Air Vistara has been doing a reveal of their features and route network in a layered fashion. You need to keep coming back for more.
Just today, they have unveiled a new look for the Club Vistara section of their website. While they did reveal the information about earning Club Vistara points in a very discrete fashion back in the day, and how elite tiers function, we also had an inkling on redemptions. I’ve managed to land the first look on the redemption charts.
Minimum redemptions start at 4000 Club Vistara points for an economy ticket on short haul routes. Medium haul routes such as about 2 hour of flying require 5000 Club Vistara points, and 2.5-3 hour long flying routes will require a minimum of 6000 points for redemption. Some routes such as Mumbai-Bengaluru and Delhi-Goa are not even mentioned in this chart.
On a data-point comparison basis, let’s compare some of these routes for how many flights will be required for one burn in Economy:
- Short haul like Delhi-Lucknow or Mumbai-Ahmedabad: Jet Airways and Air India will both give 500 points on these flights,along with a 500 point bonus if you book via their website/app. While, according to Vistara’s computation, they will award a minimum of 70 points for the flight, considering INR 1400 was the cheapest base fare I could find on their available dates right now. For BOM-GOI or BOM-AMD, Jet Airways charges 5000 points one-way in economy, so you could be looking at doing 1 free flight for every 5 paid flights. Even cheaper with Air India, 4.5 flights will get you a free flight on the same routes. With Vistara, you need to do at least 57 cheap flights to get a redemption on the same route. That is an eye-popping huge number, even for a value-based program.
- Medium Haul like Mumbai-Delhi or Delhi-Pune: Jet Airways will get you about 700 miles on these flights, along with a 500 mile bonus if you book via their website/app. Add in the elite bonuses. So, you get a minimum of 1200 miles per flight except for the G fare class on Jet Airways. According to Vistara, they will offer 125 CV points per flight, basis the minimum fare I see on their flights. So, you need to do 40 flights if you are value flyer to get a redemption on the same route. Again, this is vastly different as compared to Jet Airways’ 7 flights on the same route.
- Medium Haul like Delhi-Bengaluru: Jet Airways will get you 1000 miles for travelling the sector and a 500 mile bonus to book via their website or app. You get a minimum of 1500 miles per flight on most fare classes. According to Vistara, the cheapest base fare on this route is INR 4700, which means 235 CV points. So 25 flights to get one free segment on this route. With Jet Airways, which requires 12000 miles for a one-way redemption on the same route, you need 8 flights again.
Business Class 4x of Economy for redemptions?
This has to be a joke. Both the market leaders in the full-service space, i.e., Jet Airways and Air India have a simple chart, 2x for business class redemptions as compared to Economy. Vistara has a 4x multiplier. When they are making it so hard to earn Club Vistara points, they are basically keeping their Business Class seats out of reach for the frequent flyer. Having been an old hand at the game, I can tell you there are tonnes of people out there who I know who built their preferences for J class while flying back of the bus and redeeming for the front rows, and when the economy turned, they knew the product they wanted to fly in J and went with them.
Did Vistara just monetise 1 INR = 1 CV point for the pointy end of the plane? I don’t know. But seems like a good guess from my end.
Vistara’s value proposition will take off?
While Vistara’s intentions may be well meaning, they are basically coming across with this chart as stingy. If you’re a business flyer, we’ll be happy to give you a redemption, but otherwise you’re not welcome here. Even Singapore Airlines, one of their parent, became easy about giving SQ Suites to redemptions over a period of time, so I am hoping Vistara will relook their entire frequent flyer program right now rather than a few years later when they realise this is not something that offers any value for their customers.
So, all the best with Vistara finding traction with their frequent flyer program! No, seriously!
What are your views about the newest Loyalty program in town? I ain’t gonna mince words, I don’t like it much.