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Air Malta 25% off – book by 30/12/12, travel by 30/4/13

Air Malta has just announced a week-long 25% discount on its flights from Malta (its “gift to you” this Christmas).

Full details are here, but to summarise:

– Air Malta are offering 25% off flights booked between NOW and 11:59pm (Malta time) on 30 December 2012.

– Travelling dates must be between 7 January 2013 and 30 April 2013 (inclusive).

– Discounts will be displayed in the price quoted when you book online.

For those not flying from Malta initially (e.g. people taking a return to Malta from Heathrow),  the good news is that provided your return journey from Malta is within the qualifying period, this element of your booking will get the discount.

So, all in all, a very credible offer from Air Malta, if only for a very limited period. Get booking, and don’t forget your Flypass card!

Happy Christmas to all Maltapoints readers.

Air Malta relaunching Flypass – initial indications

It has now been confirmed that Air Malta will be relaunching Flypass. From this website’s perspective, this is extremely welcome news.

Air Malta’s press release on the subject was somewhat vague, and interestingly not even picked up on by the Times of Malta (yet). That suggests to me that while Air Malta wanted to get this news out there, they did not wish to do so with much of a fanfare (probably because details of it, and the likely timescales, still remain extremely uncertain).

Rest assured that when the scheme comes into place, there will be much more publicity. Publicity that will be fully reported and analysed by maltapoints.com.

For now, I set out below the initial indications, and my initial thoughts, coming from the announcement.

Timing

The new loyalty scheme is “earmarked to be launched” in summer 2013. Given Air Malta’s current million-and-one priorities, I imagine this is very much a pencilled-in target date. I would regard it as a result if the new Flypass launches before the end of 2013.

A new name?

Air Malta’s press release headline is “Air Malta to Launch New Customer Loyalty Programme During 2013”. It is interesting to see that it then talks about a “complete overhaul of the Flypass frequent flyer programme”.  In light of this, my reading is that the Flypass name may well disappear. In particular, if Air Malta officially joins another “frequent flyer alliance”, such as Miles & More, the name will of course have to change.

Joining Lufthansa’s Miles & More?

Air Malta is already very well connected to, if not an official member of, Miles & More, the excellent Lufthansa frequent flyer scheme. This has previously been commented on. As such, it would not surprise me in the least if Air Malta integrated their frequent flyer scheme into the Miles & More network (currently featuring Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines,  Swiss International, Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines, Luxair, Brussels Airlines and Germanwings).

The benefits of this would be substantial: Air Malta frequent fliers would have a substantial range of airlines to spend their points on, while they would also have access to Miles & More’s first rate frequent flyer scheme, featuring top grade technology, special offers, regular news and all the other features of a high quality frequent flyer scheme.

Joining Star Alliance?

I suppose it is a case of “one step at a time”, but a possible addition to the Miles & More membership (or a result of a more sophisticated, revamped Flypass) may well be entry into Star Alliance, and access to the global network that this would bring to Air Malta frequent fliers.

Easier booking of rewards

Whether Flypass integrates into Miles & More or not, you can rest assured that a key feature of the new scheme will be easier booking of rewards. In particular, it would be an enormous disappointment if a revised scheme did not have an online booking feature, so that Air Malta frequent fliers were easily able to review options, and book flights and upgrades using their miles.

A refreshed, dedicated frequent flyer website

Tying in to the above, it is certain that Air Malta will offer better all-round web presence for its frequent flyer scheme. In addition to better functionality for booking reward (as noted above), basic requirements here include clearer explanations of the benefits and points earning opportunities, up-to-date news, and a far more sophisticated log-in and statement process. There are a number of areas here where Flypass can improve, and in light of the clear improvements to the Air Malta website generally, this is likely to be a major focus.

New, improved benefits and special offers

Again, even outside of Miles & More, a new Air Malta frequent flyer scheme should feature a clearer and wider range of benefits (in addition to flights and upgrades), and more places to earn points (a wider range of restaurants and hotels, perhaps).

In addition, the lack of any real special offers from Flypass appears to be largely a result of Air Malta’s slight embarrassment at the scheme (the last time I remember entering a Flypass promotion, it was to earn 100 free points when I bought some Cisk lager!). When Air Malta has a scheme it’s proud of (and I have faith in Peter Davies to deliver on this), it is likely to be much more actively involved in promoting the scheme via bonus point offers.

Decent offers on purchasing KMiles

Purchasing KMiles at the moment is little short of a joke. In addition to their prohibitive cost, the only way you can actually buy them is to send a cheque in the post. I do not imagine the trade in KMiles-by-mail is a roaring one.

Once it has a “valuable” frequent flyer currency, you would hope that Air Malta promotes this by setting a competitive rate for standard purchases, and offering periodic bonuses on mile purchases (most other frequent flyer schemes do).

Better customer service

To be completely fair to them, I have not had too many issues with Flypass customer services, but a lot of people have. Hopefully an automation of the rewards booking process will reduce the administrative workload of this undoubtedly understaffed department, allowing them to better assist frequent fliers on matters where such assistance should really be required.

I will continue to monitor progress here, and report back as speculation becomes fact.

Air Malta announces it is to relaunch Flypass

Coming very soon after the launch of this website, which amongst other things highlights the pluses and minuses of Flypass, I am pleased to say that Air Malta has publicly announced that it is to relaunch its frequent flyer programme, in 2013.

air malta kmiles 3

While details are understandably sketchy, this is great news, and hopefully will bring the Flypass (or renamed) frequent flyer scheme fully into the 21st century (online redemption anyone?).

I am not going to speculate too much on the likely contents of the new programme, but I would not be altogether surprised if it involved a more formal tie-up with Miles & More, possibly even with Star Alliance.

I’ll keep you updated.

Earn and redeem Miles & More with Air Malta, and KMiles with Lufthansa

I have already discussed the fact that you can now redeem KMiles on Lufthansa flights.

However, it is important to remember that as part of Air Malta’s de facto (i.e. unofficial) membership of the Miles & More collective, you can both:

Earn and redeem KMiles with Lufthansa AND

Earn (and redeem*) Miles & More points with Air Malta.

As a result, I would always advise any Malta-based or bound traveller to be a member of both frequent flyer programmes, and the general rule is that you should collect KMiles on Air Malta flights, and Miles & More points on Lufthansa flights.

*I should note that it’s currently far from clear to me how you do redeem your Miles & More points with Air Malta, but it’s apparently the case. I will be looking into this one and updating shortly.

Valuing KMiles

I often get asked what a Flypass KMile is worth. The short answer is it depends how you spend it.

However, it is helpful to have a “ballpark” value on KMiles, as it lets you better quantify offers and the value of your points haul.

My estimated “value” (and this is a very ballpark figure) for a KMile is €0.06c (so just over half a Euro cent per KMile). This is an educated guess and is subject to a whole host of variables (including, obviously, what you spend your KMiles on), but I think it’s about right when I’ve put it to the test. The main “reference” point here is based on the principal area of redemption, which is flights.

By way of example, this values an economy return from MLA to Heathrow/Gatwick at €300 (50,000 points), an economy return from MLA to Catania at €120 (20,000 points) and a Business class return from MLA to Heathrow/Gatwick at €510.

Hardly surprisingly, this is substantially below the outright purchase price of KMiles (which you need to obtain directly from Air Malta, by post and cheque), which values them at approximately €0.11 (just over one Euro cent per KMile).

Please note this “value” is in no way official, and is subject to change depending on Flypass redemption policies.

 

Air Malta KMiles – large point collection options

This website has already featured a posting on ‘lesser known’ collection options for KMiles, including restaurants.

However, while a healthy way of topping up your balance, alone, these are unlikely to earn you the major points needed for free flights or business class upgrades.

As such, this post looks at the options for collecting serious KMiles, to help you get that free flight or upgrade as soon as possible.

Flights

Yes, it’s an obvious one, but flying is Flypass’s principal method of granting points. Below, however, is a review of various methods of getting bonus points.

Permanent status

Getting to Flypass Permanent status carries a number of benefits. One of them is that you earn a 35% KMiles bonus on all your flights, and Diamond tier members earn a 50% bonus. While Diamond tier is probably unrealistic for many, this is another good reason to try to get to Permanent status as soon as possible.

Your economy category

Flights in economy carry different KMiles allowances (0.5 x distance, x distance or 2 x distance), depending on their status. While it obviously makes no sense to pay more for a flight  just to get a few more miles, this is worth bearing in mind if only certain categories of economy flights are available (i.e. you will get more KMiles), or if there is just a few Euro difference in price between the economy categories.

Fly business class

Again, more KMiles should never be your sole motivation for flying business class, but if you do, you get 3 x the distance flown in KMiles, a decent haul wherever you fly. Occasionally, you can get some solid offers in Air Malta business class, and they will of course be alerted on this blog, so keep an eye out.

Partner airlines

Don’t forget that you can earn KMiles when you travel with Lufthansa, Swiss and Czech Airlines. KMiles accrual rates are listed here.

Credit cards

Easy points

Aside from flights, the next best way to earn substantial amounts of KMiles is via a credit card. I have personal experience of the BOV Flypass credit card, which is a good option, offering 1 KMiles per Euro spent. However Banif and HSBC Premier offer a similar option with 1 KMile per Euro spend.

I suggest you avoid the HSBC Advance credit card, which offers 1 KMile per €2 spent.

Credit card options and application links (I don’t make any money if you click through to them) are discussed in detail here.

The credit card warning

The key with a credit card, and I cannot emphasise this enough, is to pay it off in full every month. There is no point in earning KMiles on your credit card if you pay a fortune in interest. I simply use mine to pay for all shopping, travel, restaurants etc, then pay it off at the end of the month. that way I bag KMiles on all my spending and don’t pay any interest.

Yearly free business class upgrade

It’s also worth remembering that the BOV Flypass credit card comes with a free “one way” business class upgrade. Depending on how you use it, that’s worth up to 12,000 KMiles (this year I used mine from Heathrow to MLA, so it was effectively worth 10,000 miles).

Quick and easy 100 Miles & More points – with tripadvisor.in

I have already covered this in the dedicated Miles & More page, but wanted to flag people’s attention to a nice little offer from tripadvisor.in that allows you to earn 100 Miles & More points for submitting a tripadvisor review via tripadvisor.in (the Indian branch of tripadvisor).

The relevant page to click through from is here, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. Despite the offer suggesting that it expired on 31 October, it appears that expiry date is just for the 10,000 points competition and not the 100 points giveaway (I submitted a review post-31 October and my points landed fine).

Air Malta Flypass – point collection options

We all know (at least I hope we do) that you can earn Air Malta Flypass KMiles by flying with Air Malta, and I’d say that’s how 99% of KMiles are earned.

Air Malta flypass

However, there are other options, which are covered in detail here.

As you can see, amongst other options, flights with Lufthansa, credit cards, and even meals at certain restaurants will earn you KMiles. So make sure you earn KMiles wherever you can, not just on flights. (more…)

Lufthansa – earn RETURN flights with Air Malta miles

This website already features information on the fact that Air Malta miles (KMiles) can now be redeemed on Lufthansa flights.

air malta miles

However, crucially, Air Malta Flypass have confirmed that these are RETURN flights, not one way only. As a result, the 60,000 KMiles fee for a return business class flight to Europe with Lufthansa is pretty good value (certainly when you compare it to the KMiles business class redemption options).

Full information on redeeming Air Malta miles with Lufthansa is available here.

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