Devaluation: New Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Award Chart Announced

This Airbus A380 aircraft at Narita International Airport — which serves the greater Tokyo metropolitan area — operated as Thai Airways flight 677 to Bangkok greater than one year ago. Photograph by FlyerTalk member sfoactuary. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by sfoactuary.

Effective as of September 1, 2014, the amount of Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus frequent flier loyalty program miles needed for award travel will increase on a significant number of award redemptions — and FlyerTalk members are not happy.

Although the award charts seem to have been simplified — for example, premium economy award redemptions have been eliminated on flights operated by Thai Airways; Zone 7 has been eliminated; and simply double the amount of Royal Orchid Plus frequent flier loyalty program miles on the new award chart needed for return trips — the amount of Royal Orchid Plus frequent flier loyalty program miles needed for redemption on certain awards has increased substantially.

Using a Zone 6 award as one example: with the current award chart, you can redeem 230,000 Royal Orchid Plus frequent flier loyalty program miles needed to fly as a passenger assigned to a seat in the Royal First Class cabin to destinations located from anywhere between 8,001 to 11,000 miles away; whereas with the new award chart, you will need to redeem 460,000 Royal Orchid Plus frequent flier loyalty program miles.

Simple — but also painful if you have been saving up for an award ticket between Thailand and Los Angeles only to find that you will need to redeem double the Royal Orchid Plus frequent flier loyalty program miles for that trip. Certain other awards — such as flying as a passenger assigned to a seat in the Royal First Class cabin between Bangkok and London — have also doubled in cost in terms of the redemption of your Royal Orchid Plus frequent flier loyalty program miles.

“TG management must have completely lost the plot or the whole announcement is a mistake”, FlyerTalk member BinSabai posted in apparent disbelief

…and if that is not bad enough, redeeming your Royal Orchid Plus frequent flier loyalty program miles will apparently also cost you more money as well — as pointed out by FlyerTalk member travelislife: “Plus all the extra charges, what a joke.” As an example, travelislife compared the fees on one flight with United Airlines: “United miles on Thai Airways planes SYD-BKK return in Business Class, 60,000 miles + $160. Thai Airways miles on the same Thai Airways planes 196,000 miles + $600.”

Certain redemptions of Royal Orchid Plus frequent flier loyalty program miles for upgrades and for use on partner airlines which are members of Star Alliance will also increase as of September 1, 2014.

To ease some of that pain, the amount of bonus Royal Orchid Plus frequent flier loyalty program miles you will receive as an elite level member of the Royal Orchid Plus frequent flier loyalty program will also increase as of August 1, 2014:

Platinum Elite level members will earn:

  • 150 percent of miles in the economy class cabin — except for G, V and W classes — instead of 100 percent
  • 200 percent of miles in the business class cabin instead of 125 percent
  • 250 percent of miles in the first class cabin instead of 150 percent

 

Gold Elite level members will earn:

  • 125 percent of miles in the economy class cabin — except for G, V and W classes — instead of 100 percent
  • 175 percent of miles in the business class cabin instead of 125 percent
  • 250 percent of miles in the first class cabin instead of 150 percent

 

Although the announcement of the changes in the award chart structures from Thai Airways claims that “the decision of these changes has been made with careful consideration as we have not adjusted the miles in our award charts for almost fifteen years ago since the beginning of our program”, FlyerTalk member 11277m claims to prove that that statement is not accurate, as mileage requirements for award travel on Thai Airways increased in Zones 4 to 7 back on January 1, 2009 when traveling as a passenger assigned to a seat in the Royal First Class and Royal Silk Class cabins; and mileage requirements for some round-trip award redemptions on Thai Airways also increased back in 2004.

FlyerTalk member MikeFromTokyo summed it up with this statement: “It seems odd to me that TG would structure its program so that it alienates passengers who fly less frequently.”

What are your thoughts pertaining to the changes to award redemptions in the Royal Orchid Plus frequent flier loyalty program coming September 1, 2014?

Comments (Showing 4 of 4)

  • irishguy28 at 4:08pm June 19, 2014

    “Travelling as a passenger assigned to a seat in the Royal First Class cabin”

    …you know, I think this will catch on as a replacement for “travelling in First”

    • Brian Cohen at 5:18pm June 19, 2014

      Ha!
      If you are going to poke fun at me, irishguy28, I would have spelled the word traveling with one l…
      …or is it spelt?…Hmm…
      …regardless, thank you for the laugh!

  • tridentnyc at 9:01pm June 19, 2014

    Actually, I was wondering if you could say “Royal Orchid Plus frequent flyer loyalty program” a few more times, not sure mentioning it ten times in your post was enough. 😉

    • Brian Cohen at 9:01am June 20, 2014

      I was re-e-e-e-e-e-e-eally tempted to insert “Royal Orchid Plus frequent flyer loyalty program” into this article of photographs I just posted last night, tridentnyc — but I just could not bring myself to do it…

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