The Virgin Atlantic program plans to relaunch into a wider loyalty program for the entire Virgin group, although this has been delayed, Flying Club members are still entitled to an interesting innovation in the current program – which is most likely to make it into the new program as well since it is introduced during this transition period: Redemption flights on Virgin Atlantic now earn tier points, hence providing members some ease to reach the next membership level. In each cabin, the number of points earned is the same as in the lowest fare class for paid tickets. Such feature already exists in some hotel programs for hotel award stays, but is unheard of in Frequent Flyer Programs for award flights paid in full by miles.
Although several other airlines would be in the position, surprisingly nobody in India has yet managed to fill the void left by Jet Airways at the loyalty level. While its former JetPrivilege program is still around in its rebranded form of InterMiles (but can’t really be called a Frequent Flyer Program with Etihad being the only true airline partner?), especially the unparalleled airline partner network of JetPrivilege is dearly missed until today. Full-service carrier Vistara might be closest to fill that gap, but still has a long way to go: Partially owned by Singapore Airlines, Club Vistara already had partnerships with Singapore Airlines/SilkAir and United. This has now been completed by oneworld member Japan Airlines. This is obviously still ways off the former 20+ partners across the world of JetPrivilege, but the main problem is the value proposition at Club Vistara, reducing the practical relevance of these and any future partnerships to close to zero. For instance, a roundtrip redemption flight in Business Class between North America and Japan on Japan Airlines with the usual capacity restrictions costs 560,000 miles. Five-hundred-sixty thousand!
Similar to some US and other airlines, Miles & More has introduced the possibility to purchase packages that allows earning additional miles on flights, within certain limits. These “Multiply Miles” offers represent though at around 2 EUR cents per mile only a slightly improved price compared to the regular purchase price of miles, what is far above the value most customers would get out of any award, especially given the high award prices at Miles & More. Hence this is an option that should to be used in very specific cases only (but makes more sense than the straight purchase of miles if you know that you’ll be flying anyway). The communication is not entirely clear, but the additional miles are apparently only earned on Lufthansa flights and not on other Miles & More airlines. The timing for introducing this feature might not be the smartest either as members would certainly have welcomed other means of being engaged other than through flying these days – and with a far superior value proposition. But if you are really in the business of buying Star Alliance miles, it might be a better idea to turn to Avianca’s LifeMiles program, where you can still buy miles with a bonus of up to 200% until September 25. This takes the price per mile to as low as 1.1 US cents.
Double points promotions might not be sufficient to get people to travel again, but they can certainly do no harm and can have an impact for those already back on the road. And the more simple the promotion is, the better. Hilton is therefore certainly worth mentioning in the hospitality space as it offers double points and double status nights for all stays in its Hilton Honors program until December 31. Registration is required. While double status nights might not be the most relevant thing in this shortened year, they are valuable for Hilton Honors members since all status nights earned this year will be combined with status nights earned in 2021 in order to determine the status for 2022. This promotion can hence represent a welcome head start for a better future for Hilton Honors members!
As often in the past, Hyatt is simply doing it better though: A few days after Hilton, it announced a triple points promotion across all its properties in its World of Hyatt program, from October 01 to January 04. If you hold their co-branded credit card and stay at one of some 350 resort properties, this is even increased to quadruple points. Next, any tier nights earned during the promotion period will also count for the new 2021 qualification year (as well as for 2020, of course). In parallel, the promotion to receive a kickback of 15% of the points used for redemption stays (25% for credit card holders) has been extended through January 04, with a registration required by December 01.
24 August 2020
Listening to customers is an art for itself. While many loyalty programs incorporate such strategy to define future features, most fail to interpret correctly what they hear and/or to translate this into the appropriate action.
I’ve been passionate about aviation ever since I can remember and about FFPs ever since I started to think – yes, I am not one of these young bloggers, who were even not yet among us on 01 May 1981, when an idea of American Airlines was
All the details have not yet been revealed, but Air Canada will relaunch its Aeroplan program on November 08. In a nutshell, the basic value proposition will deteriorate, whilst some new interesting elements will be introduced. Most award levels will slightly increase and accrual on Air Canada will move to a revenue basis in early 2021, but will also apply a low earn rate of 3 points per CAD, meaning that most clients will earn less points than now. On the redemption side, all fuel surcharges (incl. on partner airlines) will be scrapped, but a flat redemption fee of 39 CAD per person will be introduced for redemptions on partner airlines. Any stopovers will also be charged 5,000 miles extra. On the other side, a family account (which is not really limited to family members) will be introduced as well as, among others, new benefits for co-branded credit card holders and a new optional elite benefit called status pass. These passes can be handed to other persons, which will benefit of priority services for flights during one day, if applicable together with travel companions. In summary, the changes are certainly not black or white, but probably whiter when you reside in Canada and blacker otherwise. Given the current situation, it would have been desirable if Air Canada used the delay in the program launch to make the changes a bit whiter for everybody.
History books might call Qatar Airways the winner of the crisis. And this would not be by chance, but the result of a clear commitment to the market. In April, this airline alone accounted for 17.8% (!) of the global market share – more than the following four airlines combined! And the airline understands that it needs its frequent flyers. After several offers in the Privilege Club, the airline has now announced to stop the previous mileage expiration after three years for any active member, defined as a member with an account activity every 36 months. While many other airlines obviously work along the same lines (incl. Etihad, recently changing to that rule with a 18-month condition), changing to such a rule adds a tremendous amount of financial liabilities to any airline. Being willing to accept this in the current context – hence putting the interest of members above anything else – is, to say the least, highly remarkable. Let’s see whether this positive journey will continue as the program has nevertheless many remaining weaknesses to address, notably the overall lack of generosity of the program structure.
Although LATAM left the oneworld alliance earlier this year, it didn’t hurt LATAM Pass members too much, since benefits were widely maintained (except with American Airlines, which had left the program). While the earn/burn partnerships will continue to be maintained with the former partners, harsher times are ahead for elite members since they won’t receive benefits from oneworld carriers as of October 01. The new benefits already in place with Delta will probably not compensate for that loss for most international travellers. To ease that loss, LATAM Pass tier members will get a modest mileage bonus of 15 or 30% when flying on the former oneworld partners, except for flights to/from South America. But that bonus will only be offered on a promotional basis until December 31, 2021…