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Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

One-CZ-AT

After it was quiet around alliances for some time, some new developments have occurred in recent weeks. China Southern, one of the ten largest carriers worldwide, has announced they will leave the SkyTeam alliance, which will take place gradually during 2019. Instead, their partnership with American Airlines will be deepened, which ultimately might also lead to a China Southern membership in oneworld. Meanwhile, Royal Air Maroc has announced to join oneworld as its first African carrier (other than Comair) as of mid-2020, which will significantly enhance the coverage of the alliance especially in Western Africa. Thanks to that recruitment, oneworld will add not less than 21 (!) new countries to its map. Royal Air Maroc already has mutual Frequent Flyer partnerships in place with its future alliance partners Iberia and Qatar Airways. Whether Qatar, however, will still remain in oneworld until then is a different question, as the airline has more and more publicly questioned the value of the alliance for itself.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

SK

SAS’ EuroBonus program remains one of the easier options within Star Alliance with which to achieve Gold status. And now, you are even awarded lifetime Gold status after 10 consecutive years as Gold or Diamond member – no exceptions whatsoever apply. You should note though that you don’t qualify for lifetime status if you were given Gold status by a Diamond member as part of his or her benefit package. The former offer exclusive to customers aged 60 or above (lifetime status after 10 not necessarily consecutive years at Gold level) remains valid as well. Other interesting news: Up to eight members can now combine their points completely free of charge – no need to be of the same family or live at the same address.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

SU

State-owned Russian airline Aeroflot adapts its behaviour more and more to the authoritarian tendencies of the Russian system.  While Social Media could be commonly seen as a playground for personal freedom of expression, this view is not at all shared by Aeroflot. Aeroflot has emphasized that they reserve the right to delete accounts in its Frequent Flyer Program Bonus at any time should one share too a critical opinion about the airline. This has actually happened to a Russian journalist, who was even an elite status member of their program. . Even if Aeroflot’s service can usually certainly be considered among the best ones in the European market, it can always happen that something goes wrong or you may have your own opinion about the attractiveness of Bonus, which often seems to pursue the logic of preventing members as much as possible from using their miles through some unusual restrictions. So, if you wish to share such opinions within the parallel universe of Social Media, you should ensure upfront that you have nothing to lose in the Bonus universe, just in case you should suddenly become the target of the ire of the Russian bear.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

AZ-EZY

The biggest miracle of 2018 is probably the fact that Alitalia is still around. But Alitalia – or Etihad, which still controls the majority of the MilleMiglia program – does apparently still make some efforts to turn away its the remaining frequent flyers: On January 01, the last real valuable area in the program will be closed: the comparatively cheap award flights in Business Class on Alitalia long haul flights. Those award prices will then be nearly doubled – but these new higher prices will remain valid until January 31 only. Nobody knows what will happen afterwards. But the destiny of MilleMiglia might take an unexpected new turn: easyJet, probably the last remaining serious candidate for a take-over of Alitalia, has announced they want to launch a Frequent Flyer Program – so, as the new owner, they would not necessarily administer any mercy to MilleMiglia as first action. It might therefore be a safer strategy for an Italian frequent flyer to put their bets on Air Italy/Qatar Airways

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in News

HA-AM

The new year might also be an opportunity to leave old things behind and to discover something new – including with Frequent Flyer Programs. Two programs, which one might not necessarily take into account in ordinary times, are particularly well suited for that thanks to current hotel promotions: For stays in participating Hyatt hotels in Hawaii, one receives 5,000 miles in the program of Hawaiian Airlines, HawaiianMiles. This offer is valid for reservations until December 31 and stays until March 31. Members of the Aeromexico program Club Premier receive 6,000 points per stay in participating properties of Choice hotels worldwide, with the exception of Northern Europe and Japan. This offer, however, ends already on December 31. But both promotions are certainly worthwhile in any case if you wish to start 2019 not only with good intentions, but also with a reasonably filled mileage account!

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

AD

Brazilian carrier Azul Airlines and its program TudoAzul have certainly managed to achieve a remarkable market positioning in Brazil within a short time – but the massive devaluation of its program as of December 15 might come a bit too early nevertheless. As of then, base members will only accrue one point per BRL spent on all Azul flights (instead of currently 2 or 3), which is a far greater devaluation than the recent devaluation of the Brazilian currency. Also credits earned for elite members will be lowered almost across the board – only the fare group +Azul will be rewarded in a slightly more generous manner for elite members. In addition to the lowered point earning, qualification thresholds for elite levels will be increased. It remains to be hoped that the dynamic Azul is not wrong with the assessment of its own position and its ability not to lose customers with these changes… In parallel, Azul continues its approach towards Star Alliance and has added another Star partner in the form of Turkish Airlines to its partner network, following Copa a few months ago.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

PS

On January 01, the Panorama Club of Ukraine International Airlines will change to a revenue basis, with a standard accrual rate of 5 miles per USD spent. A second elite level will be introduced and higher earn rates of 7 and 10 miles per USD respectively are applied at these levels. Accrued miles can be used flexibly as full or partial payment with an easy conversion rate of 100 miles = 1 USD, but all tickets paid (partially) by miles are subject to an additional booking fee of 5 USD – the program does even not attempt to try to explain by what exactly this is justified. (Taxes can never be paid by miles.) The program claims that “everything is getting better!” (unless there was a translation mistake – in Ukrainian they say “Усе складається якнайкраще!”). With all respect to our Ukrainian friends: Today, you require about 10 paid roundtrip flights within Europe in Business Class to have sufficient miles for a Business Class award flight. As of January, you will need 20 of them. So, what exactly is getting better here…? Oh yes, and since it is always a bit tricky to incorporate partner airlines accruing on a mileage basis to a revenue-based program, the Panorama Club has found a fairly easy solution (which no other revenue-based FFP has ever implemented before!): As of January 01, all (!) existing airline partners (Air France, KLM, Austrian, TAP Air Portugal) will simply leave the program. So next time you hear about UIA being in trouble, it won’t be the fault of the Russians…

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

WY

Some airlines are visibly proud of their origins – Oman Air is certainly one of them. While we are still wondering which program might have a cute idea for the upcoming celebrations at the end of the year, we are already used to Oman Air launching interesting offers each year to celebrate the Omani national day on November 18. This time, seven new Sindbad members receive immediate Silver status in the program and seven new members Gold status – each week until December 18. This will certainly make their next flights with Oman Air more comfortable. Among existing members, also two times seven Silver and Gold memberships are awarded each week, but they have to book a flight and register their ticket number in order to secure their chances.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

TK

Turkish Airlines has completely different reasons to be proud: By the end of the year, the new airport in Istanbul should go live, which is poised to become the world’s largest airport in the middle term. Already since late October, however, Turkish Airlines has been operating selected domestic flights and their flights to Baku from the facility. On these flights, Miles&Smiles members receive quintuple status and award miles until the end of the year – which should sufficiently compensate for a presumably limited experience at a quasi-empty airport.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

BT

The customer engagement initiative that was launched by airBaltic as a promotion under the name Green Tails Club in summer has now been converted into a permanent offer: In parallel to the PINS program, airBaltic customers can now accumulate airBaltic Club points. The basic principle of the Green Tails Club has been maintained, i.e. a free flight is earned after twelve one-way flights, but additional small benefits are given at intermediary thresholds. The main benefit, however, now consists of the Executive status, which can be reached with 24 flights within 12 months. If this objective is attained – but only then -, the membership can be renewed for one year and the counter will be reset to 0, making the same benefits achievable once again.