Tonnes of changes coming to Air India Flying Returns

One of the best and worst frequent flyer programs in India at the same time is Air India’s Flying Returns. Why bad? Because it is a pretty miserly program I would say again and again. Why good? Because they’ve got a credit card on the market which makes it easy to earn their miles and status, and they are a member of Star Alliance, so their status comes handy across the globe.

Having said that, I received a new membership kit yesterday, which had a Golden Edge membership card valid till April 2015 (my status matched membership expired in March 2015 actually). As per the postmarks, the kit was dispatched in April 2015, and I am already an Air India Silver member at this point of time.

There was also a long letter which brought across some interesting points, including an emphasis that one can avail of Air India’s Flying Returns program on an enhanced buffet of airline partners. I chuckled reading that part, and there is also some insight about how the Air India Flying Returns program is going to be revamped in the coming days:

  • A minimum of 500 miles for shorter flights
  • Enabling earning for children between the age of 2 and 12 years
  • Family Pooling

But the big one, which should really make this a rule-based program and easier to achieve status with, was the part where they will introduce a tier-points mechanism to track segment and class of travel. To get to the Maharajah Club, all you need to do, is to get 120 tier points.

All of the above are not changes that have been executed in the program right now, and will be rolled out over a period of time. However, I am not sure how long it would take to get these rolled out, and I won’t hold my breath if it would be another 6 months or more.

How do you feel about the changes to the Flying Returns program? Would this make it an interesting program for all of you?

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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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  1. The have to do something about the point redemption on Star Alliance partners. Imagine physically visiting their booking office in this day and age. This cannot be done through their booking counters at the airport either. Also the fuel surcharge on International flights is way too high.

  2. Hi Rajat,
    Well my approach was to get the AI SBI Visa Signature card and spend 10L in a cpl of months (within one year). Also if you have gold tier with any leading airline (they have a list on their website), they may match it and you can be fastracked to a Gold Tier membership without spending much on the card itself.

  3. @AJ @Kapil @Ritwik Hi both, i am also silver member of Air india can you guide what are the other ways of becoming gold member apart from taking Flight.

  4. Rithwik, same story here. Attained silver in Sept. and never got the kit. Attained Gold this month and on asking about the gold kit was told the silver one was mailed end of March.

  5. Dear Ajay,

    I frequent Air India quite a bit from Goa to Mumbai and back. All that I earn is approx 68 miles per leg. Am I missing something here or their mileage is actually so pathetic??



  6. Even I just received my Silver Kit(which was supposed to be sent in September last year), and it included the upgrade voucher as well…. Though I’m in the Gold Tier now, still waiting for the gold kit.

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