All About Frequent Flyer Programs

By Sanesh Mathew | September 26, 2018

Pay heed, all ye frequent travellers. Enroll for a frequent flyer program if you want to benefit from your frequent trips. Read on to know more.

All About Frequent Flyer Programs

Although it has become way cheaper today than it was a few years back, air travel isn’t a cheap affair. However, a few airlines have come up with loyalty programs that provide many perks and benefits to their regular customers.

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If you’re a frequent traveller, you must be aware of frequent flyer programs. If you aren’t aware, no worries! We’ll tell you all about it.

What is it?

The frequent flyer program is basically a promotional loyalty-based rewards scheme that’s offered by airlines to win customer loyalty and retain them. If you’ve enrolled in this program, you’ll be able to accumulate reward points (or miles) each time you fly with that particular airline. These accumulated points can then be redeemed for free/discounted flight tickets or ticket upgrades, priority check-in, excess baggage allowance, seat upgrades, elite lounge access or any other rewards.

Additional Reading: Travel Budgeting 101

Frequent Flyer Programs in India

As of now, there are only three airlines that offer this program.

Air India – Flying Returns

Probably the oldest kid on the block, Air India’s Flying Returns program offers a host of benefits to those flying Air India or any Star Alliance partner airlines. One of the biggest perks offered by this program is the distance-based domestic awards which allow you to accumulate a lot of miles or reward points for short-haul flights. You can use these miles/points to upgrade your economy-class tickets to business-class tickets. So, if you travel a lot within the country with Air India, you can sign up for this program.

Jet Airways – Jet Privilege

This is probably the most popular and successful frequent flyer program offered in India. This program offers in numerous ways to accrue miles/points with its partnerships across industries – co-branded Credit Cards, partner hotels and restaurants, and more. This Jet Airways loyalty program lets you enjoy benefits and privileges based on the membership tier you belong to. Also, enjoy advantages such as luggage limit extension, dedicated check-in counters, priority boarding and more.

Air Vistara – Club Vistara

The new kid on the block! Since this program is relatively new in the market, it doesn’t have a great network of partnerships yet. However, Club Vistara gets full points for its great customer service and high reward point offering. Plus, it is also easy to move up the membership tier ladder too, especially if you’re a frequent traveller.

Additional Reading: 10 Hacks To Become A Money-Wise Traveller

Should you enroll for Frequent Flyer Programs?

If you’re a frequent traveller who’s completely loyal to a particular airline and they offer the program, then we’d suggest that you blindly enroll. On that note, we’d also recommend that you get a Travel Credit Card to complement your Frequent Flyer Program membership. With a Travel Credit Card, you’ll get a great many other benefits too, such as complimentary lounge access, free travel insurance, discounts and rewards on spends other than travel using your card, etc.

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Take a look at these popular Travel Credit Cards:

Jet Airways IndusInd Bank Voyage Visa Card

Card Features

  • Up to 6 points on every Rs. 100 spent on Jet Airways
  • Up to 3 points on every Rs. 100 on all other spends
  • 5% discount on base fare for domestic and international revenue tickets booked via Jet Airways website or JetKonnect website
  • Complimentary Priority Pass with access to 600+ lounges across the world
  • Exclusive benefits with Jet Airways
  • Complimentary travel insurance, including lost baggage protection, of Rs. 1 lakh
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver at all petrol pumps in India
  • 20% off on restaurants
  • Complimentary golf games and lessons

Annual Fee – Rs. 2,000, applicable from the 2nd year only

HDFC Bank Regalia Card

Card Features

  • Complimentary Club Vistara (CV) Silver membership – 5 kg extra baggage allowance, priority check-in and waitlist clearance, 9 CV points on Rs. 100 spent on Vistara airlines
  • Up to 15% discount at premium restaurants in India
  • 6 complimentary international lounge visits per year through Priority Pass
  • 2 complimentary domestic lounge visits per quarter through Visa/Mastercard programme
  • Air accidental death coverage of Rs. 1 Crore
  • Emergency overseas hospitalisation cover of Rs. 15 lakhs
  • Travel concierge services
  • 4 points on every Rs. 150 spent

Annual Fee – Rs. 2,500. Conditional fee waiver available

Jet Airways ICICI Bank Coral American Express Credit Card

Card Features

  • 3 JPMiles on every Rs. 100 on domestic and international spends
  • 6 JPMiles on every Rs. 100 spent on the Jet Airways website
  • 8 complimentary lounge access per calendar year
  • 1+1 offer on BookMyShow through the week
  • Minimum 15% savings on dining bills
  • 1,250 JPMiles on the renewal of the card
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver on fuel transactions at all HPCL pumps

Annual Fee – Rs. 1,250, waived for Jet Privilege Platinum members

Air India SBI Platinum Card

Card Features

  • Complimentary Air India Flying Returns membership
  • 15 reward points on every Rs. 100 spent on Air India tickets
  • 2 reward points on every Rs. 100 on all other spends
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Program providing luxury lounge access to over 600 international airport lounges
  • Complimentary Visa lounge access
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver across all petrol pumps

Annual Fee – Rs. 1,499

Axis Bank Vistara Credit Card

Card Features

  • 15% discount at restaurants across India through the Dining delights program
  • Air insurance cover up to Rs. 2.55 crores
  • 2 reward points on every Rs. 200 on eligible spends
  • 1,000 Club Vistara points and a base fare waived economy ticket as card activation benefit

Annual Fee – Rs. 1,500

Additional Reading: 5 Popular Travel Credit Cards Of 2018

Want to check out more Travel Credit Cards before you make up your mind? Click the link below.

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Category: Credit Cards Travel UCN

About Sanesh Mathew

A talkative sleepyhead, Sanesh, enjoys watching horror movies, listening to music, reading all things related to personal finance and wandering aimlessly (walking meditation, he calls it!). He refers to himself as a 'simple human being with a rather chaotic mind'.

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