Jet Airways hung its last boot in April 2019. Since then JetPrivilege has been without any airline that it can be part of.
Jetprivilege started as a loyalty program for Jet Airways customers and for the most part, it remained predominantly just that. In 2012, Etihad bought a 51% stake in the program. However, after Jet Airways’ demise, the program went under massive massacre in terms of value. People ran to use the miles that they have been accumulating for years.
InterMiles – the relatively new beginning
JetPrivilege survived despite of knell to Jet Airways with help of Etihad Airways. However, Etihad refused to roll up the program completely under its sleeves. Etihad could have easily maintained the value of Jet Privilege by offering conversion of JPMiles to Etihad Guest miles the way Marriott allowed SPG guests to do after their merger.
This would have allowed Etihad to gain some value of the loyalty program.
However, without any parent airline to attach itself to, the company decided to rebrand itself as Intermiles. What does that mean for a regular customer?
What is InterMiles now?
Intermiles is trying to function as an Online Lifestyle Loyalty Program. For simple terms, it is like a PayBack or any credit card reward program that operates as an online currency.
Intermiles has associated with the various platforms as 3rd party vendors and allows you to earn Miles on them. As the name, InterMiles suggests the interchangeable nature of the rewards currency where it can be earned and redeemed across platforms including airlines, hotels, dine, shop, fuel, among others, which is the first and fundamental essential shift from being the loyalty program of Jet Airways to being a stand-alone loyalty program.
Flipkart and Amazon for Shopping
DineOut for Dining at Restaurants
EaseMyTrip for Flight Booking
Booking.com for Hotel booking
and so on.
What are the new benefits?
Complimentary Lounge Access will be provided four times a year to Platinum Members and two times a year to Gold Members. You need to book your flight with intermiles.com to avail the benefit. The list of lounges is expansive but only available inside India. You can book lounges at the origin airport as well as transit airport (if the transit is over 90 minutes), but not at the destination airport.
Complimentary Seat Select benefit offers a wavier on seat select charge when booking either a Revenue Flight or an Award flight on www.intermiles.com. On attainment of a tier, Members will be issued with benefit credits as per their tier entitlement (1 For Red/Silver, 2 for Gold, 4 for Platinum). Members need to be logged-in into their InterMiles Account to utilize this benefit while booking their flights, and can’t use them later. The benefit can be utilized by the Member for any passenger (self or any other passenger not necessarily an InterMiles Member). Each credit of this benefit can be utilized only for flights within India and on a per passenger per segment basis. This benefit must be utilized on bookings with travel date within the validity of the benefit.
Complimentary Meals on Flights: This benefit waives meal charges when booking either a Revenue Flight or an Award flight on www.intermiles.com. On attainment of a tier, members will be issued with benefit credits as per their tier entitlement (1 For Silver, 2 for Gold, 4 for Platinum). Again, members need to be logged-in into their InterMiles Account to utilize this benefit while booking their flights only. The benefit can be utilized by the Member for any passenger (self or any other passenger not necessarily an InterMiles Member). Each credit of this benefit can be utilized only for flights within India and on a per passenger per segment basis. This benefit must be utilized on bookings with travel dates within the validity of the benefit.
Elite Tier Bonus InterMiles will be earned on Etihad flights and Revenue Flights, Hotel stays, Shopping, restaurant table reservations and tours and activities booked through www.intermiles.com. Platinum Tier members will earn 75%, Gold 50% and Silver 25% of the base miles earned. Earlier, activities such as hotel stays and table reservations and so on only earned miles to spend, and not tier miles.
50% Cancellation waiver on Award Flights: This benefit is only extended to Platinum Members. It allows you to get 50% of your miles back when you cancel an award flight four times in one membership period. To avail the benefit, you need to cancel at least 72 hours before departure. This benefit can only be used on non-refundable award flights. However, the convenience fee will not be refunded to the Member on the utilization of this benefit.
Discount on Excess Baggage: This is an optional benefit, and the member has to choose to get this benefit into their account if they want it. Available to Gold and Platinum members. Depending on the airline, Gold members will get one upfront discount/waiver of INR 375 on excess baggage, and Platinum members will get two vouchers of INR 750 for excess baggage.
Complimentary Fuel: Again, an optional benefit, which needs to opt-in. Gold Members get 2,000 InterMiles on opt-in, and Platinum members get 5,000 InterMiles on opt-in, which they can use only towards fuel redemption at IOCL petrol pumps. Essentially, one could get free fuel worth up to INR 1,250 with this benefit.
Discount on Hotel Booking: A third optional benefit, which allows you to get a discount on a hotel stay if you were to opt-in. Gold members will get an INR 1,000 discount on INR 8,000 hotel stay (or over), and Platinum members will get an INR 2,000 discount on INR 12,000 hotel stay(or over).
What hasn’t changed?
Etihad Airways benefits continue to be offered to Silver/Gold/Platinum members.
InterMiles: New Tiers, Benefits & Qualification Criteria
- Red: Earn 10,000/13,000 Qualifying InterMiles in 12 Months/18 Months
- Silver: Earn 15,000/20,000 Qualifying InterMiles in 12 Months/18 Months
- Gold: Earn 40,000/55,000 Qualifying InterMiles in 12 Months/18 Months
- Platinum: Earn 80,000/110,000 Qualifying InterMiles in 12 Months/18 Months
Should I or Should I not work for my tiers?
I would absolutely deny anyone who needs to try to maintain those tiers. I can actually put price to all the features and they don’t measure upto the levels of spend required. Hence, there would be no miles/tier run like days of Jet Airways. It is just not worth it.
The only benefit I see to the entire program is DOUBLE DIP.
You can earn Miles for 2 separate programs at the same time. You can earn miles with Air India or Lufthansa as well as InterMiles. Hence the double benefit.
Usually if you are not part of a loyalty program or airline that you are booking doesn’t have a loyalty program such as Indigo or Air Arabia, you do get some benefits. Mostly on domestic flights only. There are no benefits on international carriers such as Pegasus or Air Arabia.
Usually the problem with International Airlines is the pricing issue. Those tickets are usually priced higher than available on other websites. So mostly you negate the value of the miles you earn from the deal.
What can I do about Miles?
Earlier JPMiles had a good value about Rs.1 per mile and sometimes I could easily land sweet spots of Rs 2 per mile in redemption especially on flights to Paris or Amsterdam.
Currently most of the value of Intermiles Mile is Rs 0.17 to 0.38. If you are getting a better deal – you are in zenith. The best case use is towards airlines. However, you can easily lose miles for amazon vouchers or buying gifts on Intermiles stores for less than 8p value which is rather waste of your time and resources.
Even with Etihad Airways which remains only International airline – the award space is still not visible as you would on Etihad’s native website. Plus Etihad charges huge surcharge on tickets to Europe. Hence, those considerably free tickets aren’t free at all but can easily cost up to economy class ticket on other carriers easily. Sometimes even higher.
It is further rumored that Etihad chart has undergone devaluation with Intermiles. Hence it would cost more miles to get those same tickets that were to be had at cheaper ratio. However, I do hope that in future Intermiles keeps coming out with promotions where you can get discounted miles ticket on Etihad in summers.
I was able to snag Business class from London to Mumbai for 70k miles. However amount of spends required to achieve 70k miles is a topic for another day.
For now, I find InterMIles benefits to be negligible as it is competing directly with websites like MakeMyTrip or Yatra who are providing direct cashback and direct cash discounts on the trip vs miles on it. You don’t have to actualize your benefits on the long term. However, they expire quickly. I believe Intermiles won’t really expire.
There are really no benefits to participate in a program that requires a high spend to get benefits that you can directly get from Indigo or SpiceJet at a much cheaper price. Those benefits if they were applicable to International carriers like Pegasus or Air Arabia or other low costs or European carriers – they might even have had some value.
Until I see a killer value out of something, I am really not participating. I have started to cancel all the credit cards that required me to pay money while cards that were free for Platinum members remain in my pocket until I have to pay fees for them. Mostly I wouldn’t really swipe those cards until I see an excellent promotion like recent 5x American Spend promotion or value-less purchases on Amazon/Flipkart that can add good value. You don’t get Prime benefits if you buy from the Intermiles website hence I usually avoid buying on it.