Vistara, back in the days of CoVid-19 induced lockdown for them, had taken some steps for their loyalty programme members. If your vouchers were expiring from March 25, 2020, onwards, Vistara promised to reissue one-class upgrade vouchers and complimentary tickets issued to customers (co-branded cardholders, status members and so on), valid for four months after they begin operations. Similarly, for expiring CV points, you would get points valid for four months after Vistara starts operations again. One-Class Upgrade vouchers issued as a promotion won’t be renewed.
Vistara re-started operations on May 25, 2020, just like the rest of the domestic airlines. So, per their promise, they have added points and vouchers back to the accounts. I checked mine today, and the points and a voucher was credited again.
However, if you notice, and as I’d argued earlier, this policy is flawed, because, as you can see, the points expiry has not been postponed, rather just an arbitrary deadline imposed. So, while my 700ish points are accredited on May 28, but the day after, I have some sporadic points expire. Shipra will have 5,000 points come up for expiry in a week.
This is not even a time where anyone who does not need to get on a plane would like to get on one, especially with the fact that the schedules out of Mumbai are in flux in the past ten days of operation and there are hardly any flights out of Mumbai for the moment. For instance,
- Two flights from Mumbai to Delhi
- 1 flight from Mumbai to Kolkata
So while other airlines have postponed points expiry by a sizeable period, no such luck here so far.
The third part, which is the most unfortunate, is how status will be assessed going forward. Everyone knows that Vistara will be moving to a new assessment system for status come January 1, 2021. They had postponed status assessment for everyone whose status was going to change between March 18 to September 30, 2020. Mine was going to be assessed in August 2020, and now the date shows October 1, 2020.
However, my flight count has changed between the April and May 2020 update, which means that when it will come to October, my flight count between October 2, 2019, and October 1, 2020, will be used. There will be a big gap of 3 months+ during the year without any flights taken with Vistara (my last revenue flight with them was on March 6, 2020).
I am not sure if we will be sprung a surprise, but as Vistara’s most loyal frequent fliers, perhaps the airline needs to rally the tribe together to ensure we keep coming back after things become safe, and if we would be kept guessing, unfortunately, people will start looking at other options and booking away. Once that starts, it becomes hard to defend the loyalty fortress because people have already bolted.
Airlines around the world have taken measures to retain their frequent fliers. Many have extended status by a full year, writing off this year as a whole. Some have even undone their next moves, such as Lufthansa, because of the turn of events for this year. In this case, I don’t find it valid that frequent fliers of Vistara are going to be kept guessing about how things will proceed in the times ahead.
What do you make of the moves at Club Vistara, and how do you think you will react to this situation?
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