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Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

BA

Apparently on a trial basis for the time being, British Airways is currently offering award flights in its Executive Club within Europe both in Economy and Business Class with an additional tax payment of 1 EUR/GBP per sector only – but against the redemption of a higher mileage amount. Compared to the base offer with a payment of 21/31 EUR per sector in Economy/Business Class, an additional 3,500/5,000 miles is required to bring this payment down. This translates into a poor redemption value of less than 0.6 EUR cents per mile – making this offer a non-starter, unless you are really a mileage billionaire without any cash left in your pocket. The real issue of the program remains though the horrendous surcharges it applies on redemption flights on long-haul flights, such as 430 Euro for a one-way flight in Business Class from London to Tokyo.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

WN-Tur

Car sharing platform Turo – a concept similar to what Airbnb does for accommodation – has now entered its first FFP partnership with Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards program. Members earn 2,000 points for their first rental of minimum 50 USD as well as 500 points for any subsequent rental. Renting out its car for the first time earns 10,000 points. The partnership is currently positioned as promotion running until October 15 only and points earning are capped at 30,000 points during that period. Let’s hope the promotion will be successful for both sides and become a permanent program feature, encouraging Turo to team up also with more FFPs, much like Airbnb did. By the way, Airbnb recently started another FFP partnership with a mainline program in the form of British Airways’ Executive Club, where the highest earn rate of all its partnerships applies (3 miles per EUR/GBP).

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

UO

It doesn’t happen very often that an airline halts its FFP as a strategic decision. But that is exactly what HK Express announced on the very day when its take-over by Cathay Pacific cleared the last administrative hurdle. Once started with big ambitions, reward-U will end on August 20. Members can still redeem their points until the end of the year under the current conditions or convert them at a ratio of 8-to-1 into miles of Cathay’s Asia Miles program in the fourth quarter. In the latter, HK Express is now also already a redemption partner, but it seems unlikely that the partnership will be extended to the accrual side.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

AZ

While Milan’s Linate airport – the one closest to the city centre – is closed for renovation work until October 27, Alitalia ensures that we don’t really miss it: Not only has it relocated many of its flights to the two other airports in the region, to Milan’s main airport Malpensa and to Bergamo, but MilleMiglia members also earn double miles on all flights to/from these airports on the short- and medium-haul network during the closure of Linate or enjoy award flights at a 20% discount. Also flights to Rome are subject to the higher accrual table, which usually applies to flights from Linate. Moreover, various non-air partners offer additional benefits, most notably car rental company Maggiore, offering 3,000 bonus miles for any rental of at least two days at the two airports, plus a complimentary refill of the tank. But if you have expected, that train company Trenitalia would use this opportunity to aggressively convince travellers that they are the most convenient travel option between the two biggest Italian cities, you are wrong. Not a single word about it since they are the leading force in the latest take-over plans of Alitalia in the never-ending saga of the Alitalia rescue. So, if they ran a simple double points promotion in their CartaFRECCIA program, there would probably nothing be left to be rescued…

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

EY-Boo

Booking.com has in the meantime almost 40 FFP partnerships – and it is definitely worth comparing them since very different accrual rates apply across them. The latest addition, Etihad Guest, applies thereby one of the most rewarding ones, between 3 and 6 miles – depending on the property – per USD spent. Many other partners apply rather 1 or 2 miles per EUR/USD. However, you should not be in a hurry to use these newly earned Etihad miles: According to their website, they are credited only 75 days after check-out. Probably the accrual information is transmitted by falcons.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

Acc-AF

The relationship between the two French travel giants Air France KLM and Accor has not always been smooth over the last few years – but that page now seems to have been turned for good. While especially US Frequent Flyer Programs pioneered the concept of a close cooperation with one major hotel program, these cooperations usually fail to win big traction, mostly because they are limited to elite members and offer only limited mutual status recognition and benefits. However, what Air France KLM and Accor have now introduced has simply nothing do to with all that: All members of Flying Blue now earn 10 bonus miles per 10 EUR spent at Accor hotels (2-5 miles at lower brands) while Le Club Accorhotels (the program will soon be rebranded into ALL) members earn 5 bonus points per 10 EUR spent with Air France or KLM. Members need to link their account once (through either of the two programs). The same accrual rules as in the partner program apply, meaning for instance that bookings from third channels are excluded for Flying Blue accrual with Accor or that only flights operated by Air France, KLM or HOP! are eligible for Le Club Accorhotels accrual.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

QF

Qantas has announced major changes to its Frequent Flyer – but not a move to a revenue basis, which remains unpopular in Asia Pacific among full service carriers. Some Economy Class awards have already decreased while all awards in premium cabins and upgrades will increase on September 18. At the same time, Qantas has drastically increased the number of award seats on its flights, reduced its (unreasonably high) fuel surcharges on award tickets by up to 50% (which means that they still remain too high!) and will introduce several redemption only partners over the next couple of months in the form of Air New Zealand, China Airlines, Air France, KLM and Bangkok Airways. Other enhancements include the introduction of a lifetime Platinum status and a tier program for members accumulating at least 150,000 points per year across all activities, including with non-air partners.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

TP

While it is good to see that TAP Air Portugal has left its decades of limited commitment to the FFP topic by implementing many changes, this has now seemed to turn into a hyperactivity, not necessarily with the best outcome for customers. As such, award levels for TAP Air Portugal flights were changed to a fully dynamic pricing in its Miles&Go program in late June without any advance warning. While it is true that prices might be lower than before as a result (and that availability is better), the reality is that you will see a doubling of most prices unless you book 6 months ahead and don’t mind taking a connecting flight through Porto when using a flight such as from Paris to Lisbon, leaving you enough time to see all the beauties of the city during your stop-over. In many cases, award flights on Star Alliance partners are actually cheaper – capacity provided, of course. They continue to be priced on a fixed award table. But since this table is actually one of the least generous ones within the Star Alliance, it tells everything about the new prevailing award pricing on TAP if the TAP levels are even above them…

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

WY

Oman Air will change the accrual logic for its own flights in its Sindbad program on August 01. The airline refrains thereby as well from moving to a revenue basis, but based the new system thereby on the brand groups of its fares. As a matter of fact, the differences compared to the current booking class system should be minimal, unless you use the cheapest Super Saver fares in Economy Class, where you’ll earn only 10% of miles flown going forward. While there is a certain logic to use branded fares, this only makes sense for customers booking over the Oman Air website since it is only there that these fare brands really become transparent. For any client using a different channel – what certainly doesn’t happen on an exceptional basis for a niche carrier such as Oman Air – it will be more or less a surprise how many miles are earned until one sees its account statement after the flight.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

PAR hotel Eiffel tower

As always, summer in the Northern hemisphere is the best time to rack up loyalty bonuses at hotel chains targeting primarily business travellers. So, if you are in need of hotel stays during the coming weeks, it is definitely worth looking for and checking out the different offers. They include, without being limited to, for instance (running at least until August 31, but often even longer): Double points at Hilton properties from the second stay onwards plus additional bonus points (Hilton Honors), 1,500 bonus points per stay of at least two nights at Marriott hotels (Marriott Bonvoy), individual bonuses per member at Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG Rewards Club), 3,000 bonus points per stay at Radisson properties starting with the second stay (Radisson Rewards), triple award points and double status points at VOILÀ properties (VOILÀ Hotel Rewards) or a one-time 20 USD gift certificate for a stay at a Best Western hotel (Best Western Rewards). Happy holidays!