Yesterday, I had a lot of highs and lows throughout the day, specially, when Jet Airways almost gutted the international redemption chart, and then withdrew their act later, commenting that it was a mistake and genuine enhancements are coming to the program.

Jet Airways was the first domestic airline to offer 100% miles on domestic sectors, a move they initiated in 2012, and offers these on all fare classes except maybe one. Air India has still not followed suit, and they frequently offer 25-50% of flown miles on most fare classes except the highest ones.

Anyhow, after yesterday’s snafu, I got a mailer last night, which I’m sure a lot more members would have also received. This discussed the new accrual structure for JP miles on flying Jet Airways, Jet Konnect and partner airlines. Here are the key changes.

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Flying Jet Airways domestic or internationally, or Jet Airways codeshare flights operated by Etihad/other partners:

  • For all segments less than 500 miles of flying, you still get a 500 mile minimum accrual when you fly economy, 750 when you fly business and 375 miles when you fly deep discounted tickets such as fare class B and G. This is for flying Jet Airways metal.
  • For all segments longer than 500 miles of flying, nothing changes for economy flyers except when you fly deep discounted B fare tickets, which earlier earned 100% flown miles, now will earn 75% flown miles.
  • While the cabin bonuses used to be different for Platinums and everyone else earlier, these have now been commonsized. So, everyone who flies Business Class gets 50% bonus miles over economy, and everyone who flies First Class gets 100% bonus miles over economy. The only ones losing out here are premium cabin Platinum members who lose out some extra cabin bonuses they’d earn earlier.

Flying JetKonnect domestic:

  • JetKonnect operates either under S2 or under 9W IATA codes, but you earn the same amount of miles on both. Namely, if you fly deep discounted tickets, i.e., class B or G, you get a 250 miles minimum on less than 500 miles of flying, and 50% of flown miles when you fly over 500 miles.
  • For all the other fare classes in economy, you get 375 miles minimum when you fly less than 500 miles, or 75% of flown miles when you fly over 500 miles.
  • If you fly JetKonnect and are in the business cabin, just like Jet Airways you get 50% bonus of flown miles as cabin bonus.

You continue to earn tier bonuses for being an elite member, as there is no mention as yet that these are being withdrawn. Hence, Silver members get 10% bonus, Gold members get 20% bonus and Platinum members get 30% bonus on top of the base miles they earn for the flight.

Bottomline: I think some of these changes are rational, and some are targetted towards simplifying things. The floor minimum will enhance earnings for short haul flyers, such as those who do a lot of BOM-GOI, BLR-MAA or so on, and I know people who do a lot of flying on all these kind of sectors. Their earnings may go up 2-3 times, also tier miles they earn.

Some of the other changes such as flattening the cabin bonuses are simplifying things, while reducing miles earned on deep discount tickets, I won’t contest that. When you’re buying a ticket at 40% off, you shouldn’t be complaining getting a few miles less.

I hope I’ve managed to explain part 1 of the changes rolling out in the JetPrivilege program. I’m expecting to be back again with another update tomorrow, when Jet Airways will talk officially about the changes to the redemption structure.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | No Comments

This afternoon, I wrote about the changes to the Jet Airways frequent flyer program JetPrivilege, which was recently bought over by Etihad as a part of their investment in Jet Airways. Subsequent to the post, this evening, I heard from Manish Dureja, who now heads the JetPrivilege company, and explained to me the changes and the perspective to the changes.

First and foremost, he clarified that the changes are not going to be all negative, but mostly positive for the customer. He explained that while they’ve been intending to do a lot over the years, he has been working with his team over the past 3 years to overhaul the program, which now looks possible given they are a loyalty company and not an airline unit anymore.

  • A lot of changes are on their way over the next 3 months: I have been now reliably informed that JP will work towards introducing a new change/s every 2-3 weeks, culminating in an overhaul of the entire program over the coming 3 months. The program is being revamped in a stagewise manner due to the complexity and technology challenges involved in the process.
  • First, accruals will change for the better: While he did not give me in on the entire plan, he did tell me that with effect from August 1, 2014 there is a minimum number of miles concept being introduced. So, at least 500 JP Miles on short haul segments for customers when booked on 9W and 375 JPMiles on flying JetKonnect. Mails will be rolled out to customers today, or at best, tomorrow.
  • Redemptions will be actually better with YQ going away: He explained to me that the changes for the redemption table were inadvertently exposed on the website today, and they have since been rolled back. Further, he explained that the new redemption amounts will go into force with effect from September 1, 2014 and customers will have a full month of notice to be able to redeem their miles at the old award chart if they wanted to do so. Under the new redemption table, fuel surcharge will go away, and only airport and statutory taxes will have to be paid. The values however remain true, and you can read some samples here.
  • Domestic redemptions adjustments: With domestic accruals going up, sort of, domestic redemptions will go down in most cases, and go up in some cases. Why? He sort of told me about the 11:1 ratio they wanted to maintain on domestic redemptions for economy seating, which means for every 11 flights you accrue, you get one flight redemption. Now, if there is science involved in this adjustment, I’d take it either ways.
  • More Availability? While I am not sure if I heard this correctly, or maybe this was in passing mention, but they are working to make availability better as well, maybe?

So, those were some of the key messages that JP wanted to put out. I am not in the know of the details, and I’m guessing if this was the case, then the redemption chart put out this afternoon was an honest mistake, and I’d wait over the days forward to see how many changes are positive and how many are not. So, I’m not writing them off yet, as one of my biggest mileage banks.

Just so that you guys haven’t finished a few bottles of tequila so far, be assured, the old charts are back online and changes will be made with notice. So, have a good day / good night, whichever part of the world you’re in. It was a false alarm.

Your views, folks?

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 5 Comments

Update: Jet Airways came back with a clarification. Check here.

The ball has dropped. This is unofficial but a developing story. Okay, enough for the sensationalism. This morning, I was playing around with the Jet Airways website, trying to tuck in a redemption or few. I hadn’t gotten in on their up to 50% off sale fare, so I wanted to make some redemptions to go places.

I noticed that there are changes in the award chart. Get some water, gulp it down, and then lets go over the changes till the end.

Domestic Redemptions: Between –30 to +20% miles in most cases from October 2014

Here is a link to the old redemption chart. While I did not manage to compare all sectors, I do notice a trend, that redemptions are usually about 20%-30% cheaper in terms of miles as compared to the earlier rate, and in some cases, 20% more expensive. I can live with that I’d say. Here are some sectors for comparison sake. Although I invite you to add your observations in the comments section as well about sectors you see going up or down.

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Now, get a shot of tequila before you read this

International Redemptions: Getting gutted to the core with 60% more miles required!

 

International redemptions have not been Jet Airways’ sweet spot for the longest time. They price your redemptions on a per flight basis, add huge fuel surcharges, sometimes good enough for the price of a new economy ticket itself, and then want to take away your miles as well as lots of money from you for travelling on their own metal! And now, they are treading a line which is not even funny. As I see the redemptions for August 1, 2014 I see a new redemption rate for most international sectors, and this has not gone down but up in case of all mid-long haul flights.

jetredemptionsgutted

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And you can’t even catch the bus anymore. This morning, the new rates have been loaded in the online booking system, and if you have not booked your award ticket so far, you can’t get in on the old rates anymore. Errata. BOM-EWR is 150000 and I will update the excel later again (I deleted the draft!)

Eh, I don’t appreciate these changes from Jet Airways at all. But what I don’t appreciate even more, is the lack of notice. People work to accumulate miles towards their aspirational vacations. In this case, with the stroke of a mouse, someone has moved the goalpost much much ahead. This is a loss of credibility in the airline business, very much so.

The right way to make any changes is to give people notice that changes will come ahead, and give them a few days or weeks to redeem at the old pricing before sneaking these changes in. THIS IS JUST NOT DONE.

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