Emirates has announced there will be some sweeping changes to their Skywards frequent flyer program from 1 January 2010. The changes can be summed up as a move from a traditional mileage basis to a more innovative revenue basis. In a post a few months ago I described the various types of revenue-based frequent flyer programs (FFPs). The new Skywards program does not match any of those types but instead has fixed earning and fixed awards.
The key changes announced to date include:
- no new status tier, yet, and no change to earning requirement
- fares categorised as flex (normal published fares) and saver (sales and fares brought through other airlines)
- earning fixed amounts based on whole journey using geographic zones
- earning related to profitability - higher for first and business class, lower 50% rate for saver fares
- status mileage earning to match redeemable mileage earning (yet to be seen if this also applies to bonus mile promotions)
- status earning based on membership year rather than calendar year, with year reset on attaining a higher level
- awards categorised as flex (more availability) and saver (limited availability)
- flex awards at double cost
- one-way awards introduced
- upgrades cost more from saver fares than from flex fares
Other than awards being fixed amounts based on the journey and geographic zones (instead of variable per flight), it looks very similar to NZ Airpoints program. This is good for those who travel on expensive fares, not so good for others and useless for mileage runners.
I like how the Skywards page announcing this overhaul has an option to get email updates for any further changes posted.