I seem to have found the root cause of Air India’s frequent flyer mess

Yesterday, I wrote about how disappointed I was with the Air India frequent flyer program. It did not stop there. I went about doing some digging into the whole affair.

Air India has outsourced the entire management of their frequent flyer program to a South African loyalty management company called LoyaltyPlus, to the extent that the program is hosted on external servers and not Air India’s own. Now, I assume here that a loyalty solutions company helps draw up a program and run the program and would be very involved with the on-going affairs at Flying Returns.

So, I decided to have a look at their roster of clients, and it turned out that I could not find one top-notch airline of any standing in their books. Mind you, I am not trying to be prejudiced here, but these names don’t inspire confidence because I’ve never heard of most of them before.


If I may hazard a guess, I could also gloss over the process of how this may have worked out. Indian state-owned companies usually set a minimum qualification bar and then go with the companies who can quote them the lowest price to run the show. I’m guessing not much weightage was given to the quality of the portfolio and experience.

Am I right, or am I just ranting around here? I’m totally disappointed how this would work if this company ever walked into Star Alliance.

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About Ajay Awtaney

With a post-graduate degree in management studies from a reputed business school and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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  1. That AI chooses to pick a provider like this, and be listed with the likes of Air Mali and Air Burkina, tells us how much they care.

  2. Good research, but you forgot one crucial element. The choice of this company and the size of the ‘incentive’ they provided to the decision maker.

  3. For someone who is a self confessed Air India supporter, this comes as a rude shock really.

    I will say with complete prejudice ” that is completely awful company for India’s national airline”, jostling with airlines from small time african nations, I’m apalled. Very very sad indeed

  4. Truly ridiculous. I’m forced to travel AI every month or so, and their FF program is truly stupid. Seeing who their service provider is (thanks for the research!) now helps make sense of it all.

    Of course, AI is a government “department*. So they have to send out a tender and then go with the “L1” vendor. And of course there would be kick backs which would help decide who the (miserable) service provider is!

    Let’s be clear, AI exists for the benefit of its employees, and the travellers are not even on the priority list!


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