Bringing down the curtains of more than 25 years of flying, Jet Airways on Wednesday evening decided to suspend operations after lenders decided not to extend emergency funds.
Under the circumstances, one bunch of people who have been eagerly watching the proceedings as they go on have been the members of the frequent flyer programme, JetPrivilege. With over 90 lakh members, JetPrivilege is the largest frequent flyer programme that exists in India, by a huge margin.
Members, at the time of enrolment to the programme, were promised the opportunity to redeem their JPMiles for a free flight. At this point of time, hardly any domestic flights exist on the JetPrivilege network, and the flight schedule is unreliable as well. But will it always be the case, we don’t know.
Over the years, Jet Privilege has been adding options to earn and redeem JPMiles from a variety of different type of options, and members have thronged these options, worried about their JPMiles not being honoured in case something happened to the airline. This fear stems from the fact that people lost, sometimes lakhs of miles when Kingfisher airlines shut down.
Let me offer you a slightly different perspective. JetPrivilege was spun off from Jet Airways in 2013, and since then has been operating as a different company, JetPrivilege Private Limited. This company is owned 50.1 percent by Etihad and 49.9 percent owned by Jet Airways. This company now is responsible for running the marketing programme known as JetPrivilege, and hence, acts as a custodian of all the JPMiles ever issued or redeemed. For the financial year ended March 2018, JetPrivilege Pvt. Ltd made an income of Rs 622 crores and a profit of Rs 177 crore, as per the last available Jet Airways financial statements.
So, given the profits and the revenue, it is less likely that your JPMiles will be worthless if the airline goes under, although there are plans to sell the airline in the coming months to a new owner. Besides, the marketing profile of 9 million people is nothing that will go untouched in today’s competitive marketplace.
But circling back to the perspective of free flights, there are still a few ways to redeem your miles which you may find interesting.
For instance, to fly from Delhi to New York, where Jet Airways does not operate a flight anymore, you can fly from Delhi to London on Virgin Atlantic, and from there to the East Coast on Delta or Virgin Atlantic. On the other hand, if you wanted to, for instance, buy a ticket between New York and San Francisco, you could even do that with your JPMiles using this option. These tickets are capacity controlled, and take up to 14 days to redeem, so you would need to be patient to book and use these tickets. Check details here: https://www.jetprivilege.com/use-jpmiles/partner-award-flights-form
For the rest, the option to redeem your JPMiles for fuel, movies and gift cards will always remain open, so if you wanted to redeem for those options, you can always do that even in a few months or down the road.
First Published: IST