Fly Smarter And Save Big: Insider Secrets To Maximize Airline Loyalty Programs

Fly Smarter And Save Big: Insider Secrets To Maximize Airline Loyalty Programs

In other words, it's a customer loyalty scheme by the airline that rewards their passengers for continued business with them

Viral BhattUpdated: Friday, April 26, 2024, 11:55 PM IST
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Airline loyalty programmes are like a connecting bridge between the airlines and frequent flyers since they not only retain them but also facilitate customers with rewards that build a trust factor. In other words, it's a customer loyalty scheme by the airline that rewards their passengers for continued business with them. Such programmes may vary and differ, depending on the services provided by airlines but aim to improve flyers' travel experience, enabling them to earn loyalty points, also known as miles. This helps flyers with exclusive benefits like redeeming points for air travel, hotel stays, car rental and many other travel and accommodation services.

Airlines Loyalty Programme: Current Scenario

Earlier there was limited strength of frequent flyers majorly because of the high expenses but now, due to the cost-effective services, a common man can afford air travel to earn miles, based on fare class and distance flown. This is why airlines have also started shifting towards revenue-based models wherein, achievement of elite status and the number of earned miles depends on the airfare and spending requirements. Additionally, most of the airlines have started partnerships, offering dining rewards, credit cards, shopping coupons, and other lucrative ways to earn frequent flyer miles because the more travellers fly, the more incentives they get. Hence, Airlines strive their best to maximise frequent flyer programmes, involving a mix of strategic planning, understanding programme rules, and making the most of passengers' travel habits.

Significance of Loyalty Programmes and How it Works?

As per the latest YouGov Surveys research, 54% Indians are a member of at least one airline loyalty programme. In fact, 1 in 10 Indian passengers only book from airlines where they are a loyalty member. As per the YouGov research, Air India Flying Returns is the well renowned airline loyalty club with 25% members count, so far. Alongside this, both Club Vistara by Vistara Airlines and SpiceClub by Spicejet have 8% members, belonging to their loyalty programmes. In 2023, the loyalty programme of Delta Airlines, Sky Miles, was the most valuable airline loyalty programme worldwide, enjoying a valuation of ~28 billion U.S. dollars. AAdvantage by America Airlines ranked second with 23.9 billion U.S. dollars. (source: Statista).

1: Air India Flying Returns: This loyalty programme is designed to prioritise and enhance passengers’ comfort and flying experience. This not only guarantees enhanced rewards but also ensures immediate global acknowledgement and access to exclusive privileges. Its type of loyalty programme includes:

Family pool

Tier benefits

Excess baggage allowance

Evergreen points

No blackout dates from redemption

Priority check-in and boarding

Cabin upgrade vouchers

Earn points and spend points

Flying Returns loyalty programme enables passengers to earn points seamlessly by flying with Air India or any of the 25 Star Alliance airlines. The consumer’s travels not only take them to new destinations but also allow them to earn points that can be used to enhance their membership tiers, book reward flights, and upgrade cabin class. Additionally, every purchase made with Air India’s non-airline partners, spanning experiences, stays, beauty, wellness, and more, lets passengers earn valuable reward points that upon redemption can be effortlessly utilised for booking reward flights and cabin upgrades.

2: Discover Club Vistara: Club Vistara is one of the most unique and fastest rewarding frequent flyer programmes that enables flyers to redeem for award flights, upgrade awards along with a host of privileges. Its loyalty programme focuses on:

Elite Tier Benefits:  Priority Services, Complimentary Lounge services, One-class upgrade vouchers

World Class Airline Partners

Club Vistara Tiers: Base, Silver, Gold, or Platinum tier

With Club Vistara, passengers can redeem these points effortlessly for coveted Award Flights, coveted Upgrade Awards, and a plethora of privileges tailored to their desires. Moreover, the CV Points accumulate based on the value of the flight ticket, ensuring fairer and swifter earnings. The allure of Club Vistara extends far beyond the clouds, as every swipe of Co-brand Credit Cards provides more CV Points, while exclusive benefits await with esteemed lifestyle partners in car rentals, dining, retail, points transfer, and stays. With Club Vistara, indulge in more of what you love and elevate your travel experience to new heights.

3: SpiceClub by Spicejet: This is India’s fastest-growing and most rewarding frequent flyer programme that elevates the travel experience with each flight. By joining India's premier loyalty programme from a cost-adequate airline, passengers can unlock a pool of benefits that enhance their travels and everyday spending. SpiceClub by Spicejet loyalty programme fuels and accelerates travellers' rewards via:

Free flight vouchers

Earn, use and convert points

Free change/cancellation

Complimentary upgrades and meals

Priority check-in

From exclusive rewards and perks when flying with them to earning points through transactions with their partners, every interaction with SpiceClub brings unparalleled happiness. They promise to add privileges, increase comfort, and enhance convenience, featuring priority services.

Ben was travelling to Delhi from Mumbai and here is what he described about his flying experience with SpiceClub. “I can't believe the incredible benefits I've enjoyed with this loyalty programme! From earning points on flights and with partners, based on the fare, to the flexibility of redeeming those points for any available seat on any flight, it's been a game-changer for my travel experiences. Plus, the peace of mind knowing there's no penalty for changing or cancelling flights adds an extra layer of convenience and flexibility. This loyalty programme truly goes above and beyond to enhance my travels and make every trip a memorable one.”

SkyMiles by Delta Air Lines: Being the world’s leading air travel entity, Delta Airlines is popularly known for its reliability and customer service where they also connect passengers to more than 300+ destinations across the globe. Delta Airlines is also considered the flyers’ flexible choice because of its no-expiration policy on miles and interesting yet cost-effective pricing both for domestic and international flights. However, its type of loyalty programme includes:

Miles-based

Tiered status levels

Tiers: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion

With this programme, members can earn miles not only through flights with Delta and its partners but also through everyday purchases with co-branded credit cards, maximising their earning potential. These miles can be redeemed for a variety of rewards including flights, seat upgrades, luxury experiences, or gifts, offering flexibility and choice to members. Delta's elite tiers, including Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion, grant exclusive benefits such as complimentary upgrades, waived fees, and priority boarding, rewarding loyalty and enhancing the travel experience. Additionally, members enjoy the convenience of no blackout dates on award travel, ensuring greater flexibility in planning their trips.

5: AAdvantage by American Airlines: This loyalty programme was launched in 1981 and is also considered as the first loyalty programme wherein, its offerings also make it the best loyalty programme in the world. This is because it provides an extensive network of both domestic and international flights with a broader range of travel options for passengers. It is also partnered with India’s largest airline IndiGo for service to 14 destinations in India. Its loyalty programmes focus on the following:

Miles-based rewards

Tiered loyalty status levels

Elite Status Tiers: Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum

Sifra is a travel blogger who visits different places to gather some unique travel content for her blogging passion. Being a frequent traveller she mentioned, “I was travelling to Paris via American Airlines and they provided me with exclusive coupons to redeem that applied to hotels, car rentals and returning flights. They even provided me with a few complimentary upgrades and check-in on a priority basis making my travel experience more easy and smooth. Moreover, AAdvantage members enjoy award travel opportunities on American Airlines flights with no blackout dates, making it a comprehensive and rewarding loyalty programme for frequent flyers”.

By employing these strategies and staying proactive in managing frequent flyer accounts, you can maximise the value of your miles and enjoy more rewarding travel experiences.

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