News

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.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

Sta-Bra

Decisively, there are things in life that don’t go together. Such as the Star Alliance and Brazil. The alliance has managed over its not so long history to recruit successively two member airlines in the country and both failed. After the early failure of Varig, the same destiny was reserved to Avianca Brasil. And as with Varig (or any other failures in other markets), the alliance has remained completely silent in regard to what might happen to any outstanding points of Amigo members. Such lack of commitment towards members will only accelerate the decrease of importance of the alliances: While alliances offer some benefits in good weather, customers would like to be able to count on them during bad weather, too and that definitely extends to the question of honouring miles of a failed member airline. Whether the rising Brazilian star Azul Airlines, which has already close bilateral relationships with Star partner TAP Air Portugal and United, will be tempted to join the alliance in front of such history remains to be seen. Colombian airline Avianca and its LifeMiles program are not affected by these developments.

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G3

While not too much good news has reached us from Brazil as of lately between Avianca Brasil and a weird President, not everything is actually bad: Gol’s program Smiles definitely helps to save the reputation by its latest initiative. Already featuring one of the most diverse and interesting global partner networks of any program, including airlines such as Delta, Air Canada, Air France KLM, TAP Air Portugal, Emirates, Qatar Airways or Korean Air, it has now not only added South African as another full accrual and redemption partner, but perhaps even more interestingly several smaller African carriers as redemption partners only. They include Ethiopian Airlines, TAAG (Angola) and Royal Air Maroc. Those carriers have all in common that they serve São Paolo, making Smiles hence clearly the best option among Brazilian programs to reach the African continent from Brazil, but potentially also from elsewhere. Spanish airline Air Europa is another new redemption-only partner.

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DY-Avi

The question to ask is actually very simple: Do you believe that Norwegian will still be around next spring? If your answer is yes AND if you reside in Scandinavia, the UK or Spain, you should look no further than Avis for your upcoming car rental requirements. Each of up to three rentals booked by October 31 over the Norwegian website and realised by January 31 enters into a prize draw to win 50,000 CashPoints in its Norwegian Reward program. Obviously, the chances to win are not tremendous, but the potential prize is nevertheless worth it. 50,000 CashPoints have a direct cash value of 50,000 Norwegian Krones (ca. 5,500 USD), good for future bookings on Norwegian. And even if you don’t win, the standard accrual rate of 10% of the rental value credited as CashPoints represents one of the most interesting accrual values you can achieve with Avis.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

Acc-Eur

Le Club Accorhotel is running two independent promotions until September 27, which are definitely worth considering: First, 500, 2,500 and 3,000 bonus points are earned for the first, second and third stay at an Accor property reserved by September 27 and completed by January 19. Secondly, Europcar rentals earn double points for the same reservation period, with a completion date of rentals by December 15. The exception are though rentals of at least eight days in selected European countries as well as in Australia and New Zealand, which earn a bonus of 5,000 points (for a total credit of 6,000 points). 11,000 Accor points have a cash value of 220 EUR when redeemed at Accor properties.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

IA

The concept of Frequent Flyer Programs continues its global triumph and now also lands for the first time at Iraqi Airways. Whether the program will really become relevant for the frequent traveller community might be questionable, but it can be assumed that it will soon at least change its name: While Delta, alongside with American and United, is still focused on fighting the three big Gulf carriers at a political level, it should rather have looked at the real threat, the much smaller Iraqi Airways: The latter has elected to call its FFP SkyMiles, basically not caring that Delta registered that name as trademark a long time ago. As the US helped to put the new law system in place in Iraq, this might not last for too long though – provided Delta becomes aware of it at all in first place.