Airmiles have influenced my spending habits over the last 20 years. The credit cards I’ve taken and the shops I buy from have led to one goal – more Airmiles and so more free flights. But it’s not free anymore…
I’ve collected Airmiles since the scheme’s early days and have some fond memories of cut-price flights I bought as a result. I never managed a completely free flight, but I did once get a flight to Ghana for almost nothing.
So, I’ll be sad to see the Airmiles name go when the scheme is revamped into Avios in November.
New name, new rules
However, it’s not just the name that’s waving goodbye. The new name brings new rules, which means the goal of a free flight will never be achievable.
From 16 November, passengers who redeem the points they have collected will pay taxes, fees and charges on their flights.
Under Airmiles, a short-haul flight to somewhere like Rome would have needed 1,500 miles. Under Avios, it will need 15,000 Avios points. A longhaul flight to Sydney would have needed 10,000 miles. Under the new scheme it will need 100,000 Avios points.
At first sight, it seems like it’ll be a much tougher job to collect enough points. However, when the scheme changes, Airmiles collectors will have their balances multiplied by ten to compensate. Is that enough when there will now be extra fees to pay?
Airmile changes aren’t popular
Airmiles argues the change was necessary because rising costs meant it had become untenable to offer completely free flights. It also says the switch brings it in line with other loyalty schemes.
However, the changes haven’t gone down well, with one Conversation reader emailing us:
‘If it ain’t broke why fix it? There will no longer be such a thing as a free flight. A slap in the face for customer loyalty! Well done Airmiles.’
What do you think of the changes? Will you keep on collecting? Or will the move to Avios see you saying “Adios Amigo” to the scheme?