Jet Airways May Have Stopped Flying, But the Frequent Flyer Program Continues!

Yesterday I wrote about the collapse and eventual shutdown of Jet Airways. Reader Ash asked what would happen to their miles.

  • With most frequent flyer programs, miles are a liability of the airline. While the program itself has value, mostly in its customer data and marketing relationships, and there have been cases where other carriers have picked up mileage liability most airline shutdowns have meant the end to their frequent flyer program.

  • But the JetPrivilege program was a separate business. It was spun off from the airline. Because of foreign ownership limits there was only so much Etihad could invest in the airline, but by taking a stake in the frequent flyer program they could inject more (and gain some additional control).

  • JetPrivilege is run separately, similar to Aeroplan having been a separate company before Air Canada bought it back. That doesn’t guarantee survival. airberlin went bankrupt and its separate topbonus program did, too, largely because of how much bad debt was owed to it by the airline.

Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo

The JetPrivilege program has value. Last summer investment group Blackstone looked at buying it outright.

Indeed the frequent flyer program has been preparing to operate independently of Jet Airways. They’ve put out this statement,

We would like to assure our members that the value of their JPMiles are secure and remain intact. With our air reward offering, “Select Flights”, members have the choice to redeem their JPMiles to fly free across more airlines, any destinations, any flights and any seats in India and globally, starting with the same JPMiles requirement as before which was applicable on Jet Airways and its partner airlines.

As always, our members can also continue to use their JPMiles on hotel stays, fuel & 2500+ merchandise options on the JetPrivilege Reward Store. We consider it our foremost responsibility to safeguard the faith our members have placed in us and remain steadfast in protecting and creating more value for our members through JPMiles. We are constantly expanding our vast partner network to offer diverse JPMiles earning opportunities across 10+ categories to our members.

Jet Privilege Pvt. Ltd. is a separate, independent entity, part of the Etihad Aviation Group formed with the sole purpose to market, develop and grow JetPrivilege – an internationally acclaimed award-winning loyalty and rewards programme.

JetPrivilege continues to work to engage program members. They are no longer tied to an exclusive partnership with Jet Airways and are building partnerships with other airlines. They certainly have access through Etihad.

Miles aren’t going to go as far purchasing paid airfares on any airline as they would accessing saver inventory on a host airline. However by offering this it’s clear they believe they have the resources to deliver redemptions to members. Hopefully they’re able to expand their relationships and offerings going forward to deliver even more value. They still have over 200 earn and burn partners.

For now the JetPrivilege loyalty program continues. This will be fascinating to watch, if only because it paints a picture for what might have happened with Aeroplan had it gone it alone rather than being reacquired by Air Canada.

Ultimately I think whether the program succeeds (and indeed survives) depends on its ability to continue to attractive customers who will earn miles through its partners and therefore generate revenue.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The 9W loyalty program is inevitably going to be basically even more worthless to its current program members than is the case today.

    As soon as EY bookings are no longer allowed with the JP points, it’s as good as over.

    There is no way for this program to succeed at this point.

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