On the back of a higher mileage required for an award ticket in premium cabins (a BOM-BRU business class o.w. moved from 54,000 JP Miles to 85,000 JP Miles, but no fuel surcharge now), there was a sweet spot that existed, called mileage upgrades. You earn miles for your ticket, and you pay lower number of miles for your upgrade as compared to a business class redemptions, hence it was a great deal, since you really had a much less net outflow in terms of number of miles for a premium cabin travel.
The standard benchmark for an economy to Business Class upgrade was 1.25 times the economy redemption rates for the sector. I used mileage upgrades on BOM-CDG-BOM, to upgrade one ticket from economy to business, and it costed me 33,750 JP miles one way to upgrade.
Ever since the redemption changes happened in September 2014, the question hanged on about how will the mileage upgrades be priced here on. Last evening, JetPrivilege notified a new table [PDF] for redemption on each sector, which you can view here, and this clarifies the new stance.
All tickets can now be upgraded for miles, however for different number of miles
In the earlier mileage structure, only tickets with RBD (ticket class) K or above would be eligible for upgrades. Not anymore, everyone can upgrade their tickets.
- Discounted ticket classes / Lower Fare Classes such as V,H,O,W & B are going to be charged at 1.2x of Economy redemption for Economy to Business Class upgrades
- Flexible ticket classes / Higher Fare Classes (all other economy ticket classes except V,H,O,W, B) are going to be charged at 1.1x of Economy redemption for Economy to Business Class upgrades
- For Business Class to First Class upgrades, on sectors where it is offered, such as BOM-LHR, the upgrades will be charged at 1.5x of Economy Redemption for Business to First Class upgrades
Perks for Platinum
Platinum tier for JetPrivilege will shine again, with the capability to upgrade at 1.1x for Economy to Business Class, regardless of the discounted or non-discounted tickets they would want to book.
These changes come into effect for requests received after March 1, 2015. In case you have travel planned and you are looking for upgrades against miles before that date, the old chart will still be applicable, as long as JetPrivilege confirms your upgrade before March 1, 2015. So, time to make that call. You can check out the old mileage upgrade requirements in this chart.
Economy to First Class redemptions are going away: I have to admit, this was a generous oversight from JetPrivilege, which is now corrected. No two cabin upgrades possible anymore!
Cash upgrades are going away: Cash upgrades from Economy redemptions to business class were priced at INR 1000 for non-metro segments and INR 2000 for metro segments. As per Jet Airways/JetPrivilege, these were introduced at a time when it used to be very hard to accrue miles, and they wanted to have their lesser frequent flyers also have an opportunity to sample the business class product.
However, with tonnes of opportunities now to earn JP Miles with credit cards, 100% miles on flying and so many partnerships, earning JP Miles has become very very easy. Hence, Jet Privilege is doing away with this feature.
Personally, I don’t remember having used the cash upgrades even once in my lifetime, so I am not sad at all that they are going away. They were an arbitrage opportunity for the savvy few, and it is now being taken away. I don’t crib when arbitrage opportunities are closed out, because this one anyways lasted way longer than what it should have.
Yet again, these upgrades are going to go away from March 1, 2015. So, if you do want to make any redemption bookings and upgrade them before that, you do have a month or so for that.
Bottomline: In my view, the exercise is an overall positive exercise. While this takes away the earlier sweet spots of getting into Business Class for cheap, that was perhaps always going to happen anyways to realign the chart with the new redemption requirements. On an overall basis, I find this to be an attractive chart, and the best part is these are valid for all tickets. That should give you more reasons to earn those JPMiles.