Jet Airways, India’s first private airline stopped operations in the first half of 2019 because it had no operating cash and rising debts. In all likelihood, the airline is not making a comeback. However, the airline leaves behind a tried and tested frequent flier program called JetPrivilege.
Since the beginning of the crisis, JetPrivilege has maintained that it is quarantined from the airline’s woes because it is a separately registered entity and was co-owned by Etihad and Jet.
It continued to honour free flights by tying up with booking agents like EaseMyTrip. JetPrivilege even started offering members an option to redeem flights on all major airlines of India including SpiceJet, IndiGo, GoAir, Air India, as well as Vistara. However, the program’s tier privileges were limited because of the absence of their primary airline partner — Jet Airways.
Now, this entity is financially healthy and has proceeded to rebrand itself as InterMiles, away from the now-dead Jet branding. This branding revamps would let it act like any loyalty program while finding new avenues of rewarding its premium customers.
- The name InterMiles suggests the interchangeable nature of the rewards currency which can be earned and redeemed across platforms including airlines, hotels, dine, shop, fuel among others. For the subscriber, this means the program is not tied to a particular airline and can be redeemed across a wide range of options or partners.
- InterMiles has more than 250 airline partners globally and 150 other partners including aggregators such as EaseMyTrip. If you’ve saved up JPMiles all these years, they will still work on an assortment of local and international carriers. In fact, I redeemed a chunk of my miles in June for a trip to Goa via SpiceJet.
- The loyalty program has more than 10 million active users and the company is actually profitable with a reported income of Rs 839 crore in 2018.
- Even though the program has received a rebranding, you can still access your dashboard using the same JetPrivilege number/email or mobile number.
- Previously, the JetPrivilege programme rewarded you on the basis of the number of miles flown or the number of flights taken with Jet Airways and other airline partners annually. That has now been changed to the number of flights or experiences you clock via partners ranging from airlines, hotels, co-branded cards, to restaurants. It is a broader ranging offering.
- Previous tier privileges included lounge access, complimentary food, priority boarding, additional miles, to excess baggage. The same privileges have now been extended to no-frills carriers because of the tier status. Complimentary Lounge Access will be provided four times a year to Platinum Members and two times a year to Gold Members. All you need to do is book flights via InterMiles website.
- Complimentary food will be offered on all flights booked via the website, irrespective of the airline. One flight for silver tier, 2 flights for gold tier, and 4 flights for the platinum tier. Bonus miles will be offered and platinum tier members will earn 75 per cent, Gold 50 per cent and Silver 25 per cent of the base miles. For Platinum members, 50% cancellation waiver will also be offered on Award Flights.
- If you have a co-branded credit card, banks are already in the process of renaming them as InterMiles and even though you obviously can’t redeem Jet flights, a generous redemption option has been provided on international flights. However, AmericanExpress has ended their partnership with InterMiles and will now be teaming up with Club Vistara.
- Flight redemptions are pretty much similar to JetPrivilege, but now available on third party airlines. The fare has been split between Standard Flights and Flexi Flights, offering more options to the end-user. The standard flights look like the baseline option and the Flexi flights, are well, just a name to get higher miles for the same route.
- Basically, InterMiles is similar to booking tickets via an agent like ClearTrip or MakeMyTrip but offers better loyalty benefits and a wide range of partners to choose from.
JetPrivilege has successfully changed its website, social media branding, and operating status. While the programme is shifting away from its founding partner — Jet Airways, it still has a lot more to offer. While the perks are no longer unlimited, it does ensure that frequent flyers continue to get as much as possible in return.
Adding more flight options via booking partners like EaseMyTrip was a brilliant move because it still extended an option to loyal Jet Airways flyers. Unlike other loyalty programs, users weren’t left to dry out without an option.
Though, it’ll be interesting to see how InterMiles is able to tackle Vistara Club, a competing programme directly run by Tata-backed Air Vistara. The airline is the only full-service carrier in India except for government-backed Air India and has been clocking steady growth numbers. The airline has a rewarding program and it recently started international operations to Dubai, Bangkok. Singapore, and Colombo, along with strong but limited codeshare agreements with Singapore Airlines.
If you’ve been a loyal Jet flyer all these years, now’s the time to reap the benefits. And, if you’re just getting started, we recommend going with Club Vistara because benefits are better, redemptions are straightforward, and the airline has strong backing. It won’t be going out of business anytime soon.