web Musings of The Global Traveller

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Any seat awards

This year it seems to be the fashionable thing for Frequent Flyer Programs (FFPs) to add a new award category for any seat awards.

Yesterday, Singapore Airlines announced Full Awards. Perhaps so-named because you need to have a full mileage account to make use of them? Unlike any seat awards at other FFPs, Kris Flyer (the FFP of Singapore Airlines) blocks some seats - namely the A380 First Suite. All other seats appear to be available, but at a hefty cost. For example Australia to Europe round trip in first class (not A380) is 1,558,000 miles.

Any seat awards work slightly differently at other FFPs. Here is a summary.

  • Singapore Airlines - fixed cost up to 1,558,000 and exclude A380 First Suites, taxes charged separately, excludes Silkair (a subsidiary airline)
  • Qantas - variable cost (explicitly based on fare @ A1c per point) and some over 2,000,000 have been reported, include all seats, taxes optionally included (at extra cost) or charged separately
  • Virgin Blue - all awards on Virgin Blue are any seat, variable cost (loosely based on fare), include all seats
  • Air New Zealand - most awards solely on Air NZ are any seat (exception is business class awards for elites at limited availability), variable cost (based on fare @ NZ$1 per airpoint dollar), include all seats, taxes included for domestic itineraries and charged separately for international itineraries
  • various US-based FFPs - standard awards at double the cost of saver awards (ie fixed cost)

With most US-based airlines hurting financially, how long will it be before their any seat awards change to high variable mileage costs?

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