Loyally Yours

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From airlines to hotel groups and car rental brands, the loyalty programmes space remains one of the most competitive and constantly changing areas of corporate travel. As a result, it’s difficult to keep up with what programme you should have membership of, and whether or not you’re actually making good use of it. Richard Holmes takes a look at some of the most prominent programmes out there, covering the three main areas, and attempts to make some sense of it.

We’re a fickle bunch, us travellers. Show us a shiny new product offering or a cut-price fare and we’ll switch brands faster than we can hand over our credit card details.

Unless there’s something in it for us – a reason to stick with the tried and trusted, the brands that we would prefer to use if only they made it a little more worthwhile for our wallets.

Perhaps no surprise then that loyalty programmes have become a key battleground in the travel industry, as companies fall over themselves to keep our business. Happily, the surge in innovation can only be good news for corporate travellers with a keen eye on the bottom line.

Airlines

Long the pioneers of loyalty programmes in the travel industry, airlines continue to lead the way when it comes to innovation in rewarding loyal customers. While the basic tenets of loyalty schemes remain the same – spend your money with us and we’ll offer you free flights and ever-increasing ancillary benefits down the line –airline companies and associated agencies are becoming ever-more inventive in ensuring we feel that we’re getting more than our money’s worth.

“Loyalty programmes are a key element of all major airlines’ value proposition to the corporate and, to a lesser extent, leisure markets,” says South African Airways’ spokesperson Tlali Tlali. “Members are attracted and retained by the opportunity to earn and spend on air and non-air aspects of a programme, and this drives loyalty to the primary airline brand.”

But those bells and whistles have to start with the basics – a simple way to earn miles, and plenty of options for spending them. To enjoy all those benefits, you have to have the miles in the first place. Accrual of miles is always a hot topic, and it seems the old chestnut of the rich getting richer applies equally to loyalty programmes.

With most airlines, travellers in the top tier of the programme accrue up to double the miles actually flown, while in the depths of Economy quite the opposite is true, with many clients lucky to be credited with a fraction of the miles covered.

That especially applies when a lower loyalty status is combined with a cut-price fare. What many travellers don’t realise is that not all seats in the same cabin earn the same number of miles. A discounted Economy ticket will earn fewer miles than a last-minute traveller who paid full-fare for the seat right next door.

That has come under the spotlight recently with Lufthansa, which has come under fire for changes to its Miles&More programme. Under the new regime, the cheapest long-haul Economy tickets earn just 25% of the miles actually flown, and short-haul flights in Europe could earn just the bare minimum of 125 miles per sector.

The lesson, perhaps, is to see loyalty benefits as just that, a benefit. An added extra. There’s little point in opting for a higher fare simply to accrue miles, but by carefully selecting loyalty programmes with partners that suit your specific travel needs, you can at least maximise the benefit of a budget that needs to be spent anyway.

In addition to the simple accumulation of miles to exchange for rewards, nearly all loyalty programmes have increasing levels of status. As your status with the airline rises, so do the benefits – priority boarding, an increased luggage allowance and guaranteed seats are some of the most popular ancillary status benefits.

For the upper tiers of membership, airlines such as Lufthansa also offer the likes of limousine transfer services, companion awards, waived expiry on miles, and access to the luxurious First Class terminals.

Partnerships are key to most airline loyalty offerings, and as the cash-strapped airline industry increasingly looks towards consolidation to remain profitable, we will see more and more airlines sharing customers… and their loyalty miles.

“South African Airways’ Voyager members can redeem their miles throughout the Star Alliance network, consisting of 28 member airlines flying to 1,328 airports in 195 countries across the globe,” says Tlali. “Furthermore, members are able to earn their SAA Voyager Miles on other airlines that SAA has a codeshare agreement with.”

South Africa’s national carrier is also strengthening loyalty ties with its low-cost subsidiary Mango.

“In December last year Mango joined the SAA Voyager programme as a redemption partner, allowing our SAA Voyager members to utilise their miles as part or full payment on Mango flights,” says Tlali.

Voyager remains the biggest player on the continent, but smaller regional carriers equally offer their own loyalty programmes. Air Namibia’s Reward$ is limited in scope in that one can only accrue and spend miles on Air Namibia’s services. But with the carrier’s strong regional network, it remains useful for travellers with corporate travel focused in the region. Joining Reward$ is free of charge, and new members receive a 500 mile bonus on joining.

At the other end of the scale you have major global airlines such as Lufthansa, which partners with 38 airlines on its Miles&More programme, including the likes of Ethiopian Airlines and SAA.

In an innovative move, Lufthansa has also introduced a partnership with its high-end Lufthansa Private Jets business, intended to provide seamless air charter service to high-flying customers.

“The lead/paying passenger receives at least 10,000 award miles per completed flight segment, which also count as status and HON Circle miles. FTL, SEN and HON Circle Members also receive a 25% Executive Bonus on their mileage credit,” explains Axel Simon, Director Southern Africa for Lufthansa German Airline and Swiss International Air Lines.

The trend over the past decade has been increasingly towards airlines offering benefits with non-airline partners. That began with the obvious inclusion of hotels and car hire companies, but has expanded to include everything from electronics outlets to duty-free shops.

 “As it is sometimes difficult for Miles&More members to redeem their miles for a flight award, the Miles&More programme has made it easy to spend award miles for a hotel or rental car booking at www.miles-and-travel.com,” explains Simon. “Choose from more than 80,000 hotels and car rental locations worldwide. If travellers don’t have enough miles, they can pay the rest with different currencies.”

Similarly, SAA has 26 non-airline partners, from financial services to hotels and resorts.

“South African Airways Voyager introduced a total of six non-airline partners in 2013,” says Tlali. “Legacy, Taj Hotels, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Miles for Style and Cruises International, giving members an opportunity to earn miles and redeem miles on Legacy and Cruises International.”

SAA may lead the pack in Africa, but further afield it has some stiff competition.

Flying Blue, the loyalty programme of Air France and KLM, is widely regarded as one of the world’s best loyalty offerings, and in 2013 it won five awards at the Freddie Awards, which recognise the world’s best travel loyalty programmes.

Elite members of Flying Blue enjoy a host of ancillary benefits, including priority check-in and boarding, priority baggage handling, and priority service at ticket offices and transfer desks. Depending on status, members may also receive a higher baggage allowance, lounge access and waitlist priority. 

Members can earn and burn miles on 35 airline partners, including airlines in the SkyTeam alliance that includes Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways and Korean Air. Garuda Indonesia will also join SkyTeam this month, becoming the alliance’s second member from south-east Asia.

In addition to airline and alliance partners, Flying Blue miles can be used at over 100 non-airline partners, ranging from car hire companies – including Avis, Hertz and Budget – to hotel groups such as Hilton, Hyatt and Accor.

Atlanta-based SkyTeam partner Delta also boasts a compelling loyalty programme. The airline, which flies to five destinations in Africa from both Atlanta and New York, offers the SkyMiles programme with 28 partner airlines.

“Delta offers many ways to redeem frequent flyer miles, including mileage upgrades, car rentals, hotel stays and Delta Sky Club memberships, and is the only airline with miles that don’t expire,” says Jimmy Eichelgruen, Delta’s Director of Sales for Africa, Middle East and India. “In SkyMiles Marketplace, eligible members can use miles for hotel stays, car rentals, merchandise and more.”

All these benefits sound appealing, but a perennial grumble is that ‘free’ seats are impossible to find. A number of airlines have taken the bold step of promising that if there is a seat on the plane for sale, it can be bought with loyalty miles.

Voyager deserves a round of applause for this, with its AnyDay Awards charging a premium in terms of miles, but allowing travel on any flight.

“A Voyager member can redeem miles on any flight that is available in the highest revenue class,” explains Tlali. “We also introduced the SuperPlus award in 2010, which does not require as many miles as the AnyDay award, but is booked in a higher fare class.”

Although not quite as far-reaching, Flying Blue says it has significantly increased the availability of award tickets both within Europe and on intercontinental flights.

 

Across the pond, “Delta offers every seat as an award seat with redemption levels varying based on route, date of travel and customer demand. As the price of airfares increase, customer demand for Award travel also increases, which can result in availability at the lowest levels being sold out,” says Eichelgruen. “Last year, frequent flyers redeemed more than 271 billion miles in the SkyMiles programme for more than 11 million award redemptions. In 2013, seven percent of revenue miles flown on Delta were for award travel.”

However, many of the benefits of being a loyalty cardholder are somewhat intangible.

Membership of SkyMiles also offers something to corporate travellers that is sought-after indeed – time.

“SkyMiles members can check in for a domestic flight and print a boarding pass via delta.com up to 24 hours before a flight’s scheduled departure. Also, SkyMiles members travelling on a Delta ticket for a domestic flight can use our self-service kiosks in more than 80 airports nationwide to quickly check in for a flight or stand by for an upgrade,” says Eichelgruen. “Kiosks also allow you to check baggage, select or change seat assignments, change your flight, provide for multi-party check-in, add your SkyMiles number to your itinerary, print a receipt, and more.”

From dedicated check-ins to separate security queues, programmes are increasingly looking to add a level of exclusivity to the travel experience.

Lufthansa, for instance, has introduced ‘Status Stars’ printed onto members’ loyalty cards.

The stars are “a special recognition for long-standing status customers as well as to enhance the exclusivity we offer our status customers, to ensure that we can continue to provide them with an attractive overall service product in the long run,” explains Simon.

While it may impress the check-in clerk, sadly there are no additional benefits to a star-spangled Miles&More membership card. It’s an unusual move no doubt made in a bid to set itself apart, and from that point of view it’s in good company. With priority boarding, lounge access and complimentary upgrades becoming decidedly pedestrian, loyalty programmes are increasingly looking to distinguish themselves from the competition.

In addition to the ‘standard’ offering, Flying Blue also offers two niche products to cater for specific sectors of their market.

Of particular interest to corporate travellers in Africa, where petro-chemical industries are driving much of the economic growth across the continent, is the ‘Flying Blue Petroleum Club’.

This offshoot of Flying Blue is exclusive to Air France and KLM, and services professionals in the oil and gas industries. Advantages of joining include several new features ranging from priority check-in to easier flight transfers alongside special offers from codesharing carriers.

Running in tandem with the Petroleum Club is ‘Flying Blue Golf’, aimed at high-end golf travellers. Membership is free for all Flying Blue members older than 18, and members have access to a network of courses, golf professionals and booking services. Importantly, members also enjoy additional baggage allowances, allowing them to bring golf equipment on board for free.

Qatar Airways, which flies to 18 cities across Africa, offers a similar benefit with its Privilege Club programme.

Any flight with Qatar Airways or a oneworld member airline earns Qpoints according to the fare paid and the travel sector. On entry-level Burgundy status the primary member also earns 25% of family members’ miles, rising to 100% of miles for Gold and Platinum members.

Qatar Airways did announce new additions to its Privilege Club programme in February, but they were exclusively for those members residing in Qatar.

Airlines are also getting creative with ways for passengers to burn through their miles.

Delta Air Lines, for instance, offers the SkyMiles Online Auction where members can bid for once-in-a-lifetime experiences including premium seats to sought-after events, opportunities to meet celebrities and sought-after resort stays.

Hotels

Hotels have been quick to learn the lessons of the airline industry, and multi-national groups today offer wide-ranging loyalty programmes that offer enormous benefits for corporate travellers.

Hilton HHonors from Hilton Worldwide remains one of the planet’s leading loyalty programmes, with upwards of 35 million members. As with most competing hotel loyalty schemes, HHonors has a tiered system of membership.

Members earn Blue status upon enrolment, which comes with limited benefits including late check-out subject to availability, and a free stay for the member’s spouse sharing the same room.

Silver status earns you bonus points on your spend as well as complimentary access to hotel fitness centres. In the heady heights of Gold and Diamond status you’ll be able to check-in online up to 24 hours before arrival, enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, and escape to the calm of the Executive Lounge.

Hilton HHonors has recently introduced a host of innovative new offerings designed to make rewards more evident for the millions of members worldwide.

Perhaps most important is the ‘5th Night Free’ benefit, with Silver, Gold and Diamond-status members of Hilton HHonors receiving every fifth night free on Standard Room Reward stays booked for five consecutive nights or more. There is, however, a maximum of four free nights on a stay of 20 consecutive nights.

The multi-national group has also introduced seasonal pricing for reward stays, meaning that the number of points required to redeem a free night will vary according to the season and demand.

Another unique offering of Hilton HHonors is the ability to ‘double-dip’. HHonors allows you to earn both HHonors points as well as airline loyalty miles from more than 50 carriers around the world.

One of the more interesting loyalty offerings to hit the African travel landscape in the past few years is Legacy Lifestyle. Although closely affiliated with the Legacy Hotels group – an ‘anchor’ partner – the loyalty programme has a host of lifestyle partners for earning and spending ‘Legacy Rands.’

Registration is free, and members can accrue or spend Legacy Rands with a range of partners that includes LUX* Island Resorts, Wilderness Safaris, SAA and assorted retail partners.

“We believe the market is flooded with obscure and unclear rewards programmes,” says Mike Rowley, Managing Director of Legacy Lifestyle. “The fact that our members can now use their rewards earned from their corporate travel and spend at retail partners to stay with us or our travel partners on leisure holidays, is a fantastic value proposition.”

Value is what Best Western Rewards, the loyalty club from Best Western International, is all about. The programme has over 20 million travellers signed up, with guests earning points based on the value of their stay in a hotel, as well as via miles from global airline partners. 

After booking a stay for 10 nights, members gain Gold Elite status, and earn an additional 10% in bonus points per stay. After 15 nights, members jump to Platinum Elite status and enjoy an upgraded room and an additional 15% bonus points per stay. The most loyal guests, who stay over 30 nights, are given Diamond Elite status, with an upgraded room and further bonus points.

Best Western Rewards loyalty club members can also earn miles with airlines including KLM, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, LanChile, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. Members also earn points when renting a car with Avis.

“Members can use their points for free night stays in Best Western hotels around the world or can exchange them for a Travel Card for values from $25, which can be used in any Best Western hotel towards food and beverage or accommodation,” says Karl de Lacy, International Development Manager for Best Western International.

Similarly, Starwood Hotels & Resorts offers its multi-tiered ‘Starwood Preferred Guest’ loyalty programme, based on earning Starpoints. Starpoints can be redeemed at over 1,100 hotels, with award flights offered on dozens of global airlines.

Gold and Platinum members receive additional Starpoints for every dollar spent, along with the decidedly attractive benefit of a 16h00 late check-out. At the top tier, Platinum guests also receive an upgrade to the best available room at check-in, as well as complimentary Internet access in the room. A further benefit crucial for time-scarce business travellers is guaranteed room availability, provided the reservation is made by 15h00 72 hours before arrival.

Similar benefits are on offer for members of the Protea Hospitality Group’s Prokard product. Privileges extended to members include complimentary early check-in and late check-out, complimentary room upgrades and discounted room rates.

“Members earn up to 10% of their nett accommodation spend back in Prokard Rands and there is guaranteed redemption even during peak periods. Members can redeem their Prokard Rands as partial or full payment on their hotel bill, or use them to pay for services within a hotel,” explains Peter Immelman, Prokard Marketing Manager. “Gold members also receive dining discounts of up to 50% when dining at any participating Protea Hotel and African Pride Hotel, even if they are not staying in the hotel.”

As with most global offerings, Prokard has alliances with a range of non-hotel partners, offering preferential rates and packages with the likes of Budget car rental and low-cost airline Kulula.

“Business travellers make up the bulk of the Prokard membership, because they tend to travel more frequently and therefore accrue accommodation-related benefits that much faster,” says Immelman.

As one of the largest hotel operators in the world, Intercontinental Hotels Group’s IHG® Rewards Club has a staggering 76 million members globally and has been named ‘Best Hotel Rewards Programme in the World’ eight years running by Global Traveller magazine.

Enrolment in IHG Rewards Club is free and guests can sign up online or at any of IHG’s 4,600 hotels worldwide. Within Africa, their brands include InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels.

IHG Rewards points never expire, there are no blackout dates for redeeming Reward Nights, and there is no shortage of options for non-hotel rewards that include flights, music downloads, merchandise and retail gift cards.

However, as with loyalty tickets on airlines, there are often costs associated with a free night’s stay. Local taxes, service fees and surcharges are often not included in the cost of your stay, so remember to budget accordingly.

When guests book stays using Hilton HHonors points, for instance, the points will cover the cost of the room, but guests are responsible for paying any additional tax, surcharges, service fees and incidental charges.

Likewise, when using Starpoints to book accommodation at Starwood properties, guests are responsible for all charges, fees, duties, taxes, and assessments arising out of redeeming points.

Best Western, however, throws it all in when Rewards members redeem points.

“When members use their points to stay in our hotels, the rate always includes breakfast and taxes.  This is our hotels’ way of saying thank you for choosing to stay with us,” says De Lacy.

Of course finding a free room – as with airline seat availability – is a common grumble amongst travellers looking to cash in hard-earned loyalty points. Again, the precedent seems to vary between hotel groups.

“We are working with our hotels to ensure that they offer availability for points redemption,” says De Lacy. “Generally we don’t have this problem, as in North America all of our hotels are required to give a minimum number of rooms per day to the programme, which we may roll out on a global basis. Our hotels in Africa also have rooms set aside to accommodate guests who wish to use their points for a stay.”

Hilton mandates that there are no blackout dates for Hilton HHonors members wanting to book at any of the group’s 4,000 hotels – as long as there is standard room availability, members can book using their points.

While the major global hotel groups have complex multi-layered loyalty programmes, some of the best examples of loyalty rewards can be found in the straightforward approach of some home-grown hospitality brands.

The Durban-based Three Cities Group’s ‘Exceptional Rewards’ programme offers Silver, Gold and Black membership, offering cash-back in ‘Exceptional Rands’ based on the value of spend at participating properties.

While Silver card membership is free for 12 months, Gold membership is charged at R1,200 per year. The Exceptional Rewards ‘Black Card’ membership is by invitation only and at no cost.

“By accessing the Three Cities website, guests can view their account details any time, while members of the Exceptional Rewards Programme will have their own personalised online profile account, allowing them to view special offers, book accommodation and check their ‘Exceptional Rand’ balance at their convenience,” says Three Cities Group Director John Creighton.

Keeping it even more uncomplicated is the City Lodge Hotel Group, which offers two loyalty products: The Lodger Club and The Corporate Club.

“The Lodger Club is aimed at individuals and small businesses, while The Corporate Club is aimed at businesses – it has a minimum spend of R75,000 per year. There is no minimum for The Lodger Club,” says Peter Schoeman, Divisional Director, Sales and Marketing, for the City Lodge Hotel Group. “In both loyalty programmes, guests benefit from lower rates, as opposed to normal rack rates, and earn points towards free accommodation. Points can only be earned and spent at City Lodge group hotels.”

While there are no tiers to membership, the number of points earned varies according to the hotel the member stays at – the most points are earned at Courtyard (4-star) hotels, then City Lodge (3-star) and Town Lodge (2-star).

“The budget Road Lodge brand does not qualify for Lodger Club or Corporate Club points,” says Schoeman. “There is also a difference between week days and weekends – for both earning and spending points.”

There are also no availability restrictions for booking on points. There are no block-outs or availability restrictions, says Schoeman: “A Lodger Club or Corporate Club booking made online ranks on a par with any booking made through an intermediary or directly with a hotel – as long as there is room availability at the time the guest wants to make a booking, this booking will be honoured.”

It’s evidence of hotels, and other travel industry players, putting customers first as loyalty programmes – and the business they bring in – become ever more important.

“More people are understanding the value of loyalty and we have seen a 14.6% increase in our members over the past 12 months to 20.1 million,” says De Lacy. “Hoteliers are using the loyalty club as an opportunity to drive more profitable revenue and encourage guests to remain loyal to their hotel. We are seeing significant increases in membership, as more and more travel takes place to new destinations.”

Car Hire

Care hire agencies have tended to keep loyalty programmes as pared down as possible, with most major brands offering simple partnerships with airline loyalty programmes. Perhaps because the product offering of one rental car varies little regardless of which agency you choose to hire from, so benefits are focused firmly on earning and burning loyalty points.

Avis offers one of the most advanced loyalty programmes, partnering with both SAA and BA/Comair. 

“Travellers can earn and spend airline frequent flier points with Avis, along with many other banking loyalty programmes, including eBucks, Greenbacks, American Express to name a few,” says Keith Rankin, Chief Executive Officer at Avis Rent-a-Car Southern Africa. “Loyalty remains a key component of all car rental customer relationship programmes. They are growing and the trend is to discretionary awards and recognition.”

Crucially, Avis, like most rental agencies, does not impose any blackout dates when it comes to renting a vehicle. If you have the miles and the vehicle is available, you can reserve it.

“There are no restrictions on redeeming points for car rental, as there are with airlines,” says Rankin. “To avoid disappointment, we urge our customers to book early to ensure they get a vehicle in peak periods.”

Furthermore, there are few hidden costs to renting using your miles.

“Each programme is different, and as such the rental programmes have different costs and inclusions,” adds Rankin. “In general, our rates do include our car rental waivers, specified free kilometres and VAT.”

Airport surcharges may apply though, as they do when redeeming loyalty awards from Hertz Southern Africa.

While globally Hertz has revamped its loyalty programme – Hertz Gold Plus Rewards – to a points-based system, within Southern Africa the loyalty offering remains little-changed. Although the programme is partnered with SAA and Airlink, car rentals won’t earn you Voyager miles. Instead, for every 10 rentals, you get a voucher for one free rental day, with upgraded vehicles offered after seven and 19 rentals.

“Redemption of these vouchers must be indicated on the reservation before picking up the vehicle, and original vouchers must be issued,” explains Deborah Arendse, Gold Manager for Hertz Southern Africa. “Customers redeeming the voucher should be aware that all other costs relating to the redemption of the voucher are for their own account and settlement – kilometres, fuel, airport surcharge, VAT etc.”

“Customers appreciate and welcome the receipt of tangible compensation as an incentive factor,” adds Susan Marshall, National Marketing Manager for Hertz Southern Africa. “From recent research we have done, the members want value-add that they can benefit from personally – airline and hotel were not a must.”

Industry View: Are they worth it
Are loyalty programmes worth the time and effort? We asked Collin Austen, Business Development Executive for Club Travel, for an expert view from the industry…
Why is it a no-brainer for corporate travellers to join a loyalty programme?
Loyalty programmes are, for the most part, free and reward you for doing what you need to do anyway. This is perhaps the downfall of the loyalty programmes – every company offers them and as such, the client joins all the programmes and is no more loyal to any supplier.

What should travellers look out for when deciding which programme to choose?
The ease of redemption of miles or points as well as the longevity of accumulated points must always be considered. Rewards that are difficult to cash in, or expire, cannot be considered as a benefit.

What are the ‘soft’ benefits of joining a loyalty programme?
Everyone likes to have their patronage recognised and appreciated. The soft benefits of a loyalty programme are often easier to enjoy than the free flights/rooms and are often available without the run-around of pre-organisation. A free bottle of wine or getting your rental car without too much rigmarole is often more appreciated than the free flight.

What are the downsides to be aware of?
Companies need to decide whether the company will accumulate the points for company use, or will allow their traveller to benefit. Should the traveller be allowed to amass the rewards, then the company needs to ensure that this is done without negatively affecting their travel policy.

Avios comes to Africa

Global travel loyalty programme Avios launched in South Africa in late 2013. Widely known as the currency of British Airways’ popular Executive Club loyalty programme, the Avios reputation as a stand-alone travel loyalty programme is quickly gathering steam.

“Members of the Avios Travel Rewards Programme can fly to destinations like Victoria Falls, Durban and Mauritius just by doing their everyday shopping at Pick n Pay with their smart shopper card, by filling up with BP and when using the Avios credit card,” says Nick Pilbeam, Director of New Markets & Business Development for the Avios Group. “Avios can also be collected with Avis car rental, by staying at a hotel within the Protea Hospitality Group, on British Airways flights, and by selling property through Lew Geffen Sotheby’s Real Estate.”

The partnership with Protea – which operates over 110 hotels with 10,000 rooms across Africa ­– is sure to attract corporate travellers. Silver, Gold and Platinum Prokard members will earn Avios as well as Prokard Rands, with one Avios point collected for every R10 of accommodation spend.

Joining the Avios Travel Rewards Programme is free and Avios don’t expire as long as you collect and redeem at least 1 Avios within three years. Once sufficient Avios are collected, they can be redeemed for domestic, regional or international flights on British Airways.

When it comes to redeeming flights, Avios is also hoping to simplify the often-arcane process of covering airport taxes and fuel levies.

“Instead of paying airline taxes, fees and carrier charges, Avios Travel Rewards Programme members as well as British Airways Executive Club Members who collect 1 Avios in the 12 months prior to booking flights, pay ‘Reward Flight Saver’,” says Pilbeam. “This is a flat fee of R700 per person on a return Economy regional or domestic British Airways flight, plus the Avios fare.”

However, it’s important to remember that long-haul international flights will still attract the standard taxes, fees and carrier charges.

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