News

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

As of late March, Qatar Airways will adopt the Avios currency for its Privilege Club loyalty program. This will have several (positive) implications for members. First, this is likely to offer a range of new non-air partnerships since Qatar Airways will get access to deals done at IAG level. Secondly and more importantly, it is expected that Qatar points will become fully exchangeable and combinable with points of the IAG programs using the Avios currency, hence the programs of British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus. As such, points can be moved around in order to shop award flights in the program, where they cost less – and this might actually often be Qatar’s Privilege Club. Registering for the Privilege Club by March 31 also lets you earn a free 2,500 miles, which are increased to 7,500 miles if you take a Qatar Airways flight by September 30. Qatar Airways is a minority shareholder of IAG, which issues the Avios currency.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

Australians suffered more than people from many other nations from the Covid-related travel restrictions. As the country is now slowly opening up for international travel again – while though still lagging far behind others as restrictions such as mandatory vaccination or masks on planes remain in place -, Etihad is celebrating this with a big campaign for its Australian Etihad Guest members: A special flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi reserved for Etihad Guest members will take place on 02 April. But no need to redeem any miles for it, you just need to explain to Etihad why you and your companion should be part of it – and a seat on the plane might be yours. In addition to the flight, a 4-night package including accommodation and on-site activities are part of the gift.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

ITA has now launched “Phase II” of its loyalty program Volare, introducing a dynamic redemption system for award flights and details about the tier program. The more interesting change occurred though on the accrual side: Rather than the previous earn rate of 1 point per EUR spent, the base accrual rate is now 10 points per EUR spent – but apparently no adjustment of the previously earned points took place, which means that they have become basically worthless since the redemption structure is clearly aligned to the new higher accrual rate. Tier members receive an additional bonus of up to 30%, but – and that is probably the best thing we’ve heard from AliITAlia over the past 20+ years – all members can also achieve an additional bonus of up to 100% as cumulative bonuses are awarded in function of the network, the cabin and the fare type. As such, flying for instance in Premium Economy on a long-haul flight at a Classic fare earns a bonus of 60%, while an Economy Class flight at a Light fare within Europe would earn a bonus of 10%. Oh yes, SkyTeam partners are still not integrated. Let’s see when/whether this will ever happen.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

Members of any Russian Frequent Flyer Program are collateral victims of Russia’s war against Ukraine. While the programs continue to operate on paper, they are de facto worthless at that point. And although Aeroflot and S7 continue to be formally part of the SkyTeam and oneworld alliance respectively, it is impossible to use miles of their programs for award flights on partner airlines as the related payments can’t take place anymore. All you can do here is to hope that Russia will get a new President before your miles will have expired.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

Six Nigerian airlines have teamed up to form a new alliance, called Spring Alliance. While they got inspired from the global alliances, frequent flyers should not set their expectations too high. The primary focus of the alliance is indeed to improve operational reliability and passenger satisfaction. Not a single word is mentioned about loyalty programs etc. – for one very straight forward reason: Out of the six airlines, only two, Arik Air and Air Peace, have a loyalty program at all. There is hence still some potential in this endeavour. The alliance is open to expand to other African markets and to accept additional members beyond Nigeria.