It has been a rainy week out here in Mumbai, and I hear its been raining a lot of other places as well. Makes me want to go out on a drive, but work has been keeping me busy. I thought I’d give one of you a chance to go out on a drive however. You could drive inside your town or take a vacation, as long as you want to be on the wheel, we are cool!

Earlier this week, I wrote about Myles, which is a self car-drive rental service offered by Carzonrent. They are the first ones offering such a service in India, across various points in the country. They are based much on the same model as Hertz, Enterprise, etc. which operate in other countries.

When I wrote about them, they reached out to me to give away a car across any of their locations for two days, with compliments of the company. So, I’m passing you on the opportunity to experience their car service at any of their locations across India, which are the following:

  • Delhi (including Noida & Gurgaon)
  • Bangalore
  • Mumbai
  • Hyderabad
  • Goa
  • Chennai
  • Pune
  • Ahmedabad
  • Jaipur
  • Chandigarh
  • Vishakhapatnam
  • Amritsar
  • Manesar
  • Bhubaneshwar

There is an exciting choice of cars, varied by location that you can choose from. There are SUVs such as the XUV500 and the Duster, MUVs such as Innova & Ertiga, Compacts such as Pulse, Swift, i10, i20, Polo and sedans such as Vento, Etios, Swift Dzire and Sunny to choose from.

How to participate?

Here is how you can participate in the giveaway. All you got to do is to put in the comments section below, a few lines about your best roadtrip experience, or the one you want to have. Also tell me which Myles location would you pick up your car at?

You can make an entry or multiple entries till Saturday, July 20, 2014. Do remember to follow @livefromalounge and @myles_IN on Twitter as well to make it count.

The giveaway

You get to choose a Myles car (car only, not fuel) from the following models (depending on the availability at the location chosen): Swift,  i10,  i20,  Pulse,  Polo ,  Etios,  Dzire,  Ertiga,  Vento,  Duster,  Sunny, Innova, XUV500. Moreover, you can hire a car available at any of the locations listed above for two days with the compliments of Myles/Carzonrent. You can choose to book a longer trip, and they will void the charges for the first two days in that case. You need to top up the fuel tank when you return the car.

Terms & Conditions

There are some Terms & Conditions to participate, but they are simple. You can participate as many times as you want, but do use a valid email address for your participation, since this will be the email address I communicate with you at the time of selection. You should be an Indian resident (not a citizen, but a resident) over 18 years of age to qualify. Results would be decided in consultation with Carzonrent basis your entries.

How to claim your prize

The winner gets to redeem his prize till August 31, 2014. You will directly book a car on www.carzonrent.com and pay with your valid credit card, along with the amount required for a security deposit. The rental amount along with applicable taxes will be reversed within 7 working days. Remember, not all cars are available at all locations, and you get to choose from the inventory available at the time of booking. You do need a valid Passport/Voters ID Card, Credit Card and Driving License to be able to get the car out of the parking lot.

And yes, I’m just trying to help you guys experience the Myles product, so I hope you don’t give me a hard time Winking smile. It is birthday month for the blog, so do look out for more giveaways coming up next.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | No Comments

I like the Indian skies these days. In fact, I love them. After years of shutting down international routes due to the problems of the recession and slowing traffic that came with it, airlines of India are daring to dream again. Jet Airways kicked off the year with announcing a flight between Mumbai & Paris, which they started operating since June 2014. Air India followed up with flights to Italy, and Russia.

Now, Jet Airways is stepping up the plate to fly to Ho Chi Minh city, via Bangkok. Jet Airways currently operates once daily flights between Delhi and Bangkok, and will extend the same service further to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) from there, from November 5, 2014. Hence, the timing of the flight changes from afternoon to morning.

The time table between Delhi – Bangkok currently looks like this:

9W64 DEL1300 – 1835BKK 737 D
9W63 BKK0900 – 1155DEL 737 D

Then, from November 5, 2014, the schedule will look like this:

9W64 DEL0910 – 1435BKK 737 D
9W64 BKK1545 – 1715SGN 737 D

9W63 SGN1815 – 1945BKK 737 D
9W63 BKK2045 – 2355DEL 737 D

These flights also tie in well with the Jet Airways flights between Mumbai and Bangkok, and one can connect between Bangkok and Saigon after flying from Mumbai to Bangkok directly. Here is how that schedule looks like:

9W70 BOM0750 – 1335BKK 737 D
9W64 BKK1545 – 1715SGN 737 D

9W63 SGN1815 – 1945BKK 737 D
9W67 BKK2135 – 0030DEL 737 D

Jet Airways operates these flights on the regionally configured Boeing 737 planes.

As a matter of fact, Jet Airways is offering introductory fares on this route at the moment, but somehow the Mumbai – Ho Chi Minh fares don’t add up for me, as they are about double the Delhi – Ho Chi Minh fares. Clearly, they are not being able to get concessions from Bangkok airport to be able to reduce the price of this flight.

jethochiminh

I am guessing these flights are also tying in with the Etihad schedules from the Middle East somehow, to be able to provide travellers on Etihad connectivity to South East Asia.

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air india star alliance logo

Air India has joined the Star Alliance today, culminating a seven-year long effort to get inside the world’s largest club of airlines. One of the things that also changes then, is the Flying Returns program, which will now offer earn and burn opportunities across the Star Alliance network of airlines.

I had indicated earlier in this post about how will Air India elite members be mapped to Star Alliance tiers, and how will they be able to receive benefits today onwards. However, the new earning chart for Star Alliance carriers has just been released a while ago.

Earning on Air India for Star Alliance member flights: While you can have a detailed look at the PDF, here are the broad thoughts:

  • Usually, earning rates are quid pro quo between the various carriers. So, if United is offering a 100% earn rate on all Air India fare classes, Air India would also do a 100% on economy. This reflects amply in the accrual chart.
  • Most First class flights will net you 200% to 300% of flown miles, but flying United, ANA and Thai will earn you 150% of flown miles on flying first class.
  • Business Class flights on *A carriers will net you between 100-200% of flown miles towards accrual on Flying Returns.
  • Economy & Premium Economy flights will earn you anything between 25% to 125% of flown miles depending on the class in which the ticket is booked.

Burning Air India miles for Star Alliance member flights: Burning Air India’s miles on Air India’s own metal is cheaper than new award chart Air India is offering for Star alliance redemptions. This is consistently displayed across the award chart. The burn rate is 2x of Economy redemption rates for Business Class seats, and 2.5x for First Class Redemptions.

  • America redemptions: While you can get an F class seat one-way from India to Air India stations in USA at 112,500 miles, here you are expected to shed 137,500 miles one way. Similarly in Business Class, while AI will get you a seat in 90,000 miles, you spend 110,000 miles on another carrier. However, the award chart is similar for North, Central and South America. Which means if you choose to burn AI miles for South America, you may be hitting a sweet spot.
  • Europe redemptions: Europe redemptions from India are again a tad bit expensive over using Air India’s own metal. While you can get a ticket to Europe for 50000 miles to fly AI’s own metal one way (in Business Class), in this case, using a Star Alliance carrier you could be burning 65000 miles.
  • Routing Rules: The award chart has been published with round-trip ticketing mileage, and 50% of miles will be required for one-way travel. You cannot backtrack, and one stopover (of over 24 hours) or one open-jaw is permitted per itinerary.
  • Booking: At this moment, Air India’s website is not showing Star Alliance carriers on its redemption web engine. So, you’d have to perhaps work the phones to get yourself a ticket.
  • Fuel Surcharges: It is possible that AI may charge fuel surcharges on the *A carriers as well, because they charge these on their own metal. This is my expectation of them.

The key difference between burning on Air India’s own metal and that of Star Alliance carriers is the reach. When you burn on Air India’s own metal, you pay for positioning flights separately. For instance to fly Mumbai to Frankfurt, you have to redeem for Mumbai-Delhi and Delhi Frankfurt flights. In this case, you are paying a flat amount of miles for anywhere in India to anywhere in the other continent, which I believe, is the reason that Air India has created a buffer for in terms of redemption.

Those are the first few details I have on Air India’s new charts. Of course they haven’t circulated the fine print yet so this is still a matter of speculation. I will update you with more information when Air India publishes it.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 9 Comments

One of the disadvantages I’ve found India to deal with is the lack of self-drive car hires such as the Avis and Hertz offerings globally. The traditional preference in India used to be of a chauffeur-driven car, and most fleet owners/operators still offer those options only to their clients. However, last year, Carzonrent, which is […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 2 Comments

The big day is still about 12-15 hours away, but Air India seems to be ready this time to join the Star Alliance. In 2011, they were jilted at the altar, and now Star Alliance and Air India have kissed and made up. Here are a couple of pictures of the Air India A320 VT-ESF, […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 3 Comments

We are just half way into 2014, but it is time to bring to you the first edition of the July fare sales. SpiceJet is at it again, having launched a sale for travel between January 6, 2015 to October 24, 2015 offering fares from INR 999 plus taxes and onwards. I was able to […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | One Comment

Indigo has launched a new feature yesterday, called Advance Pass. A complimentary facility, which you can select while booking your ticket, will make sure you are automatically checked-in and your boarding pass is sent to you on email when check-in opens (48 hours prior to the flight departure time). Indigo allows you to pre-select your […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 4 Comments

While I have not been on an Air India plane in about 40 days or more now, Air India is now about 4 days away from getting inducted into the Star Alliance, and first pictures have begin to emerge of how they are sporting the logo on their livery and around the airline. This looks […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | One Comment

It is birthday month for the blog, and I thought it would be a good idea to kick it off with a little warm-up giveaway for all of you. Like all of you know, I am a fan of AwardWallet, a website that allows me to track my points and miles totals across loyalty programs […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 19 Comments

Jet Airways is upping the redemption game which they started a few years back, offering a 50% off on mileage redemption tickets across India for this quarter as of today. For the past two years, Jet Airways offered a 20% off on mileage redemptions, if booked online, something they discontinued in April 2014. Now, for […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 9 Comments

Earlier this year, I wrote about the planning to offer electronic visa clearances to travel to India for passport holders of almost all the countries. Now, the initial plans talked about implementing it in October 2014. However, the government changed about 45 days ago, and it is a respite that this new plan is still […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 3 Comments

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