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Air India Flying Returns drops the devaluation bomb!

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Air India’s Frequent Flyer Program Flying Returns has been changed for a third time in 8 weeks. Air India’s intentions are noble, because they are taking away fuel surcharge from all international redemptions, but the amount the miles they ask in return for this has gone up a bit too much.

Here are all the details of this program changes, which have gone online overnight!

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Tonnes of changes coming to Air India Flying Returns

One of the best and worst frequent flyer programs in India at the same time is Air India’s Flying Returns. Why bad? Because it is a pretty miserly program I would say again and again. Why good? Because they’ve got a credit card on the market which makes it easy to earn their miles and status, and they are a member of Star Alliance, so their status comes handy across the globe. Having said that, I received a new membership kit yesterday, which had a Golden Edge membership card valid till April 2015 (my status matched membership expired in March 2015 actually). As per the postmarks, the kit was dispatched in April 2015, and I am already an Air India…

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Air India giving away free tickets on various spends

Air India has launched a new promotion yesterday, called My Dream Destination. Under this promotion, when you make cumulative domestic spends on Air India for various amounts over a period of 3 months (February 9, 2015 to May 9, 2015), you will be eligible for free Economy Class tickets on the Air India domestic and international network. Here is how the free ticket offer works: Bill tickets worth INR 75,000 – INR 100,000: INR 75,000 spend earns you a free economy ticket one way on Air India’s domestic network/regional network including Singapore, Bangkok, Kathmandu, Dubai & Muscat. For INR 100,000 spend you get a free return economy ticket. Bill tickets worth INR 200,000: You get a free economy return ticket…

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Booking Star Alliance tickets with AI Flying Returns: it’s buggy & complicated

Ever since Air India joined Star Alliance, the interest in being able to redeem Air India Flying Returns miles for Star Alliance tickets has been well known, but somehow, it has been so complicated that no one has bothered to figure it out. Even in the award reservation service I am offering in beta right now, there has not been much interest in using AI miles for Star Alliance tickets. One part of the reason is that the award chart is inflated, and the other is the myth that only Air India elites can access the Star Alliance inventory. Reader Deovrat tried to crack the code, and went about making a dummy reservation. He used a request to redeem for…

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Lounge Review: Air India Lounge, Mumbai Terminal 1A

Just yesterday, I flew over to Delhi from Mumbai, yet again. I was originally scheduled to get into Delhi on AI101, which is perhaps one of my favourite flights given it gives me access to the Terminal 2 GVK Lounge, and I get to fly a Boeing 777-300ER between the 2 hour Mumbai Delhi segment (the flight further heads to New York from Delhi). However, given that it is winters and Delhi has a massive fog problem, and I did not want to really really get into home middle of the night, I decided to change my plans. I now was going to depart from terminal 1A, from where Air India operates, and this meant I had access to the…

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Air India still lacks disruption redressal capabilities

I’ve recently been trying to use Air India off and on, given their Star Alliance membership, to try and test how they react in various circumstances and whether it is in line with Star Alliance requirements or not. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not. For instance, back in August, when I went with AI for my flight to Goa from Mumbai Terminal 2, AI offered me only one lounge access card, which made sure me and my fiancée could not go into the lounge together. As AI Golden Tier member and Star Alliance Gold, I was good for 2 passes due to the *A guidelines. Just this past Saturday, I made a trip to Delhi on one of Air…

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Do you need to be an Air India Elite to get access to Star Alliance rewards?

Last week, I put out my first thoughts on the Air India Flying Returns’ program, after they joined in the Star Alliance. One of my first observations was that it is more expensive to burn on Star Alliance partners than to burn on Air India’s own metal for international travel. In the comments section, reader Krishnakumar makes a note: Just spoke to Flying Returns agent over the phone. He says that since I am Base Member of flying returns, I cannot redeem AI miles on Star alliance. You need to be Silver , gold or Maharaja member ! To which I was very surprised. However, today he came back reconfirming this statement: Dear AJ, I reconfirmed. FR told me that…

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First look at Air India Star Alliance award chart

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…

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