JetPrivilege upgrades restructured for good!

Last year, Jet Airways’ loyalty program JetPrivilege restructured their earning and burning structure, and did away with fuel surcharges on award tickets.

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!

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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.

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About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. 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. H AJ,
    Called up JP centre today for an upgrade on DEL- PNQ 2nd Oct 2015.However they declined…! Since I am making a request before March 1, 2015 I thought that they should have accepted my request. What do you say?

  2. I agree with Sachin. Even though I rarely used this facility of Cash Upgrade, it was perhaps the only feature that would make JP better than Flying returns of Air India.
    Perhaps JP should allow Cash Upgrades at the last minute at the Airport to X class ticket holders. This way they can ensure that Business Class seats are filled up and they get additional revenue of Rs 1000/ Rs 2000. But more importantly keep the customers like Sachin and me are happy and loyal to JeT.

  3. I have been heartbroken ever since I got the mail from her airways yesterday with a small mention that cash upgrades against redemption tickets would no longer be permitted after March 2015.

    The redemption cash upgrade on domestic was the best feature of jet privilege in my opinion. It not only offered a very affordable way to travel business class in domestic sector ( which was anyways way way way over priced compared to international sectors ).

    It also gave me freedom to change my travel dates as frequently as I wanted. It never made sense to me why would anybody buy a full revenue business class ticket against even buying miles online and redeeming an economy ticket and paying 1000/2000 upgrade fees. The seats were always always available against redemption .It always costed around 30-40% of the revenue seat and gave the option to change travel dates at will( almost).

    Earning miles was intact easier before and jet and banks have been reducing the miles earning ratio gradually over the years. Citibank would not only give miles but also an upgrade voucher for every 1.5 lakhs which they then reduced to every 2.5 lakhs and then just stopped giving before finally terminating the jet relationship.

    I must say, over the last 8-10 years I have redeemed over 1.25 million miles ( most of it through credit card miles) and dreaded this day when cash upgrades would not be possible .

    People would say that I am acting cheap. Maybe. But this not only gave me the pleasure of travelling premiere but most importantly it gave me a lot of flexibility.

    One can even now upgrade to premiere with miles on a revenue ticket but this would mean fixed travel dates and silly penalties and fare difference on flight changes.

    I really am surprised why Jet would do this especially with a lot more business class seats coming up with Vistara now in the fray.i sincerely hope Vistara comes up with a decent upgrade strategy .

    Jet airways over the period of last 10 years with the cash upgrade facility had spoilt me. I really don’t know how would I travel anymore.

    Well it’s been a really really good run though.

  4. Upgrades for any fare class is a winner in my opinion.
    Should have been implemented long back.

    A lesser known perk of AI FFP is that they charge 50% of economy miles for a domestic upgrade to business within 24 hours of departure on any fare class.
    For more than 24 hours out and International sectors, it is 75% miles. Although they restrict the fare classes in this case.

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