Members of Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) Enrich frequent flyer programme may well be disappointed next week, when the airline introduces several significant changes to its loyalty scheme.
With effect from February 16, MAS will introduce new earn-and-burn rates for travel on its flights. The new Enrich system represents an overall devaluation of miles, and just like the recent changes that were announced for fellow Oneworld member British Airways (see here), will prove polarising to members and customers alike.
In keeping with the ongoing industry trend of revenue-based models, MAS will also be introducing a new accrual system that favour high spending customers over those on a budget.
The following is a chart of the existing accrual rates…
… while below are the new rates.
A close look at both charts shows the effect of the revenue-based system. While business class customers who pay a premium for a “J” fare will see their mileage earned boosted from 150 per cent to 175 per cent, those that buy the more affordable “Z” fare will see theirs drop from 150 per cent to 125 per cent.
Likewise, economy passengers that purchase highly discounted “N”, “Q”, and “O” fares will see their already low 50 per cent earn rate fall to just 25 per cent – an accrual rate that MAS does not even have at the moment.
And what about the cost of redeeming miles for flights? Attached below is the existing redemption chart for Zone 1 and 2…
… while here are the new applicable rates.
Initially, it appears that the new system favours passengers who redeem flights for travel within Zone 1 and 2, where a return business class fare would cost 45,000 and 90,000 miles respectively – down from the existing 78,750 and 101,250 miles required.
Of course, these figures are based on the most expensive “Flex” rates, which typically deliver the best chance for successful redemptions. The new system would lag behind, if compared to the most affordable “Basic” rates, which is available for 35,000 in Zone 1, and 45,000 in Zone 2. Do keep in mind that the availability for “Basic” redemptions is limited.
Meanwhile, Enrich members are going to be forking out a lot more miles when they redeem for long-haul flights. MAS is introducing a brand new Zone 7, which is applicable for flights more than 10,000 miles. The existing system only has a total of six zones, in which Zone 6 applies for flights between 7,201 and 20,000 miles.
Existing redemption chart for Zone 6 – for flights between 7,201 and 20,000 miles
So what does this mean for travellers? Well, the existing model sees business class passengers shelling out between 120,000 miles (Basic) and 600,000 miles (Flex) for return flights that exceed 7,201 miles, the new system will require them to spend a total of 540,000 miles (Zone 6) for the flight. Furthermore, the inclusion of the new Zone 7 (10,001 miles or more) means that the revised Zone 6 only applies for flights between 7,201 to 10,000 miles.
The new "Zone 7"
Taking into account that a return “Basic” redemption now costs only 120,000 miles, while a “Smart” redemption will set members back 300,000 miles, the new redemption rate will be significantly higher than these two fare classes, and only lags behind the expensive "Flex" fare.
For more information, visit malaysiaairlines.com