Bad news for Eurowings frequent flyers: The program Boomerang Club will be halted on June 30 and clients are suggested an “upgrade” to Miles & More. What Lufthansa exactly means when talking about such “upgrade” risks though remaining a mystery to the average Boomerang Club member: Instead of 10 miles per EUR spent, one will then earn only 4 miles per EUR and award flights within Europe will then cost 35,000 miles per roundtrip instead of 10,000 miles for a one-way flight. Hence, this rather corresponds to a fivefold devaluation, what even the Russian rouble hasn’t managed. As Eurowings partners also in some other Star Alliance programs, one is slightly better off there – but won’t be able to renew with the generosity of the Boomerang Club there, either.
It took airline alliances more than two months to take a simple step: to suspend membership of Russian airlines. And it was actually oneworld with its regime-critic, private S7 Airlines (without whose brave pilots persons like Nawalny would not be alive anymore) to take the lead, forcing SkyTeam to do the same a few days later with state-owned Aeroflot. But all remains half-hearted: While it is certainly the right thing in such situations only to “suspend” memberships (indicating that a change of government would re-open doors), it is actually left to individual airlines to decide what they do with their FFP agreements. As such, most FFP partnerships remain fully in place, except for the handful of (EU and US) airlines having taking corresponding individual initiatives. But even first mover Delta, which excluded Aeroflot from its SkyMiles program quickly on February 28, honoured the contractual 3-month notice, meaning that today, Delta members can actually still earn miles on Aeroflot flights – and continue to finance the war on Ukraine like that.
Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia have announced a reciprocal partnership in their programs Privilege Club and Velocity, which will be implemented over the coming months. What looks at first glance just as another ordinary partnership is nevertheless far more interesting than that: As Qatar Airways is also a partner of Qantas within the oneworld alliance, the Privilege Club will become the place to combine points for flights with the two major Australian airlines like that. On the other side, Velocity will allow in the future the combination of points between the number 2 and 3 in the Middle East, Qatar Airways and Etihad. The program remains though limited to residents in Oceania.
Star Alliance has just celebrated its 25th anniversary and thought it would be a good time to come up with a new idea: It has announced the launch of an alliance-branded credit card later in the year, which will allow cardholders to redeem points across all current 26 member airlines. Sounds compelling, but is actually nothing new as each card of a Star carrier allows doing exactly that. So, whether that product will be relevant or not in the end will mainly depend on the value proposition and in which specific markets it will be offered. It is though hard to imagine that the alliance will go on a head-to-head competition in a major market with one of its key members such as United or ANA and offering a better value proposition since this would ultimately risk weakening considerably the standing of its member.
There are not many places left where Belavia customers can fly to. In absence of any domestic network, it is basically to Russia – and to Russia. As such, the airline has launched a new flight to Russian enclave Kaliningrad, which is actually closer to Minsk than Moscow to Minsk. Nevertheless, Belavia places Kaliningrad in its Belavia Leader program in the accrual/redemption zone of Kazan, which is ways to the East beyond Moscow. Why? Because rather than 45 minutes, the flight now takes over 2 hours as it needs to fly around the Baltic countries and Poland, which airspaces are closed to Belavia, and what hence justifies applying the same values as for true 2-hour flights. Great attitude to face the truth to the benefit of their frequent flyers. If Belarus doesn’t manage to do this for elections, they do it at least for frequent flyers. In countries like Finland, it is the exact opposite.