Changes to Club Vistara Benefits: Going international and free flight changes

Club Vistara is arguably one of the most important loyalty programmes in India at the moment, especially since they are the only airline running a loyalty programme in the first place. I know there is Air India and SpiceJet as well, but one has a programme that hardly benefits the members, and the other hardly had a programme. There are two kind of airline approaches to loyalty programmes at the moment:

  • Where airlines want to honour loyalty of their customers, such as Vistara and Air India. In such cases, their focus is on keeping the customers happy with soft benefits, over making them earn a lot of miles.
  • Where airlines run a mileage factory and a loyalty programme, such as JetPrivilege. In such cases, their focus is on a lot of soft benefits, but also making sure the customers engage with miles and treat these like an alternate currency/form of reward so that they can use them for their flights and other benefits. They also sell a lot of miles.

Vistara is not yet ready to flood the market with their miles, given they are still growing their network. Anyhow, they hadn’t made any huge changes to their loyalty programme since the last time they changed in 2016, adding a Platinum tier.

However, in light of them getting ready to fly abroad, and getting ready to take the mainstay after Jet Airways left the building, there are some changes in the programme. Perhaps more are coming, perhaps some of these have been made back in the day and I am noticing them now.

Here is the 2016 chart of benefits for all the tiers.

Club Vistara 2016

Here is the Club Vistara list of benefits 2019

Club Vistara 2019

Club Vistara Platinum Meet & Greet gone

When Platinum tier was launched, one of the benefits of the tier was Meet and Greet for Platinum members. This benefit was not much to be found around though even back in the day because customers did not receive this benefit a lot of times. Like you notice, this benefit has now been dropped on the official list of benefits.

Platinum gets Free Complimentary Fly Early

Anyways, on the list of benefits, Club Vistara Platinum members now get free Fly Early. Which means, if you now get to the airport early and there is a seat on the earlier flight, you can switch to the earlier flight. To set the record straight, this benefit has been offered for a while now and is not entirely new.

Free add-on baggage for Economy Lite Elite passengers

This one I did not know myself till a few days, till I read the list. Club Vistara offers Economy Lite passengers 1 piece of baggage, at most 15 Kgs. For Silver, Gold & Platinum members, they get another 1 piece of 15 kgs as well.  This is a new introduction for me, given I travelled fearfully the first time I travelled Vistara Lite fares a few days ago.

Airport Upgrades to be processed 1.5 Hours ahead

Recently, Vistara made a change where you could use a voucher to confirm an upgrade ahead of time on a seat available basis. Now, there is a customer friendly change on the airport upgrade as well. Earlier, the confirmation for the upgrades would be processed at one hour out. Now, they are processed at 1.5 hours out. Which is better, because you could get an upgrade processed at the check-in counter itself, rather than waiting to find out at the gate.

This change might have been put in place to accommodate international bookings which can now be upgraded with vouchers as well.

Vouchers can now be processed for international trips as well

Club Vistara issues vouchers to their elite members for upgrades. Silver, Gold and Platinum members get 1/3/5 Vouchers every year on re-qualification. Earlier those vouchers were just useful for domestic flights, but now they can be used for international flights as well.

For a one-class upgrade, it takes 3 vouchers on Vistara’s international flights. The published rules say Economy/Premium Economy and Premium Economy/Business Class would cost 3 vouchers each. But for start of operations, they are using two-class aircraft, so you will be able to get an Economy -> Business Class upgrade for 3 Vouchers itself.

Bottomline

There are really no negative changes being put out by Vistara here, and they clearly are trying to build a better loyalty programme here. But not making a mileage factory, just getting a better loyalty programme for their members, which is a good deal.

What do you think of the changes being made to Club Vistara?

Comments

  1. There is still a long way to go. Vistara doesn’t reward loyalty if you choose lite fares. So what is the incentive for frequent fliers like me who travel light (no benefit of extra baggage allowance) and there is no accrual towards tier status nor any soft benefits. I don’t see value in traveling with lite fares especially if other airlines are Atleast INR 500 cheaper. I don’t see reward for my loyalty!

    • @Prashant you got this wrong buddy. Vistara is the one which gives you the most when you fly lite. You don’t get a meal, but you get lounge access,extra baggage, priority check in and boarding as well, and your flight also gets counted towards your status (no tier points, but flight count is a given). So, Don’t know where you coming from.

      • I agree with you @Ajay, the lite fares are quite rewarding and I personally used them to complete the tier match challenge.

      • Hi Ajay,

        I forgot to add that i am just a silver tier member and the challenges i see are for a silver tier member. When i compare with Jet, I could easily move to Gold with the earning of upto 3 tier points per flight in economy and as much as 5 in business class for international destinations to get to Gold status with just a few flights. Lite fares helped with 1 tier point at least. With Vistara, it seems difficult and also no lounge access or upgrade when you are a silver member. So for a silver member its not attractive and dont see attaining gold status with the current programme! So not really rewarding for the loyalty!

        • @Prashant, you can live in the past or move on. Will a comparison with Jet help you in any way? The airline does not exist and those points cannot be earned anymore. As for lite fares, even on Vistara, you earn the flight count, which helps move up the ladder if you are qualifying on number of flights. As for lounge access, even Jet Airways did not have lounge access for Silvers. Quite frankly, Silver is just a stepping stone and not a real perks based status anywhere except BA which provides a Gold but calls it Silver because they top off at Gold (which is Platinum at other programmes).

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