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Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

While the worst of Covid-related restrictions seems to be behind us – even Australia has just scrapped the last remaining restrictions for unvaccinated persons -, times for frequent flyers did not really get better in many parts of the world. Not only have service standards still not recovered to a full normal, but many airlines and airports are also faced with staff shortages, leading to chaotic situations, notably in Europe. Basically the last thing airlines want these days are additional passengers – making it particularly difficult for frequent flyers to redeem all their saved miles. Take KLM, having suspended the sale of any tickets for a few days, Lufthansa limiting the ticket sales to full fare tickets, SAS going on strike or London-Heathrow asking airlines to stop any tickets until September: Generating additional demand by granting award flights is not something the industry is currently looking for. But even if you are lucky and might have planned your trip in advance, expect anything from last minute cancellations or massive delays to long waiting lines to get, for instance, into Delta’s lounges.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

Although it appears as logical move at a second look, the announcement that German railway operator Deutsche Bahn would join the Star Alliance as Connecting Partner on August 01 came quite a bit as surprise nevertheless. This will make Deutsche Bahn the first non-airline to join one of the global airline alliances. It is not yet clear to which degree this will also include an integration of loyalty programs at one point. In any case, it will certainly be interesting to see how this will play out in practice as Frankfurt is de facto the only major German airport with relevant intermodular railway connections and in spite of all the sustainability talks, Deutsche Bahn’s main competitor remains Lufthansa, which continues to offer a dense network on short-haul flights in direct competition to Deutsche Bahn. Deutsche Bahn has just recently relaunched its BahnBonus program.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

Eurowings customers had time to prepare for a less pleasant future since the abandon of the Boomerang Club in favour of Miles & More was announced. Until the last day of the Boomerang Club on 30 June, there was only a vague indication that members could transfer their miles as of 01 July. For 99.99% of the members, it was thereby self-understood that this would happen at a 1-to-1 ratio, what would already have represented a massive devaluation. But on 01 July, they’ve discovered the truth: The exchange rate applied is 2 Eurowings miles = 1 Lufthansa mile. That hurts. Which Eurowings members now still feel being “upgraded” to Miles & More? The last remaining hope (though admittedly tiny) for Eurowings members is that the websites got hacked by some Russians and that all this is a big misunderstanding. But more likely, the evil does not only exist in Russia.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

Emirates and Air Canada have announced a partnership to come into effect in late 2022, which will also include a partnership between their Frequent Flyer Programs Skywards and Aeroplan. While this may add limited network value to Aeroplan, which already partners with Star Alliance members, but also with Etihad and Oman Air (making the program though a great place to pool miles across these airlines!), the uptake is huge for Skywards. Jetblue aside, the program hasn’t cooperated with any major Transatlantic operator since United and Continental (hic!) left the program back in 2011, closing hence a big whole in its coverage. A propos Jetblue: Skywards members can now no longer redeem points for travel in Jetblue’s Mint cabin, offered on its transcontinental and Transatlantic services.

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are becoming increasingly important for airlines as well. Etihad understands that this might not be the preferred investment option for everybody and sweetens therefore the deal for its first NFT collection, called EY-ZERO1, and consisting of a limited number of 10 different aircraft models, priced at 349 USD plus taxes. In parallel, buyers receive Silver status in the Etihad Guest program for one year. While the tokens are tradeable, the status stays with the initial purchaser. But in whatever way you turn it – looking at it from a collector’s eye or from a status perspective -, the hard benefits will not justify the costs on their own. So unless you believe in the value of the NFT as such, this is not an investment you should consider.