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The Loyalty Showdown: Vistara's Club Vistara vs. Air India's Flying Returns

Updated: Oct 12, 2023



When it comes to loyalty programs in the Indian aviation industry, two prominent contenders stand out: Air India's Flying Returns and Vistara's Club Vistara. Both programs are designed to reward frequent flyers and offer a range of benefits and privileges. In this blog, we'll compare these two loyalty programs in various aspects and suggest improvements where necessary.


Privileges and Benefits Club Vistara (CV):


Vistara's Club Vistara program offers a tiered structure with increasing benefits as you move up the ranks. The four tiers include Base, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Here's how they compare:

  1. - CV Base: This entry-level tier provides members with a moderate CV points earning rate, no rescheduling fee waiver, and no access to partner lounges.

  2. - CV Silver: The Silver tier improves CV point earnings, offers rescheduling fee waivers, and grants access to partner lounges.

  3. - CV Gold: Gold members enjoy even higher CV point earnings, significant rescheduling fee waivers, and premium check-in benefits.

  4. - CV Platinum: The highest tier offers the best benefits, including the highest CV point earnings, substantial rescheduling fee waivers, and elite check-in privileges.


Suggested Improvement:

To enhance the Club Vistara program, Vistara could consider introducing more exclusive benefits at the Platinum tier, such as free companion tickets or complimentary premium upgrades.


Air India's Flying Returns

Air India's Flying Returns program also has multiple elite tiers with their own unique advantages. These include quick path to elite status, credit card benefits, and future expansion opportunities.


Pros:

  1. - Quick Path to Elite Status: Achieving elite status with Air India is relatively easier due to limited fare classes, making it a great option for travelers looking to attain Star Alliance Gold status quickly.

  2. - Credit Cards Are Your Friend: Indian residents can benefit from co-branded credit cards, which can significantly boost mileage earnings, especially for those who frequently fly.


Cons:

  1. - Expensive Redemptions: The program's costly redemptions for partner flights and hefty cancellation charges can deter members.

  2. - Limited Opportunities Outside India: Earning enough miles to book tickets can be challenging for those residing outside India, as the program heavily favors Indian residents.

  3. - Limited Partners: Air India has few partners outside the Star Alliance, limiting earning and redemption options.


Suggested Improvement:

To make Flying Returns more competitive, Air India should consider reducing the redemption costs for partner flights and expanding its partner network.


Earning Points

Club Vistara (CV)

Club Vistara members can earn CV points through various activities, such as booking Vistara tickets, booking partner airline tickets, spending with non-airline partners, and using co-branded credit cards.


Suggested Improvement:

To encourage more members to use co-branded credit cards, Vistara could offer additional benefits such as discounts on in-flight purchases or exclusive access to premium services.


Air India's Flying Returns

Flying Returns members can earn points through Star Alliance flights, credit card partnerships, and fare group-based points earning. The program also allows for easy qualification to elite status.


Suggested Improvement:

Air India could improve the program by enhancing its online platform for easier point redemption and introducing more earning opportunities, such as partnerships with non-airline businesses.


Elite Tiers

Club Vistara (CV)

Club Vistara's elite tiers, from Silver to Platinum, offer a range of benefits, including priority services, lounge access, and one-class upgrade vouchers. The program has a clear path for members to progress to higher tiers.


Air India's Flying Returns

Air India's Flying Returns program offers elite tiers, including Silver Edge Club, Golden Edge Club, and The Maharaja Club. Achieving elite status comes with perks such as points bonuses, extra baggage allowance, and lounge access.


Conclusion:

In conclusion, both Club Vistara and Flying Returns have their strengths and areas for improvement. Vistara excels in its tiered structure and CV point earning opportunities, while Air India offers a quick path to elite status. To remain competitive, both airlines could benefit from expanding their partner networks and enhancing the benefits offered to their most loyal members. The choice between these loyalty programs ultimately depends on your travel preferences and how you value the benefits they provide. Whether you're a frequent flyer with Vistara or Air India, both programs aim to reward your loyalty and enhance your travel experience.

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