I woke up to a barrage of messages this morning, and I’ve just been on the phone, answering questions on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and any other way to contact me about the future of JPMiles. Everyone has been worried about a newspaper article published in the Economic Times today talking about the Jet Airways Crisis. On expected lines, Jet Airways has denied that this situation is out of hand.
— Anuja Ponkshe (@AnujaPonkshe) August 3, 2018
While I personally do not believe that the airline is anywhere close to being grounding, and this is a lot of posturing, as the article itself claims, for people to leave the airline or settle for less, it did stir up the hornets’ nest. I’ll write separately about the airline is in deep trouble or not, but for now, just so that you know, we are a part of the problem.
Very recently, Air Berlin got grounded for good, went belly up, and the miles turned worthless overnight. As a last-ditch measure, you could use them on Etihad, but that was about it. So, it is justified for you to be worried.
I thought I’d put out a few pointers to remind you that while Jet Airways and JetPrivilege were formerly the same company, they are not anymore. Back in the day, Etihad bought out 50.1% of Jet Privilege Private Limited, the company which runs JetPrivilege and takes on the liability of JPMiles on their books.
One of the first things Jet Privilege did was to fill up the gap of a countrywide loyalty and rewards program. Responsible for their P&L, they moved into new categories and started to tie-up with newer categories to offer JPMiles as a reward currency. Shopping, Hotels and Dining are a few of those categories.
On the other hand, they added new ways to burn your miles. While I don’t endorse you burn your miles to buy a toaster, that option is now available. Also, do not forget, while Jet Airways is the primary airline of choice for people to burn their miles, there are many other airlines to burn your miles on as well, like 20 airlines:
- Etihad Airways
- Air France
Now, while Jet Privilege Private Limited is a privately owned company, so the financials are hard to find, they are indeed a profit-making entity. At least they were until the last financial year ending March 2017 for which information is available in the public domain.
As you see, JetPrivilege has a positive net worth of INR 1730 Crores ($266 million) as of March 2017, and a profit of INR 96 Crores ($14 million). That is not a small number by any stretch of the imagination for a program that has over 5 million members. If I remember loyalty program accounting from back in the day, positive net worth would mean all the miles are accounted for. The next Annual Report would be adopted next week, so we should find out how this situation moved forward over the past 15 months then.
All I’d infer from this data at the moment would be, that even if something happened which was untoward, the value of your JPMiles is surviving in a separate company which runs its balance sheet now, and should be able to pay for those redemptions if you book on another carrier from their partner network.
While I have also reached out to JetPrivilege for an official comment, personally, I think, there is nothing to worry at the moment. And I say that as someone who has a large balance in the program at the moment.
What are your thoughts concerning how your JPMiles are worthy or not at the moment? Ask me questions in the comments, and I’ll be happy to answer to the best of my knowledge and ability.