Air India Flying Returns launches (backdated) elite fast track promotion

Regarding loyalty, Air India has gotten it all wrong for decades. First, they had a frequent flyer programme that did not bother to reward loyalty (you got elite status if you were someone in the Government). Their arrival at Star Alliance forced them to define a better loyalty ladder. However, it was designed in a way that many people who know a thing or two about loyalty programmes prefer to credit their Air India flights elsewhere. The change in ownership did not change anything with the programme, making it and keeping their loyalty programme hard to achieve status for the members.

Air India launches a backdated effort to bring on board elite members.

Air India’s frequent flyer programme has a simple ask for loyalty qualification, which is not very easy, unfortunately, to achieve:

  • Silver Edge Club: 25,000 Tier Points on Air India and other Star Alliance carriers
  • Golden Edge Club: 50,000 Tier Points on Air India and other Star Alliance carriers
  • Maharaja Edge Club: 75,000 Tier Points on Air India and other Star Alliance carriers

a plane flying over a wall

Now, through June 29, 2023, a new promotion is offering the opportunity to receive Air India status for a year, with half the requirements:

  • Silver Edge Club: 12,500 Tier Points on Air India and other Star Alliance carriers (+ 2 segments)
  • Golden Edge Club: 25,000 Tier Points on Air India and other Star Alliance carriers (+3 segments)
  • Maharaja Edge Club: 37,500 Tier Points on Air India and other Star Alliance carriers (+4 segments)

Here are the full T&C, which are not even specific enough:

  • Fast Track Tier evaluation assessment on 30th June ‘23 for one-time entry into tiers with relaxed criterion.
  • Evaluation Period :01st July ‘22 to 30th June ‘23
  • Validity of the tiers will be 12 months – 1st July ’23 to 30th June ‘24
  • Tier FR points will be calculated in retaining/ upgrade of tiers. Points converted from partners will NOT be eligible towards tier progression.
  • Bonus FR points will NOT be eligible towards Tier progression.
  • It is a One-Time Offer and cannot be combined with any other offer.

The timing between which Air India will consider tier points credited to Flying Returns are, hold your breath, July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. And the promotion was notified in the first week of May 2023. In the next eight weeks, you need to credit at least one Delhi-San Francisco in full-fare business class round trip and some domestic business class fares to qualify for the Maharajah Club at such short notice.

I am left with more questions than answers with this move of Air India. Who makes a promotion eligible from 10 months back rather than forward-looking? Is this something to check a box inside Air India that they tried?


Air India Flying Returns launched a new promotion to offer a fast track to earn status (by offering half off the usual criteria). However, someone advised them to look back when designing this promotion. They offer Maharajah Club qualification just for the equivalent of a full-fare business class Delhi – San Francisco and back, and then some domestic Business Class fares.

What do you make of the Air India promotion? Would you be participating?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. I was lucky to get promoted to the Gold Tier as part of this offer, as I had about 26k points in my account, having added~10k with a MUM-JFK trip in March 2023. I was able to leverage my new status for priority check-in at last week’s flight out from Mumbai (I had almost missed the flight due to a long queue at the check-in counter had it not been for the priority check-in facility ) along with access to Adani VIP lounge, Priority boarding and 20k extra check-in baggage benefit.

  2. Okay, so this officially is a joke.

    I have been Gold for many years now, including through the pandemic. Comfortably qualified for Maharaja (45,000 points vs 37,500 needed) and they downgraded me to Silver. Customer care as usual is clueless. Despite taking over 75 flights in the last two years, they had the audacity to tell me I didn’t take any flight, hence the downgrade. I think I’m quite done with Air India now, so much for all the loyalty, and in spite of making the cut-off for Maharaja. Evaluating the Lufthansa and Turkish loyalty programs of which I am already a member. At least, there’s more transparency, and they stand by their offers and promotions. And they’re Star Alliance as well. Will just be a pain starting from their base tiers, but should be well worth it in the long run

  3. I was accumulating points on Krisflyer due to above stated reasons by Ajay. I will not be able to claim this promotion.

  4. Frequent flyer or casual flyer, get the basics right Air india : flight on time and no gate changes last minute.
    Just simple things will help people trust AI : then will people fly frequently

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