The last three years have seen unprecedented intervention by airlines in their frequent flyer programmes, with status benefits extended several times to ensure members did not lose out as a result of global travel restrictions.
As we move into a post-Covid era most of these temporary adjustments have now ceased, enabling airline groups to refocus on strategic changes to their schemes, some of which were originally announced pre-pandemic but had been on hold.
Here we round-up some of the major changes coming in the next 12 months – let us know your thoughts on what they will mean for you on our forum.
British Airways and Iberia
In November 2022 the Iberia Plus programme announced plans to move away from the current model of Avios earning being linked to the distance flown, in favour of Avios being awarded per flight expenditure.
Iberia Plus members now earn Avios according to the number of Euros spent with the airline, with entry level Clasica members receiving five Avios per €1 spent, and elite tier members earning eight Avios per €1 spent.
At the time of the announcement it was confirmed that fellow IAG member carrier British Airways will also adopt a similar system for its Executive Club in 2023 – we await further details on this with interest.
Delta recently announced several changes to its Sky Club access policy, to address capacity issues.
The carrier admitted that “A byproduct of Delta Sky Club’s widespread popularity is visit growth that has outpaced Club capacity – resulting in frustration for some customers who find themselves waiting in lines or searching for seating once inside”.
Changes coming into effect this month include an increase in the fees for annual Club memberships, and restrictions on members being able to access lounges when travelling on certain low fare tickets.
Last month Jetblue unveiled its revamped True Blue frequent flyer programme, which includes members now earning Mosaic tier status through a combination of travel and credit card spend.
Mosaic Qualifying Points are being retired from spring 2023, to be replaced by a new system of ‘Tiles’ and four Mosaic tier levels.
Members will earn one Tile for every $100 spent on flights (including American Airlines-operated services), holiday packages and add-ons, as well as one Tile for every $1,000 spent on Jetblue credit cards.
Customers yet to reach the Mosaic 1 level can also choose from a list of perks for every ten Tiles they earn up to 50 Tiles, including early boarding, priority security, an inflight alcoholic drink or 5,000 bonus True Blue points.
In December American Airlines also unveiled a raft of changes to its AAdvantage loyalty programme, including the ability for members to earn benefits before reaching Gold tier status.
The latest changes follow on from the AAdvantage programme being revamped in 2022, with simplified elite qualification requirements.
In March 2023 the carrier will introduce new Loyalty Point Rewards (replacing the current Loyalty Choice Rewards), with members receiving perks after earning just 15,000 Loyalty Points – some 25,000 points before members attain Gold tier status.
But going forward members flying on Basic Economy fares will only earn two miles per dollar spent, down from the current five miles per dollar spent.
Lufthansa Group is finally set to go ahead with changes to its status programme, although these will not take effect until January 2024.
Plans to revamp the programme were originally announced in 2019, but as the group put it “then everything changed”, and the changes were pushed back due to Covid-19.
In order to reward those who travel with Lufthansa Group airlines the most, the new system will consist of Points, Qualifying Points and HON Circle Points. Members will earn Points on flights operated by Lufthansa Group carriers, plus the co-issuing Miles and More airline partners (Croatia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Luxair), and all other Star Alliance airlines.
Meanwhile Qualifying Points will be earned on flights operated by Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Eurowings Discover Air Dolomiti, Croatia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines and Luxair, and HON Circle Points will be earned only on those carriers, when flying in business or first class.
To achieve elite status members will need to earn both Points and Qualifying Points, while HON Circle status can only be achieved by earning HON Circle Points under the new system.