The good thing about Covid was that most airlines were preoccupied by other things than looking at hidden ways to devalue their programs, for instance by moving to a revenue basis. However, after a short break, Oman Air will become the next carrier to switch to such a scheme for its Sindbad program in August. Full details are not yet known, but the base earn rate will be only 4 miles per USD spent. This means that while you’d earn today 19,344 miles for a roundtrip at the “Business” fare category for a roundtrip between London and Bangkok, the applied price would result in a mileage earning of only 17,184 miles – or 11% less – under the future revenue-based model. Flying in Economy Class between Muscat and Mumbai at an Economy Lite fare earns today 494 miles. However, this amount would almost triple to 1,312 miles. It might be nice if such system benefits certain customer groups – but the question should be allowed what the exact reasoning is if high-yield business customers are punished while unprofitable low yield customers benefit…
RwandAir was one of the fastest growing airlines in the world before the crisis, with big ambitions. Although it had launched its Dream Miles program a few years ago, it has always been challenged to gain traction outside of its limited home market. This might change now thanks to its first mutual airline partnership with Qatar Airways and its Privilege Club program. But this is probably only a first step towards a bright future at RwandAir as Qatar Airways intends to purchase 49% of the carrier.
A long and interesting story will come to an end on 02 August when airBaltic will merge the coalition program PINS into its own loyalty program airBaltic Club. While the PINS program started off with a great vision, things might have turned out to be one number too big for the small carrier and things got fully confusing for customers when airBaltic itself – PINS was run by a subsidiary – launched a parallel loyalty program for its own flights a few years ago. Based on the early announcement, not much of PINS’ coalition spirit will survive as the renewed airBaltic Club will refocus on travel-related partners. Current PINS members need to actively agree to transfer their points to the airBaltic Club or risk otherwise losing them.
To put it mildly, Canada might not be the best place to be when you desperataly wait the return to a “normal.” Travel is still much more restrictive than in many other places, especially when it comes to international travel. So what is the best option to earn miles in Canada this summer? The somewhat surprising answer is to travel by train! Air Canada’s Aeroplan program has partnered with Rocky Mountaineer, a luxuxry train operator in the Rocky Mountains. While the normal earning rate will only be 1 mile per CAD spent (2 miles in their GoldLeaf Service class), a launch promotion until the end of the year allows members earning 10,000 miles per trip in SilverLeaf Service and even 20,000 miles in GoldLeaf Service. And one day, you might even be able to redeem these miles again for air travel.
Accor has just launched its long-awaited co-branded Visa card linked to its ALL program. Although, currently only available in France, but the card is quickly being rolled out to other major European markets. While the card is state-of-the-art from a technology perspective and offers some nice gimmicks, the problem is the underlying earn rate. The base card (Pulse), which can be considered as free for the first year thanks to a launch bonus available until July 27, offers an earn rate of only 2.5 points per 10 EUR spent – which translates into a cashback of 0.5% if points are redeemed with Accor. The rate increases to 0.8% and 2.0% respectively for the Explorer and Ultimate card. These two cards come with higher annual fees, which might be hard to justify even when taking into account all the associated (insurance) benefits, unless you are a real big spender and single source the card. After their first paid night, cardholders receive immediate Silver status in the ALL program (Gold status with the Ultimate card).