Air NZ airpoint changes

Stuff reports:

has revamped its Airpoints loyalty scheme making it more attractive for shorter flights, while also adding an exclusive by-invitation-only membership tier for its highest spending passengers.

Air New Zealand’s head of customer loyalty Mark Street said many fares will earn higher points, particularly on short routes. But fewer points will be earned on some cheaper fares.

“But overall we expect Airpoints members to earn several million more Airpoints Dollars each year,” Street said.

I’m suspicious. Almost without exception in the past, any changes to their airpoints scheme has resulted in frequent flyers getting done over and losing value.

It will be nice if this is not the case this time, but I remain suspicious until we see exact details.

There’s also good news for members of the renamed Elite membership tier (previously Gold Elite) who will receive an additional complimentary upgrade each membership year for use specifically on short haul routes across the Tasman and to the Pacific Islands.

This is in addition to the existing two free ”recognition upgrades” redeemable across the whole Air New Zealand international network.

Now that is useful, and welcome. Probably makes commercial sense for Air NZ also as they probably get very few people using upgrades on the shorter routes, so giving some complimentary ones away to elite flyers probably is almost no revenue cost – but some extra good will.

The airline’s top spending passengers will be invited to receive an exclusive Elite Priority One annual membership which will come with additional benefits to be revealed in the New Year.

The programme update follows a nine month review and a marketing push by rival Qantas in New Zealand, using a replica Mars Rover to entice travellers to join its Frequent Flyer programme.

This might explain the changes, and why perhaps this time they are actually beneficial to frequent flyers. Competition is good.

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