Are you a frequent flyer paying a lot of money to the airlines and still not getting any benefits? If your answer is yes, then you should join a frequent flyer program.
Now, you might be wondering what a Frequent Flyer program is.
A Frequent Flyer Program (FFP) is a reward scheme introduced by airlines to win the loyalty of their customers, by encouraging them to accumulate points or flier miles popularly referred to as ‘travel points’. These points or miles can later be redeemed for rewards in the form of free flights, priority check-ins, lounge access, upgrading ticket from economy class to business class, etc., and are applicable in domestic as well as international flights. A rough calculation says that through FFP, one has the chance of getting a free flight after every eighth or tenth flight.
These programs were initially focused on awarding reward points to customers for the miles flown, but few rules have changed now. The focus has shifted from the distance traveled by a customer to the amount of money spent on the flight tickets. There are a number of ways to earn travel miles apart from just flying; booking a ticket on the airline’s website, subscription of magazines, partner cards, spending on cards, staying at hotels that have a partnership with airlines - several such ways can fetch you reward points. The frequent miles accumulated by the clients get upgraded to a higher status or elite membership as each airline has set up slabs of a certain number of miles to cross before inviting you for a higher status.
The higher status is defined by the juicy perks, such as priority check-ins, priority baggage handling, bonus miles, free upgrade on seats, etc.
Registering for the frequent flyer program is an easy process. You can do it by providing KYC documents and logging in with your email id.
Types of Frequent Flyer Programs in India:
1.Flying Returns by Air India:
Flying Returns is believed to be one of the most reward promising and oldest FFP offered in India by Air India. Although Air India covers numerous domestic and international routes, yet the benefit of this program is due to its association with Star Alliance. This implies that one has the chance of earning miles through Star Alliance too, whose network is huge. So, if you achieve an elite ranking in Flying Returns, it implies that you will get the chances of accessing superb flight experience with the airlines associated with Star Alliance. There are other associations of Star Alliance which provide better benefits in this program than Air India; Air India miles can be accrued in those associated airlines too. However, the notable point is that you can’t accumulate and redeem the points for economy class.
There are three membership clubs of Flying Returns Program:
1.The Maharaja Club- Elite Tier
2.The Golden Edge Club
3.The Silver Club
Here, the premium members get the physical membership cards while the new members get virtual cards which can be downloaded from the website.
If you want to earn miles and retain the Star Alliance Gold membership status by being a frequent International flyer, then here are some of the frequent flyer programs which you may consider:
1.Egyptair plus: It includes 30,000 flier miles in two years after attaining the silver status.
2.Asiana Club: It includes 40,000 flier miles in two years of flying after attaining silver status.
3.SAS Brunis: 45000 miles in a year
4.For Singapore Airlines, Air India Flying Returns, Eva Air Infinity Mileagelands: 50,000 miles in a year.
5.Lufthansa and other European Airlines: 100,000 miles in a year.
2.JetPrivelege by Jet Airways:
Jet Airways has the most successful and internationally acclaimed loyalty and reward frequent flyer program with a good network of collaborations with hotels, credit card service providers, restaurants and other travel partners. Rewards are very easy to redeem with this program as they have flights all over the country with a huge spectrum of partnership. Jet also has a lot of code sharing partners (alliance providing attractive benefits) internationally; hence, international flights will also accrue miles.
JetPrivilege offers a family membership plan in which all the family members can gather miles in the parent member’s account, which can later be redeemed for upgrading to upper class, obtaining extra baggage benefits, accessing airport lounges all over the world, etc. Jet has partnerships with Etihad, Air France, Delta, etc.
JetPrivilege has five stages of reward membership:
1.JetPrivilege Blue plus
3.Club Vistara by Vistara:
Vistara is new in the market claims to be one of the fastest, transparent and easy to navigate rewarding programs all over India. Club Vistara is unique due to its Tier Match program, in which they give complimentary gold memberships to elite members of other frequent flyer programs who choose to make a shift to Vistara. This membership was launched in 2015 and was awarded for three months, after which, the member needed to take 12 Vistara flights to earn the platinum membership. Vistara is partnered with Singapore airlines internationally; so, the members have the chance of earning miles in Singapore Airlines or Silkair flights. It works vice-versa as well, which means that even a Silkair program member can accumulate points in Vistara.
Every tier has a certain number of points, which, upon successful accumulation, will upgrade you to the next level. There are three tiers in the frequent flyer program of Vistara:
In Club Vistara Elite Tier qualification, the status of the member is evaluated by the company through the points earned through flights on daily basis in the entire period of 365 days. As soon as the member achieves one level, he is upgraded to the next tier. After upgrade or renewal, the elite status remains valid for at least 12 months.
Credit or Debit Cards that have Tie-up with Airlines is Another Option:
Jet Miles Card or JetPrivilege HDFC World Credit Card: HDFC has a tie-up with Jet Airways through which it provides a Jet Miles card. Through this debit card, every swipe or online payment earns points that can be redeemed later. Budget Airlines don’t provide this option.
Yatra SBI Credit Card: It is offered by SBI in collaboration with Yatra.com. Through this card, members can get a cashback of Rs.100 on the first transaction. Travel vouchers are also offered by Yatra.com after the member pays the joining fee. This card allows customers to earn a handsome number of reward points, complimentary lounge access, railway ticket bookings, balance transfer, etc.
Jet Airways ICICI Bank Cards: ICICI collaborated with Jet Airways for offering three types of cards: Jet Airways ICICI Bank Sapphiro, Jet Airways ICICI Bank Rubyx and Jet Airways ICICI Bank Coral credit cards. These cards are available in American Express or Visa variant. Benefits of this card include 5% discount on online booking, flight tickets, class upgrades, etc.
Apps for Tracking Miles of Different Flyer Programs: