When it comes to loyalty programmes, there was only one programme in India that managed to crack the code of making people “loyal” and make them work in the direction the airline wanted them to work. That was JetPrivilege. Unfortunately, with the airline going bust, the business had to transform into an online travel agent and an affiliate marketplace.
However, during COVID-19, the management team of the company left and has been replaced with a figurehead management team, who is in a holding pattern while someone decides on the future of the company, which Etihad and Jet Airways co-own.
InterMiles shuts down all sorts of redemption options.
Over the weekend of October 28, InterMiles has quietly withdrawn all sorts of redemption options, allowing for the use of InterMiles/JPMiles towards travel.
Take, for instance, InterMiles redemption capabilities for flights. Earlier, InterMiles moved to a model where a flat 0.33-0.35 INR per mile redemption used to be available. Now, the only option you will see is to save up to 30% of the flight cost by redeeming an awfully high number of miles (compared to the previous paradigms) at 20 paise per mile.
Here is an international trip, for example.
Even the hotel options are gone.
For vouchers, you can only spend a few intermiles to get up to a 5% discount, not even a full redemption.
There has been no notice or formal communication from the programme beforehand that this would happen. And after two days of sitting on this, just as I was going to finalise this article, I saw a note on the website. There is no end date to this.
My chief issue with this is that no prior notice was given to customers that there would be a shutdown of miles redemptions. Even a bank sends out an SMS saying they would carry out some maintenance on their website before they do it.
And secondly, no one works on these changes directly on the live website. There is always a production environment where changes are tested and go live. So, did someone wake up and yank the wires because they thought people wouldn’t notice? For the lack of a better analogy, these points now sound like Cred Coins, which can be used for some scratch cards or discounts on shopping but don’t have any inherent value of their own because they cannot buy you anything useful. In both cases, the company does some business on the back of your “redemption” and earns some money.
InterMiles has blocked all sorts of redemption options on the website, instead making the ability to use your “Miles” correlated to buying flights or vouchers from the website itself. No notice was given to customers of this move, and the website announced this effect after two days of going live with the changes. I’m not very hopeful those options will return, but I’d love to be wrong on this one.
What do you think of this move from InterMiles?
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