Airline Loyalty Update: Midyear 2021

2021 has been a roller coaster of a year in terms of travel, or the lack of it. Given the year has been practically useless, at least for those of us in India, in terms of travel, I thought it would be hard to keep up with my travel loyalty. However, I just thought of putting my update out there, and hearing from all of you about your loyalty strategy as well. Let’s go in the order of airlines, hotels, and then anything else left. Today, it’s time to talk airline status.

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In terms of airlines, I do have Air Vistara, right on top as my preferred airline to fly across India. Having earned Platinum status with them a couple of years ago, after Jet Airways went under, I was on track to earning it again when Covid-19 hit. Earlier this year, Vistara, however, extended status for a year, which means I have it till October 2022 now to earn back my status with them, for now. After that, they also change their evaluation criteria to focus on highly paying customers, offering them Platinum status with effect from 2023 onwards.

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Key perks of Vistara Platinum for me are the Priority Connect phone line and the no-fee reschedule features. Free seat assignment comes along as well, and what I have not used recently is the FlyEarly feature, given even on major routes, there is a truncated flight service for the time being.

British Airways

I have been a BA Executive Club Gold for about 7 years now, and before that, I used to keep American Airlines Executive Platinum status. Since there are no oneworld airlines in India, and travel abroad is not possible for now, I am not sure how this year will pan out for my British Airways status. The good thing is, British Airways has already extended status till December 31, 2022, so hopefully I’ll get a year of using the status and earning it back sometime soon. This will give me access not just to the perks of British Airways Gold, but also oneworld Emerald on other members of the alliance.

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Perks I keep my BA Gold status for is First Class Lounge Access at BA and other oneworld member carriers, apart from excess baggage and priority handling.


A couple of years ago, with Jet Airways gone, I took to Emirates for some of my travel outside India (given Vistara was still in its infancy of the global network map it intends to create). I managed to fly enough to get to Silver with them. Since then, the status has been extended.

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Emirates Silver gives me complimentary seat selection on the airline, apart from extra baggage allowance, apart from Emirates Business Class Lounge Access in Dubai. Not just that, as a part of the Your World Rewards collaboration between Emirates and Marriott, Emirates Skywards Silver, Gold and Platinum members earn 1 Skywards Mile per USD 1 spent on top of Marriott Bonvoy points on all eligible stays at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts worldwide.


Etihad was my go to carrier back in the day for a lot of trips when Jet Airways was around, and thanks to their collaboration with Citibank back in the day, I’d also received Etihad Gold status. Since then, Etihad made a move to grant statuses for two years and also a soft landing was put into place. I’ve since been downgraded to Silver, and status extended for the time being, given the pandemic.

(P.S. : As I write this, I just received an email from Etihad stating I’ve been re-upped to Gold for six months, hoping to have me back on their planes sometime soon)


I’ve received United Mileage Plus Silver status as a part of being a Marriott Titanium Elite, as a part of the Rewards Plus partnership between Marriott Bonvoy and United. Marriott Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite members receive United Mileage Plus Silver status, which allows for Complimentary access to Economy Plus at check-in, Complimentary Premier upgrade confirmation as early as day of departure, one complimentary checked bag and so on.

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Shipra and I have been visiting Shipra’s parents, where the only connectivity we have are SpiceJet’s 737s, IndiGo’s A320family and Alliance Air’s ATRs. Now, by whatever stroke of luck, somehow, SpiceJet has been the one getting the best scheduling for me for the past trips, and hence I’ve been flying them in spite of their awfully broken planes sometimes. As a consequence, I enrolled myself in their SpiceClub programme, and I now have a few flights credited on them. Let us see where this takes me.
Where do you stand with your current airline status, and where do you see yourself end of the year?

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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. hey, I used to travel DEL-LHR frequently back in the day. now that will again be the case and since then Vistara has added that sector as well. I used to fly Virgin but also have Vistara Gold. comparing the two, I feel redemption, points earning and upgrades on Vistara is exorbitant, and compared to the virgin, Vistara is useless. should I go with virgin or Vistara what do you suggest

  2. Hi Ajay, What extra baggage allowance can United Silver get me on a Star Alliance flight? I couldn’t find any info on that. Thanks.

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