Club Vistara is the frequent flyer program of Vistara, the full-service airline that launched last year. One of the good things they did at launch was to have a ready frequent flyer program, albeit India’s first revenue-based frequent flyer program. I’ve explained the features of the program earlier. It is a pretty basic frequent flyer program, however, full marks to them for starting up with one on day 1.
A frequent-flyer program is important to an airline, because it is a tool which breeds loyalty amongst frequent flyers. The structured benefits offered via the frequent flyer program are one of the reasons it becomes a loop for the frequent travellers. You do more flights –> you earn more benefits on the airline –> you do even more flights to retain the benefits in the years ahead. Benefits include priority on sold out flights, bags out first, upgrades, lounge access and so on. Airlines such as Jet Airways’ have over the years made it very easy to retain your elite membership with the airline, ensuring they keep getting your trips over and over.
Vistara, on day 1, did not have a rank of elites. And they expected people to go through the grind over a period of time to start becoming elites. They were trying to compete only on the product. However, over a period of time, things have changed, and perhaps the power of the frequent flyer is coming to be known a bit better to the airline. They offered Taj Hotels’ elites the Vistara Gold tier, and then they tied up with HDFC Bank to offer free Gold tier to the members of their lifestyle cards.
Why is Vistara doing it?
Not a bad strategy I say. It costs nothing to offer elite status to people you expect to do business with in the future. When Kingfisher Airlines launched a frequent flyer program, they offered to match up the number of miles in your account as well, which was an easy way to get liabilities on your books to poach frequent fliers. (All frequent flier miles show up on the balancesheet of the airline, unless the airline does not own the program).
With Vistara’s strategy, they are just giving status to members who want to switch to the airline, and any sorts of benefits only accrue once the member uses the airline. Since they are not the part of any alliance right now, the cost of this status match only sets in once people board a Vistara flight, so things are pretty much under control.
How to get Club Vistara status match?
If you are a Jet Airways Platinum or Gold, you’d be matched to Club Vistara Gold. I’d feel the same would happen for Air India tiers as well. If you are silver, you’d get Vistara Silver. I’ve also heard Vistara is matching status for airlines across the world.
You need to write to Club Vistara at firstname.lastname@example.org with your details of Club Vistara membership, and why do you want Vistara to offer you a status match. Additionally, they will ask you for your existing elite credentials for review. If everything is clear and they see a case to offer your status matches, you should hear from them soon with an email that welcomes you to the new tier you are being offered.
Benefits of Club Vistara Elite tiers
Apart from earning more points/INR 100 on Vistara flights, you do get to access priority check-in counters (PEY counter for Silver and Business for Gold). Additionally, you get a higher baggage allowance and priority baggage handling as Gold. Club Vistara Gold members also get lounge access, which means, you could get to the newly opened Vistara lounge at the Delhi airport when flying from Delhi.
While this is not an advertised status match campaign, if you do think you want to switch your business to Vistara, this may be a good opportunity to request for a match.
Do report your status match success in the comments section below