JPMiles have been the primary mileage currency for most people starting out with miles and points in India. Given they belong to one of India’s oldest and most visible airline mileage programme, JetPrivilege, it is understandable that over 9.5 million people in India hold JPMiles. I’ve been a fan of JPMiles and I still have a lot of these on my person, and in my family.
Back in the day, when these miles were usable on Jet Airways, I used to find a lot of use cases for these miles. Business Class flights, last minute weekend trips, a fantastic partner network, all sorts of things. In fact, my last redemption for my JPMiles was for my brother, who is a professional photographer, and had a last minute shoot assignment come up in a different city, when the ticket costs were extremely high. So, one business class ticket on Jet Airways coming up for him. In all these cases, I was at least able to get an INR 1 value from my JPMiles.
Looking at the situation at Jet Airways, where routes were being progressively cut back, before the grounding, many people started to redeem their miles for Amazon vouchers. While they had all accumulated miles for, either a family holiday somewhere, or for upgrading on their gruelling business schedules, or so on, they were happy getting a low INR 0.20 paise value on the JPmiles.
To make sure their key proposition of offering flights stayed, JetPrivilege started a new flight booking engine, which allowed you to redeem for any revenue flight on many carriers using your JPMiles, just about 2 months ago. I covered the launch of the portal, but at that point, it was still up and coming, so I did not do a deep dive on the engine.
For one, I think it is a move in the right direction to keep customers engaged even with the Jet in JetPrivilege being in coma right now. Some other Etihad owned properties did not have the same fate, for instance Air Berlin’s frequent flyer programme, where the miles turned worthless overnight. With the grounding of Jet Airways and the partner network going away, apart from Etihad Airways, hence the flights.jetprivilege.com offering is the only way to get flights to most places using JPMiles.
I kept an eye for a while on how this thing worked. JetPrivilege has basically tried to capture the same logic and implement the same award chart it used to offer customers when Jet Airways was around, but to capture it in a world where their preferential partner/equity owner was not around and they had to go out and buy “revenue” tickets for redemption of miles, meant they had to tweak their algorithms.
For domestic flights, that means they do still offer some inventory on the older award charts. For instance, you can still capture a Mumbai – Delhi for 8500 JPMiles and then some cash, but, on SpiceJet or Air India this time around. However, best of luck finding last minute tickets at the old award band.
Also, this only works for economy class flights, not for Business Class, and of course not for First Class. In fact, First Class is not even an option.
JetPrivilege’s tweak of the logic, basically force fits flights into various bands, basis their fares. In this case, the maximum value one JPMile is allowed to get you, is INR 0.40. On the minimum side, it could go down all the way to INR 0.17, or perhaps even lower. Here are some datapoints I captured over the week to come to this conclusion, including a few business class flights as well.
On the international side, again, the logic remains the same. JetPrivilege is trying to offer you flights per the old chart, but only if they are able to find a cheap flight which fits their algorithm. For instance, for Delhi to Amsterdam, you can still get an economy class seat for 42,500 JPMiles one way. However, you would have to break journey. For instance, I could find seats on Alitalia. On roundtrips, I could find flights on LOT Polish. All have a break journey, and there because they fit the logic of being cheap tickets.
The minute you need a direct ticket, you see the prices shoot up 3x or so, and even in that case, you don’t get all direct flights. Have a look below.
As usual, here are the datapoints I captured. Not as many, but for diverse sectors and trying to see if it works with the old rationale of Jet’s award charts. You, of course will see some absolutely jaw dropping redemptions for 600K JPMiles also.
There were more examples I checked out, but it all boiled down to the same numbers, swinging between INR 0.2 and INR 0.4.
Unfortunately, as much as I tried, I did not find anything that went beyond this INR 0.4 per JPMile number. What JetPrivilege really could have done with would have been a better valuation of JPMiles, and perhaps assign a number to each mile, rather than fit it with their award chart. For example, just like PremierMiles is INR 0.45 per PremierMile, they could go for an INR 2,500 ticket, to be put out in a multiple, rather than fitting one of their slots.
Eventually, I hope this option is a holding pattern, and not the future of the programme. Because I just don’t see JetPrivilege being able to sell JPMiles at INR 1.25 + GST, and then people redeeming them for less than 15% of that value in the long run. So, I really hope JetPrivilege comes up with something more imaginative and is able to get out and ahead of the issues, which largely are not of their own making for the moment.
What has been your experience redeeming JPMiles on flights.jetprivilege.com? Have you spotted any good deals yet?