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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Amex India offers 30% bonus on transfer to Avios till July 15, 2013

American Express and Avios have been running frequent transfer bonuses around the globe. The last one they ran for India was in October 2012, with a similar 30% bonus. However, right after that there was a Membership Rewards devaluation, whereby, MR made all airline transfers, which were earlier 1.6 MR=1 mile/point, to 2 MR = 1Mile/Point except Jet Airways. Anyhow, Amex and Avios are now running a 30% transfer bonus, whereby for every transfer of 2000 Amex MR to your Avios account, you will get 1300 Avios instead of the usual 1000. This brings your cost down to 1.54 MR per Avios. This promotion runs till July 15, 2013. Transfer is usually completed within 24 hours. The minimum transfer is…

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Giveaway: Jet Airways’ luggage tag

Hey, its Jet Airways’ 20th and they’ve been extremely kind to be giving away all their frequent and non-frequent flyers 20% miles for their last 20 flights. I’ve been meaning to give away some stuff as well, however, just not been able to lay my hands on it. Last night, on one of my Jet Airways international flight, I picked up a few of these. Too bad they were not on board the last time I flew Jet Airways international from Brussels to Mumbai. One Jet Airways’ silicon baggage tag set for one of you who share with me your best travel experience with Jet Airways. Just make sure you’re putting in your correct name and email address in the…

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Jet Airways to move hub from Brussels to Amsterdam?

While I am not totally accepting this news as fait accompli just yet, however, James Hogan, the CEO of Etihad Airways has made an announcement at Amsterdam, at the press conference to launch the airline’s Abu Dhabi – Amsterdam route, that Jet Airways will be moving its scissor hub from Brussels to Amsterdam. Jet Airways, at present has two flights, which operate from Delhi and Mumbai, go into Brussels, and one goes forward to Toronto and the other to Newark. The scissor hub allows passengers to switch in Brussels, and has been in existence since 2007. In this statement made to Dutch website LuchtvaartNieuws.nl,  further picked up by the Business Traveller, Hogan said that Schipol would take over the routes…

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Indigo implements middle seat ‘privilege’ charges, rolls it back

Earlier in the month, when unbundling was notified by law for Indian airlines to be able to charge for services, I wrote a blog post which mentioned how I expected it would work out. One of the statements I made was: a) Preferential Seating: I am looking at you Indigo, and I am thinking, you will try to sell almost all window and aisle seats as preferential seats maybe. Because you’re so money minded. However, in my wildest dreams, I had not thought that imagination at Indigo would run so wild as to charging for assignment of a middle-seat on the plane as a preferred/privileged seat as well. In doing so, they were not charging for preferred seating, which was…

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Something New: ICICI/Amex Altitude Lounge Mumbai Terminal 1A

Introduction Check-in: ICICI/American Express Altitude Lounge Mumbai Terminal 1A Airborne: Flight AI 660 (BOM-DEL), Air India, Economy Class Check-in: ICICI/American Express Altitude Lounge Delhi Terminal 3 Airborne: Flight AI 657 (DEL-BOM), Air India, Executive Class I arrived at the Mumbai Airport in time for the flight, in spite of the fact that it was a working day and I had a late-afternoon flight. This involved arriving at office a couple of hours earlier than usual, and skipping lunch to make the one hour plus trip across town. On arrival at the airport, I proceeded to Terminal 1A, which is currently full of banks of empty counters and only has Air India occupying the terminal. Heck, even with that, they were…

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Jet Airways’ crediting 20% extra miles on 20th anniversary

Jet Airways has sent out emails to several members of the Jet Privilege program, where they are crediting 20% of the flown miles for the last 20 flights flown with Jet Airways/Jet Konnect between the period 05 May 1993 to 05 May 2013. The mileage credit is exclusive of cabin bonuses, tier bonuses or any other bonus, and has already been credited to some accounts, while some others have received the emails but not the bonus credited into their account. In case of my own family, I’ve received the credit into my account, while my mom has received the email but not the credit, and my brother and my dad have not even heard from Jet Airways. I intend to…

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Something New: Introduction

Introduction Check-in: ICICI/American Express Altitude Lounge Mumbai Terminal 1A Airborne: Flight AI 660 (BOM-DEL), Air India, Economy Class Check-in: ICICI/American Express Altitude Lounge Delhi Terminal 3 Airborne: Flight AI 657 (DEL-BOM), Air India, Executive Class One of these times in the past couple of months I was going to visit the family in Delhi, I thought of trying out something new, or rather different from my regular experiences in the past months which usually would be Jet Airways and the regular lounges which would include the Carnations Lounge at Mumbai Terminal 1C and the Plaza Premiere Lounge at Delhi Terminal 3. Since this trip was personal and I had to book up in advance, I decided to use a couple…

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Singapore Airlines Business Class: my best PremierMiles redemption till date

Not like I’ve been swarming in PremierMiles, but I’ve been able to make some good transfers over the past 18 or so months to get the best value out of my PremierMiles. And while I’d encourage you to participate in this poll where I am trying to figure out how do you guys use your miles, here is a flight I just stepped off which is perhaps my best redemption of PremierMiles till date. I spent the past week travelling to the other side of the globe for the Boarding Area Conference, and then, on the way back, got a flat tire, and also stopped by in NYC for a bit. On the way back to Mumbai, I wanted to…

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Is Club Carlson considering a program revamp?

Club Carlson, the membership loyalty program of the Club Carlson chain of hotels, seems to be dipping its toes in the water to see if it could make a switch from a membership points and free nights oriented program to a benefits oriented program. I recently received and completed a survey from Club Carlson, where they tested this concept and while they said this may or may not fly, they even had a name in place, calling it Members Club. Now, CC has been at the forefront of big lucrative promotions and giveaways for the past two years, inflating the number of enrolments in the program, and getting the eye of the road warrior and the leisure traveller alike, in…

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Poll: How do you use your India-minted miles?

Yesterday, I got involved in a Twitter debate on what is the worth of a mile earned in India, and I thought I’d put my views across on the blog to share with all of you and hear what do you have to say. This will be a series which will focus on valuing the key mileage currencies in India. For earning capabilities in India, there are 4 kind of miles one could earn and accumulate, using different ways. Here they are: Jet Privilege miles: Earn them by flying the airline or its partners, or credit card spends, or multiple program partners who are listed on the airline’s website. Air India miles: Earn them by flying Air India/Singapore Airlines/Lufthansa. Citibank…

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Streetside eating in NYC

Like some of you know, I trekked all the way from Mumbai to Colorado Springs (via AUH,JFK/LGA, DEN) to meet the Boarding Area set of bloggers and some other awesome bloggers for a weekend conference (sort of thing!) mixed with a tequila night and other fun stuff made possible by Randy Petersen and the House of Miles crew. While I’ll discuss that on the blog later, on the way out, I thought I’d build in a couple of days in the schedule to pop into New York and soak in the city (always a good idea!), apart from meeting friends I haven’t met in a while. I had a schedule mess, and I eventually arrived in NYC a full 12…

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