Citibank PremierMiles: Etihad Guest is a partner, Indigo changes & dynamic redemptions go mainstream

While I write this, I hope you’ve all registered for the PremierMiles top 2000 spenders contest for this quarter where these guys get to double their miles. Contest is opt – in so if you don’t register, you don’t get counted.

Now, first for the big news. Etihad Guest, the loyalty program of Etihad airlines, is now a partner with the PremierMiles program. I think this went online today, since last I checked a couple of days back, this partner was not there on the list.

From now on, you can also transfer your PremierMiles 1:1 on Etihad Guest account as well, though Etihad charging 147K for a BOM-JFK roundtrip is not giving me a good feeling on these guys as a redemption partner, while with other airlines they usually charge anyways close to 90K miles (+/- 10K) for redemptions on this route. And I am not sure of customer service, for instance on the IT front. I got a status match with them in June 2012, and till date my kit has not arrived, and I don’t see some miles posted from their partner airline OmanAir.

Now, to the not so good news. Earlier I posted, that there were changes on some sectors with PremierMiles. These are essentially all the tourist destinations. I happened to notice today that now, these were moved to a dynamic model, where segments are priced according to the actual ticket price. So, I priced a sample ticket – Mumbai/Goa on 15 December and it turned up for Rs. 2,848 (including all taxes).

In mileage terms, it turns out the same flight would now price at 5,696 PremierMiles (inclusive of taxes) thereby pricing each mile at 50 Paise for the purpose of redemption (the same as the redemption rate used for booking with Indigo).

Another change now is that Indigo is now counted as a full-service airline redemption, and not as a low-cost carrier for standard redemptions. So, for instance, Mumbai Delhi would price as 10,450 PM + taxes as compared to 8,400 earlier on Indigo. So, full-service airlines are Air India and Indigo (Jet was long gone, now Kingfisher is off the list). SpiceJet and GoAir are on the low-cost carrier list for PremierMiles redemption. More, taxes are now payable as PremierMiles itself at the rate of 50 paise per PM.

I think there are far too many changes happening, which I don’t like, because this is making sure that users are logging into a new change every time they want to redeem their miles. While I always think the best value comes out of transferring these miles to various programs and then redeeming them, the redemption changes have included losing Jet Airways, increasing requirements for Indigo redemptions, readjusting tourist destinations.

That is all from this edition of the Citibank PremierMiles newshour!

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