With air travel around the world slowing down and practically shutting down in many corridors, airlines have moved forth to protect the interest of their most important customer base, their frequent fliers. Because if they don’t do something for the people who fly them the most in these periods, these customers would feel free to leave later when things get back to normal as well.
Various companies have taken a different approach to this situation. I won’t delve deep into this, but here are some examples.
Finnair has given all their customers 6 months of status more, gratis.
Good news for our Finnair Plus tier customers. We will automatically extend your tier status for further six months beyond its original expiry. Your available upgrade benefits will have updated validity date as well.
— Finnair (@Finnair) March 13, 2020
Qantas has given its customers one-year gratis status as of March 2020. In February, March and April 2020, elite Marco Polo Club members will receive bonus Club Points, to the tune of 30-35% of the requirements of their status for the full year. In the same light, I asked the Indian carriers to also pause or re-assess the way status is going to be awarded for the full year for current Club Vistara or Flying Returns members.
In an email sent out to Vistara customers, Vistara has confirmed the following for elite Club Vistara members:
The tier status re-evaluation will be paused from 18-Mar-20 to 30-Apr-20 and you will continue to get your existing elite tier privileges during this period.
Unfortunately, this is not a very detailed response from Vistara at this moment. Vistara has not clarified if anyone still flies Vistara at the moment, will their flights still count towards preserving status for the next year. Also, does the pause of status right now mean it gets a couple of months added on the other side to earn status? Vistara needs to do a lot more during these times to ensure the interests of their frequent flyers are maintained, maybe today, or in a few weeks:
- Extend all outstanding free ticket vouchers which are not used so far by a couple of months.
- Extend the validity of all the points which are due to expire in March/April 2020.
We are still waiting to hear from Air India about what are they doing in the time being for the status of their Flying Returns members.
What do you think is a fair deal for members of Indian loyalty programmes at this point of time in this never before scenario?