News

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

TK

While it is generally believed that Iberia was the first airline in continental Europe to launch an FFP back in 1992, this is apparently wrong – at least depending on which definition of continental Europe you apply. Turkish Airlines is claiming that it launched its FFP – although not yet called Miles&Smiles – 30 years ago, in 1989! But moving forward to 2019, we don’t really care about who was first anymore since Turkish Airlines is celebrating this anniversary now and, wherever you are based, you can benefit from that: Each month, flights between Istanbul and 30 destinations are promoted by 30% bonus miles and a 30% reduction for award flights and upgrades. The featured destinations for the promotion change each month, highlighting Turkish’s network size: 30 years ago, the airline would have run out of destinations for such a promotion in the second month…

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LH-LH

If less than one year after switching to a revenue-based mileage accrual system, Lufthansa is already changing the system again, the assumption is easily made that insufficient thoughts were put into the implementation: apparently the focus was on unilaterally copying Air France KLM. Effective immediately, Miles & More base members will receive 6 instead of 4 miles per Euro spent in Economy Class on Lufthansa long-haul flights. The change is, however, positioned as a promotion through December 31 for the time being. Typically, if such an important offer comes to the market as a long-lasting promotion, it is often transformed into a permanent program element later on (unless all the competitors regularly offering lower prices, such as Qatar Airways, Norwegian, Alitalia, Icelandair, Finnair etc., disappear from the market!). This offer is valid for all base members and a registration is not required – which underlines how far Lufthansa wants to reach with this offer.

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JL-HA

The market between Japan and Hawaii is not only a very high-volume market, but also a highly competitive and dynamic one. Local airline Hawaiian Airlines dumped its long-standing partner All Nippon last year in favour of a new partnership with Japan Airlines. All Nippon was not amused, to say the least, and is getting ready to launch their new Airbus 380 flagship solely in that market (cf. last month). But now the new partners Japan Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have teamed up to promote the connectivity Hawaiian Airlines can provide to Japan Airlines customers as a result of their partnership: until 28 February, if you fly on Japan Airlines to Hawaii and connect within five days to an inter-island flight on Hawaiian Airlines, JAL Mileage Bank members can enter a prize draw for 10,000 miles – which is not a bad reward given the short distances of these flights. And the odds for winning are rather good: 1 out of 2 members wins. Aloha 10,000 miles?

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BJ

Okay, not everybody flies frequently to Tunisia. Low cost carrier Nouvelair understands that and reflects that pretty well with its new revenue-based jasmin program, where a strong focus has been put on the utility of the currency, within the limitations of what such a small airline can offer, of course. The combination of a generous family account (100% accrual for all family members), no points expiry for members with an activity every 24 months and the flexible use of low amounts of points, either for cash & points award flights or for the payment of ancillary services, indeed makes the program useful for occasional travellers as well. But if you do happen to be a regular traveller to Tunisia, Nouvelair has also thought of you with a rather decent 2-level tier program. jasmin certainly does help Nouvelair to stand out from the local Tunisian competitor, and it’s also a nice new reference program in the low cost space in general. The program is applicable to scheduled flights only.

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AV-Thr

Many clients use the LifeMiles program of Star Alliance member Avianca especially for the cheap purchase of miles. But a current promotion with the program represents a potentially even more rewarding opportunity: Until the end of the year, one receives 2,500 miles for each car rental of at least one day with Thrifty at a special LifeMiles rate. This offer is valid for rentals at participating stations in the Americas and Europe. If you hence need a rental car anyway and are interested in miles of the LifeMiles program, this sounds like the winning combination for 2019!

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SQ

The good news is that Singapore Airlines now allows its KrisFlyer members double upgrades from Economy to Business Class on aircraft equipped with a Premium Economy cabin. But the bad news is that another round of award price increases will apply as of January 24, applying solely to upgrades and premium cabins. While Singapore Airlines definitely still has one of the better products in the sky, the question is whether they don’t start to overvalue themselves. Although the price increase is rather modest – a Business Class roundtrip award flight on Singapore Airlines between Europe and Southeast Asia will cost 184,000 miles after the price increase – KrisFlyer members can also redeem only 170,000 miles for a Business Class award on any Star partner between those two regions. And are airlines like EVA Air or Turkish Airlines really so much worse? If you use an upgrade from a mid-priced Economy ticket (you can’t upgrade from lower fares), a one-way upgrade from Economy to Business Class on Singapore Airlines will cost at least 82,000 miles. In other programs, a roundtrip Business Class award flight would start at 90,000 miles…

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EK

One of the early unique benefits offered by Emirates was the complimentary chauffeur service for passengers travelling in Business and First Class, which since then has become an integral part of the premium experience on Emirates and other airlines. This service is still offered – but as of March 01 only in conjunction with a paid ticket. Skywards members redeeming their miles for travel on Emirates in Business or First Class or to upgrade to Business Class will no longer be eligible for this service. It remains just to be hoped that it will not become a new industry fashion to consider award passengers second class passengers, from which certain service elements can be taken away. With many frequent flyers redeeming their points for premium cabins – as that is where you can still achieve the best value of Frequent Flyer Programs – it would further undermine the general interest in the programs if such punitive measures became the new standard.

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NH

The Airbus 380 does certainly not sell as nicely as Airbus was hoping for – but it remains the aircraft operators are most proud of. All Nippon is the latest airline to join the ranks of operators of this type, although it will deploy the plane solely on the Tokyo-Honolulu rotation. And on the occasion of its introduction, the airline will open up all available seats in Economy and Premium Economy for redemption to ANA Mileage Club members between May 24 and July 11. Moreover, one out of every hundred members redeeming an award ticket in Premium Economy or Economy during the same period will also get back all miles spent.

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MD-UU

As part of the strategic cooperation between Air Austral and Air Madagascar, the latter one has halted its rather modest Namako frequent flyer program and adopted Air Austral’s MyCapricorne program. At the same time, Air Austral has benefitted from the opportunity to relaunch its program. In particular, award levels on short-haul flights were lowered massively while there were hardly any cutbacks elsewhere. Bigger and nevertheless better – an encouraging start into the New Year, which hopefully will also inspire others.

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Hil

It might not be the most generous promotion we’ve ever seen, but it is simple and without hidden traps, making it fairly easy to use: Until May 05, Hilton Honors members receive 2,000 bonus points for each stay in a hotel of the Hilton group. After each five stays or ten nights, an additional bonus of 10,000 points is awarded. Pre-registration is required.