obviously means that the program has missed a great opportunity to make the program more relevant since the qualification thresholds of Miles & More are today among the highest in the industry. A new major restriction will though be that half of all required status points will need to be collected on the Lufthansa Group/Miles & More core airlines. The duration of the status will be cut to one year (as in most other programs) and a new lifetime elite status will be introduced. To become a lifetime Senator member, you’d need to earn 10,000 status points on the Lufthansa Group/Miles & More core airlines – what corresponds for instance to 667 long-haul segments in Economy Class – and to be a Senator or HON Circle member for ten consecutive years… The best news is though probably that their weird system of status stars – which had no other purpose than serving the egos of members as there were no benefits attached – will be buried as part of the makeover. Star points will thereby be converted into qualifying points in order to count towards life status and customers having earned four or five stars by the end of 2020 will be awarded lifetime Senator status straight away.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

BA

While the main issue of the Executive Club are not really the award levels, especially not during off-peak periods, but rather the unreasonable surcharges on long-haul flights on award tickets, the current award sale might be nevertheless interesting. For bookings until November 21 and travel until April 30, 2020, all long-haul award flights on British Airways to/from London are discounted by 50% on the mileage side in Economy and Premium Economy. Flights in Business and First Class – where mileage levels are, however, comparably expensive as well – feature a modest discount of 10% only.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

PG-EK

Bangkok Airways’ FlyerBonus might not be the most attractive program, but it has just concluded a new FFP partnership agreement with Emirates, what opens new opportunities: As a matter of fact, that partnership adds to existing partnerships with Qatar Airways and Etihad, meaning that members can pool points for flights on any of these three airlines into one single program. The program hence might be an option to consider especially for price-sensitive customers between Europe and Asia/Australia, which risk ending up regularly on one of these Gulf carriers and which don’t aspire any additional benefits through achieving an elite membership. It should be noted though that points in the FlyerBonus program expire after three years, even for active members.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

JeP

The good news first: The JetPrivilege program is still alive, even if hopes for a resurrection of Jet Airways become smaller and smaller. Yesterday, it was though renamed into InterMiles in order to break also in a symbolic manner with its past. The program has, however, lost all airline partners in the meantime, with the exception of Etihad Airways, which continues to be the majority owner of the program. But the program has managed, other than Air Berlin’s topbonus back in time, to maintain the practical value of the program by also offering opportunities to redeem points. As such, the program has by now become mainly a booking platform for flights and hotels and therefore represents a possibility to double dip with traditional Frequent Flyer Programs.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

Tri

Widely unnoticed in the Western world, Chinese platform Trip.com has quickly become the second largest online travel agency in the world. And it has no intention to limit its reach to its home market as the numerous partnerships with Frequent Flyer Programs demonstrate. And booking a hotel through Trip.com is now more rewarding than ever, since bookings until November 30 for stays until January 31, 2020 are awarded with bonus miles with most of its partner programs. Online bookings earn, depending on the program, double or triple points and bookings through the mobile app triple or quadruple. Combining these different promotional rates with the different base earn rates makes the choice of the right FFP though a bit tricky, but in many cases, the Asia Miles program is likely to come out as best option for this promotion. As an example, a 7-night holiday at a cost of 150 EUR/night booked through the app would earn some 7,200 miles here.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

LA-DL

After the Chilean authorities put a veto on the planned joint venture between LATAM and American Airlines, LATAM changed the game completely and announced in a surprise move that it would leave the oneworld alliance – because Delta took a 20% share in the carrier. What that will mean for LATAM Pass members remains to be seen. No formal date for leaving oneworld has yet been announced (although this could happen rather quickly) and it could also be the case that LATAM might maintain several of its existing FFP partnerships with oneworld members, for instance with British Airways, Iberia and Qantas, very much as China Southern keeps on doing with most of its former SkyTeam partners almost one year after having formally left the alliance. This is even more likely since LATAM shows no signs to intend to join the SkyTeam alliance. As a result, Delta will sell its stake in Gol – LATAM’s strongest competitor in Brazil, what is also likely to put an end to their close FFP relationship. The other question is whether Qatar Airways will retain its 10% stake in LATAM no longer being a oneworld member. In a parallel move, LATAM has now unified its three programs LATAM Pass, LATAM Fidelidade and Multiplus under the common roof of LATAM Pass.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

AA-QF

American Airlines had more success with another joint venture, the one with Qantas. After having received the green light in July, members of the two programs AAdvantage and Qantas Frequent Flyer now earn more (award and status) points on the respective partner. While Qantas has simply aligned the points level on American Airlines to the level of its own flights (with some exceptions), limited to flights to Australia and New Zealand as well as to flights within North America, the effort made by American Airlines looks more considerable at first sight: the accrual rates in Business and First Class are now much higher than on other partners. But after a more in-depth comparison, one realises that the program of Qantas’ other US partner, Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan, remains the more lucrative option in most cases, even without having any privileged partnership with Qantas.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

UAUnited will change the elite qualification in MileagePlus as of 2020 to a full revenue basis, whereby members need to spend 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 and 24,000 USD per year on United to qualify for the different elite levels. These levels are ca. 20% lower when flying at least 12, 24, 36 or 54 segments on United. Using the co-branded credit card by Chase can contribute a maximum of 1,000 points towards these thresholds by spending 24,000 USD per year, making the product much less attractive. Flights on qualifying partner airlines are taken into account by dividing the number of redeemable miles earned by 6 (by 5 for United’s closest partners, such as Lufthansa, ANA and Air Canada). A minimum of four flight segments on United is required in any case, as previously. For the majority of customers, it should therefore be expected that qualification becomes slightly more difficult. A more positive move is the elimination of the rigid regional and global upgrade certificates for Platinum members and above as part of their elite benefits, in favour of a new currency called PlusPoints, which they can exchange for such upgrades on United, but in a much more flexible way. For instance, you may now combine regional upgrades to use them as a global upgrade. And whatever pattern you may think of, you are at least as well off with the new system as with the old one.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

BA

While strikes at many European airlines are somewhat regular and those airlines would not think to make special efforts for their frequent flyers, things are different at British Airways: A 2-day strike was sufficient to come up with rewarding offers for all Executive Club members: British Airways flights booked by December 13 and flown until June 30, 2020 qualify for double miles. A registration is required, the only other restriction is that this offer is capped at 10 flight segments. Only a few days remain, however, for the second offer: A 50% bonus is granted on hotel bookings with Marriott, Accor or through the booking platforms of booking.com and Hotels.com for bookings until October 18. Stays may take place at any time, with the exception of Accor stays, which need to be completed by December 31 under this offer.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

QR-Kal

While competitor Rocketmiles regularly offers promotions with its partners for new customers, the promotions of Kaligo are usually more generous and valid for all customers. Like that, one receives currently a bonus of 20,000 miles in the Qatar Airways program Privilege Club for reservations until November 30 (and stays until June 30, 2020), if the cumulated expenses – also across several reservations – reach at least 2,000 USD (5,000 and 10,000 miles respectively are earned for 500 and 1,000 USD). Together with the regular mileage credits, which can reach 25,000 miles or more for expenses of 2,000 USD with many hotels, one can fairly easily accrue 45,000 miles or more. Even if you apply only a redemption value of 1 US Cent per mile after the recent devaluations of the Privilege Club program, this still corresponds to a saving of about 25% – what can hardly be achieved by other means in the hotel sector, including with hotel programs.