In the last 2 months or so, I’ve heard at-least 10 of them saying “I’ve more than half a million JPMiles and now I lost all hope. Which airline loyalty program should I switch to?” and I usually don’t have a solid answer.
As you know, the shutdown of JetAirways has created a huge vacuum not one in the airline industry but also in the airline loyalty program. Yes, all airlines have improved their frequency, launched new routes, boasting higher revenues, but none of them seem to have interest in taking advantage on the loyalty program side, which a big business in itself.
Speaking about airline loyalty programs in India, we only have 3 major airline loyalty programs: JetPrivilege, Air India Flying Returns & Club Vistara, out of which JetPrivilege is facing tough times, Air India is good yet not serving domestic needs of a premium flyer, so only Club Vistara has the ability to serve, but will it? Here are my thoughts,
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If you’ve a Vistara credit cards in your wallet, you could get returns north of ~10% on the credit card spends when you redeem for domestic business class. The CV points earn rate is also good on spends done with the airline.
The returns are decent even with economy & premium economy redemptions. The only downside of the program is about the Vistara connectivity, which anyway is growing pretty fast at the moment. They’re also coming up with good offers on club Vistara to earn more CV points & redeem for less.
So it’s all good when it comes to flying domestic award tickets. With improved connectivity, Vistara is set to make and break records.
To compare, Air India has decent redemption ability, but not so great product. Jet Privilege has very poor value in its current form. So Vistara Wins!
While Vistara is undoubtedly the best airline loyalty program for domestic award redemptions, they’ve nothing much to offer when it comes to international redemptions.
Their newly launched flights from Mumbai & Delhi to Singapore demands 100k points for one way business class – which is quite steep. I value Vistara points @ ~75Ps, so that turns out to Rs.75,000 for a flight that sells revenue ticket around Rs.35,000. That aside, earning that kind of points is also very tough at current earn rates on their top tier card: Axis Vistara Infinite.
While I continue to wonder why Vistara came up with such high requirement, chances are they don’t intend to give award seats easily as chances of selling paid tickets in these sectors are easy for the airline.
That said, I hope their other international destinations which is expected to go live soon comes with lower points requirement for award seats.
Speaking about international redemptions, with Jet Airways, one of the biggest advantage used to be their long list of partner airlines. Vistara too has the award winning Singapore airlines as their partner, but they never leveraged it – a big mistake!
With jet airways shutdown, JetPrivilege lost its name and fame as JPMiles got devalued by at least 60% for most of its members. Hence the customers are looking for the best alternative.
While club Vistara is a very good alternative in domestic segment, they definitely need to work out a plan for international redemptions. If done right, I see Vistara can definitely replace JetPrivilege. But will they do it right? Only time will tell.
What’s your thoughts on Club Vistara w.r.t international redemptions? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
I think Vistara should provide free or at least spends based reversal credit cards.
Diners Black and Vistara combo is deadly… Earn 10× points and convert it in to Vistara points… Did last few vacations for free because of that..
Hi Abhay, I did not understand this!
you meant you used DB points to vistara and use for domestic travel or am I missing something here?
You can convert the 10x points from Diners Club into CV points through the reward points portal and use them to fly Vistara. It’s simple as quick.
Please explain in detail.
do you get tickets cheaper that way? compared to redeeming the RP on the HDFC Smartbuy site
What it means is you can transfer DCB points to CV miles in 1:1.
Now how that helps is say you are looking for a DEL-GOI route. The standard miles reqd for the route are 6000/7000 (Eco/PEco). Cash ticket may vary from 5K to 15k-20k ( think Dec/Jan).
So while booking from Smartbuy u use points in lieu of cash but if you book using Miles you only use 7K points & pay some taxes arnd 500 rs.
Hope this helps
But that cant be generalized. its only when one way ticket is more that Rs.7k….that only happens when you just book someways before travelling or in peak season. But then the award tickets are similarly hard to get by.
I doubt getting cheaper tickets via Vistara points….its always cheaper to purchase i think….Then its a waste of points…rather points can be used wisely to upgrade tickets.
I disagree. Looking at the current aviation scenario, redeeming points for miles is invariably cheaper than buying cash.
I have had made multiple transactions for booking tickets via CV points vs cash this year.
And the redemption rate has been very close to 1 or > 1 in most cases.
Infact if you were to look for spending Xmas/NY in GOI, CV points would make the most sense because ticket prices are absurd.
But getting the reward seats is a big challenge, I agree completely.
Also, i missed adding, PE in Vistara is invariably more than 7K. Closer to 10K these days.
So if you are able to redeem CV points for PE & have an upgrade voucher, then you have a Biz class ticket for minimal taxes.
@ Abhay how do you find value through it.
Diners Black points are valued at 1 rupee for travel ticket booking on Smartbuy, while if you transfer points to CV you are surely devalued to ~.70 rupee.
In most situations it will not be great proposition unless you are just short by some CV points on redemption booking and hence want to transfer .
Pls share if I am missing something here .
Accelerated points on booking on vistara site/app on the Axis Vistara cards is a big miss. Hope they bring this soon.
I totally agree that Air India’s Flying Returns sucks! The back end is pathetically insensitive and so easily allege misuse. When challenged to be specific, they go silent! Who will want to use such an airline!
I wish it is replaced. Guess this is the best option of we have in India right now though there are still lot of route concerns on Vistara & not fair redemption on Singapore airlines or Silk air . Add to that there are not much CV & tier points earning opportunities and their cards are only good for milestone benefits alone. You can’t use CV points as mileage currency as yet due to lack of broad based acceptance.
Club vistara has partners with singapore airlines. You can redeem the club vistara points on Singapore airlines.
It should and even when JetAirways was at its best still then earning capacity was more in Vistara CV
As the connectivity is increasing ,its good to continue with CV . Vistara should bring more lounges in other cities also
Even Spicejet has SpiceClub a loyalty program but you will get points only when you book directly in Spicejet portal
I think we’re all jumping the gun here. Vistara clearly knows that nothing else is going to take the place of JP other than CV in the future. Budget airlines already have the the best frequent flier program they’ll ever need – Low prices. This is why they’re taking their sweet time in positioning the product.
Moreover, Vistara has only been in service for four years. What was the connectivity for Jet at their fourth year? Probably worse than Vistara. Give them some time, guys. 2020 is going to be their watershed year with the new Dreamliners coming in and international flights being a big earner. Either way, Vistara is positioning themselves more as a business airline than a democratic one, so they’re looking at most of their revenue coming in from the international sector and high value routes like Delhi to Metros domestically.
Surely, the product will improve with more codeshare and interline partners as well as entry into the Star Alliance (guessing because SIA is already there). Just give them time. Cheers!
When Jet shut down I had about 220k JP miles in my account. I used my JP miles for international travel tickets usually and find them devalued by at least 50% now, even more if you try to use them for domestic travel.
At current rates I find Air India FR to be the most sensible, considering Vistara CV is still building scale.
From using an Amex Jet Privilege credit card, I’ve moved over to the Air India SBI signature card – and yes I’ve been told my many and many times over that that’s a big mistake. Still my calc shows FR miles are more valuable that JP miles at the moment, and with Air India’s large partner network it makes a lot of sense to invest there. Hoping to reap benefits within one year of use.
And may I know the routes you’re exploring with AI partners?
Delhi – Zurich, Delhi – Sydney
With bonus FRs at spends of 5/10/20 lac the air India card should return at >8% per year, while my jet card used to return at around 5.5%.
Another wonderful article. Today I received my Axis Vistara Signature card. Hope Vistara does well and add more avenue to earn and burn CV points.
Thanks to @Sid and cardexpert.in for great reviews and views.
Received an email from otherwise useless Indusind Credit card that reward points can be converted to Club Vistara (CV) points. Minimum 500 reward points needed for redemption and can be redeemed in multiples of 100. Card wise conversion ratio as follows:
1) For IndusInd Bank Indulge Credit Card, IndusInd Bank Crest Credit Card, IndusInd Bank Pioneer Heritage Credit Card, IndusInd Bank Pioneer Legacy Credit Card, IndusInd Bank Legend Credit Card, IndusInd Bank Pinnacle Credit Card, IndusInd Bank Signature Credit Card, IndusInd Bank Iconia Credit Card, IndusInd Bank Platinum Credit Card and IndusInd Bank Platinum Select Credit Card – 1 IndusInd Bank Reward Point will be converted to 1 CV Point
2) For IndusInd Bank Platinum Aura Credit Card and IndusInd Bank Platinum Aura Edge Credit Card – 2 IndusInd Bank Reward Points will be converted to 1 CV Point
This is a very good news for idle Indusind reward points.
Converting to cash is lot better, most of the time.
There are lot of changes in CV program that announced today
Bad part is CV points for upgrade has been increased close to 50 % from Premium Economy to Business and around 40% in Award flight
New privilege for CV Gold members which allows them to make 1 change per booking for free for travel within India (fare difference applicable)
Direct upgrade from Economy to Business using 2 vouchers
Points can be used for international travel also
Thanks for the sharing the updates Mouli.
But I feel this is still more of a bad news, given the limited avenues to earn CV points . It’s a devaluation.
I think Delhi-Kochi sector is the most hit for award ticket. 50% increase for economy, 71% for PE and 20% for business class.
With their new planes, there isnt any PE/biz classes on DEL-COK route. Just Eco with really bad food options.
Delhi goa increased from 6000miles to 8000miles
Delhi kochi from 6000miles to 9000 miles.
Vistara going towards jet airways path. Devaluing so heavily.
I travel mainly by AI, vistara, SIA and ethiopian. I’m trying for star alliance gold through krisflyer as I am able to transfer all the miles to krisflyer. Only hitch is vistara gives krisflyer miles and not elite miles. And best part is star alliance redemption for domestic in air India is also pretty good. Plus worldwide star alliance has good collection of lounges for gold members
If you have Plat charge Kris Flyer gold is easier to get via Shangri-la Jade > Kris Flyer Silver match > 4 Singapore Airlines trips (If I’m not wrong) > Kris Flyer Gold.
Ethiopian allows family pooling, with family miles adding to your elite miles, thereby fast tracking your chances of Star Gold.
Do check out both!
Thanks for the update. Unfortunately I travel ethiopian for work so no pooling options. Also I want to take the plat charge but not sure whether I will be able to milk it for its value as I don’t use the hotel chains affiliated with it.
Any tips for it.
Have you tried booking AI domestic using Kris flyer miles. How is the availabllity? I am not able to find any tickets or may be I am doing it wrong?
just a quick question. If you are flying singapore airlines, is it better to avail Krisflyer miles or Club vistara miles?