Five recent changes to airline loyalty programmes

4 Mar 2015 by Clement Huang


CHANGES On February 16, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) introduced new "earn-and-burn rates" for travel on its flights. In keeping with the industry trend towards revenue-based models, the new accrual system favours high spending customers over those on a budget. 

WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU 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. Meanwhile, the cost of redemption long-haul fares have increased overall, with the carrier introducing a new Zone 7, applicable for flights more than 10,000 miles. For a complete report on the changes, see here.



CHANGES For tickets booked after April 28, new rules have been introduced for earning both Avios and tier points, and also for spending Avios. 

WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU Overall, the rate at which members earn Avios will depend more on the amount paid for the ticket — including the class booked, and the different type of fare bought. BA is also introducing changes to the price of reward flights depending on the time of year, the cabin and zone. The carrier will also expand the number of fare classes for which upgrades can be purchased. So, by the end of 2015, members will be able to upgrade using Avios from World Traveller and Euro Traveller commercial bookings "except the very lowest priced seats". For a complete report on the changes, see here.



CHANGES Starting April 2015, Krisflyer members may redeem their miles for vouchers to travel with Scoot and Tigerair. Likewise, they may also use their points to purchase selected products offered by the LCCs.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU Both Scoot and Tigerair serve a wide number of second tier cities that Singapore Airlines does not. Therefore customers of the Star Alliance members will soon have access to the networks of both LCCs. In addition, the ability to earn miles from flights with Scoot and Tigerair is also in the works, and will be offered by the end of the year. While no details have been confirmed, it is likely that the earn rates from the LCC flights will be based on the applicable fare prices. Read more here.,,



CHANGES Etihad Guest introduce a new payment feature – Wallet Plus – to its membership card on February 9. The new addition, powered by credit card company Visa, allows members to load money onto their Etihad Guest card and convert it to 11 foreign currencies: UAE Dirham, Australian Dollar, US Dollar, Pound Sterling, Euro, Indian Rupee, Canadian Dollar, Singapore Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Japanese Yen and Thai Baht.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU Members can earn one Etihad Guest Mile per US$2 spent in the UAE, and one Etihad Guest Mile per US$1 spent abroad when paying with Walletplus. A particularly useful feature is that the travel money can be loaded into the membership card in advance, thereby enabling members to manage their travel budgets and lock in competitive exchange rates in real time. This also means that members can immediately spend in the local currency upon arrival in another country, without having to first exchange or transfer funds at a bank or foreign exchange. Read full story here. 



CHANGES The primary change that has taken effect (since February 1) is that there has been an increase in the number of available fare types, which Emirates has stated will give passengers and Skywards members, "even more control over the type of ticket you buy and more ways to earn extra miles".

WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU Due to the increase in fare classes, Emirates is providing more attractive price points, with the Special fare described by the Gulf carrier as being the most affordable. However, it does come with “some limitations on refunds and changes". In addition, the number of miles and tier points that one would receive also varies, with Special fares delivering the lowest return, while the new Flex plus offers the most. Full story here.

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