Vistara, which had just last month made a significant change to the Vistara Redemption chart, seems to have had a change of heart or thinking towards their Club Vistara members. Last month, when the new award chart went live, the following changes went through with the award chart effective September 1, 2019.
- Up to 500 Miles: All the short-haul redemptions up to 500 miles have been retained at the earlier published levels, which includes segments such as Mumbai – Goa and Delhi – Amritsar.
- 501 to 750 miles: The award chart continues to remain the same as earlier, except for Premium Economy, which earlier used to cost 6,000 CV points and will now cost 6500 CV Points. This impacts segments such as Mumbai – Delhi and Mumbai – Chennai.
- 751 miles to 900 miles: The redemptions for this zone start to pinch. Earlier, one would need 6,000 CV points to redeem for economy seats, which is going up to 7000 CV points, a 17% rise. Premium Economy is going up by 29% from 7000 points to 9000 CV points. The already high Business Class has been retained at 25,000 CV points. Routes such as Delhi – Hyderabad and Amritsar Mumbai will be affected by this higher change.
- 901 miles to 1200 miles: Some of India’s longest routes operated by Vistara will be in for a massive 50% change in number of points required. For instance, Delhi – Chennai which required only 7000 points in Premium Economy will now cost 10,500 CV points (50% more). In Economy, this zone would cost 6000 points but come September 1, will require 8000 points. The already high 25,000 CV points for J Class would now go up to 27,000 points. The only relief seems to come for Mumbai – Kolkata passengers who are actually getting a haircut to come into line with these prices.
- 1200 miles +: Vistara only operates one route of this stage length domestically. The Delhi – Kochi service will now require a whopping 12,000 points for Premium Economy and 30000 points for Business Class, which is a 71% jump for PE (7,000 points) and 20% jump for J (25000 points). Economy will cost 50% more, at 9,000 CV points going forward. As a by the way, this segment is being operated by an all-economy aircraft at the moment.
I put together the August vs September award chart here so that you could compare the segments of your choice. Here is a roundup of domestic sectors and how prices went up.
Earlier this month, however, Club Vistara changed the whole paradigm all over again, with immediate effect. The new award chart for 2020, as well as the upgrade chart, has some significant changes as compared to the September 2019 version.
Let’s start with the bad news. The airline seems to have decided to move the Premium Economy pricing in terms of CV Points required upwards, something that was left untouched the last time. The inflation in pricing for Premium Economy rewards is mostly between 8% to 30% on domestic routes, but on a couple of segments, it goes up by 93% (Delhi-Kochi, Delhi-Bengaluru, Delhi-Chennai and vice versa).
Now, the good news. On Business Class, where Vistara used to outprice their rewards compared to the product delivered, Vistara has taken a cut on their pricing of reward seats, some of which has been well established over the years. Vistara has, on most domestic routes, cut business class rewards by 20% to 30%. For instance, for the Mumbai – Goa J class flight, which required 15,000 points for Business Class, are now down to 12000 CV points.
The net impact is, the award chart now comes closer to the JetPrivilege award chart from back in the day as compared to the Air India Award chart. For instance, Mumbai – Delhi, for the longest time in Business Class used to be 20K CV Points, which is now cut to 18K CV points one way. On the other hand, Premium Economy, which used to be 6K CV Points on the same sector, has gone up to 8.5K CV Points, bringing it in line with the earlier JPMiles for Economy. Of course, this observation will vary on the number of miles you have, and your sectors you seek redemption, so this is just my view.
New Vistara Redemption Chart effective October 4, 2019
- Up to 250 Miles: All the short-haul redemptions up to 250 miles have been retained at the earlier published levels for Economy and Premium Economy, which includes segments such as Jammu-Srinagar and Delhi-Chandigarh. Business Class gets a 20% haircut, and now you can fly J for 6,000 Miles rather than 7,500 miles earlier.
- 251 to 500 miles: All the short-haul redemptions between 251-500 miles have the same pricing as earlier for Economy class, but Premium Economy starts to get expensive here, a whole 30% expensive as compared to earlier levels (earlier costed 5,000 CV Points and now 6,500 Points). Business Class, however, retakes a haircut of 20%, from 15,000 CV points to 12,000 CV points. The segments on this band would include Delhi-Amritsar and Mumbai-Goa.
- 501 to 700 miles: Vistara’s banding was earlier between 501 to 750 miles distance which has now changed to limit between 501 to 700 miles. There was no published band as such, so they could change wherever they want. In this band, economy class redemptions are going to move down from 5,000 CV points per seat to 4,500 CV points per seat. But Premium Economy goes up 17% as compared to August levels, moving from 6,000 CV points required then to 7,000 now (in the September iteration it moved from 6K to 6.5K and then to 7K CV points). Segments on this route would include those such as Chennai-Mumbai and Mumbai-Bengaluru.
- 701 miles to 905 miles: The redemptions for this zone are a mixed bag. Again, I would assume the 750 miles range from the previous band made it to 700 miles here to ensure that routes such as BOM-DEL would come in here rather than the earlier group above. On this band, there is a considerable discount now being offered on Economy and Business Class compared to August levels, and also a cut on PEY compared to the September levels. For instance, BOM-DEL was 5K/6K/20K for Y/PEY/J through August 2019. Now, it costs 5K/8.5K/18K. On routes such as Delhi-Kolkata or Kolkata-PortBlair, earlier costing 6K/7K/25K (Aug 2019), now they cost 5K/8.5K/18K as well, which means that Economy and Business is cheaper. PEY was taken up to 9K in Sep 2019, and now a small discount to take it down to 8.5K. However, Mumbai-Delhi which gets clubbed here, and the most crucial Indian route, sees another inflation sneaking in PEY 6K->6.5K->8.5K now.
- 906 miles to 1200 miles: Some of India’s longest routes operated by Vistara were already subjected to changes upwards the last time around. More is coming. Delhi/Goa sees a cut on pricing now, from 6K/7K/25K in August 2019 it is now 6K/10K/23K after being at 8K/10.5K/27K for a while. Kolkata-Mumbai sees an overall discounting now getting to 8K/10.5K/27K from earlier 9K/12K/30K in August 2019. But don’t get too happy just yet. Some of the other major routes (Delhi-Bengaluru and Delhi-Chennai) are going to be very expensive redemptions now as compared to just a couple of months ago. 6K/7K/25K is now 7.5K/13.5K/28K. Like you can see, PEY is 93% more costly as compared to only two months ago now. Also, Delhi – Kochi is clubbed here now. As a by the way, this segment is being operated by an all-economy aircraft at the moment.
The international routes of Vistara don’t see any inflation as of now, but discounts yes.
- Mumbai-Dubai & v/v: Started at 20K/30K/60K one way in August 2019, and now costs 16K/27K/52K in October 2019.
- Delhi-Bangkok/Singapore & v/v: These routes started at 25K/40K/100K for Y/PEY/J redemptions, and now just cost 22K/40K/75K one-way. Mumbai-Singapore is included at the same redemption levels as well. Like you can see, Economy and Business are discounted now, but PEY remains at the same level.
If you would like to further see every route, here is the Award Chart which captures the August/September/October 2019 rates all in one place. Here is a snapshot of how the charts have moved. Click on the image if you can’t see it all in one place.
Like with redemptions, even the upgrade chart has changed, and I will write about it separately.
While these charts are mostly reasonable and are going in one direction (affordable Economy, aspirational Premium Economy), what bothers me is the lack of notice in implementing this chart. The last time Vistara was updating charts, they gave us a month or so notice, but no notice rolled out this time on the table. I don’t see that as a good precedent, and it is always a good idea to tell the members about the changes via an advance communication, whether good or bad.
What do you make of the revisions to Club Vistara Redemption Chart?
I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
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