UX leaves FB and launches its own FFP

Old Nov 26, 15, 12:00 am
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Exclamation UX leaves FB and launches its own FFP

News of today. Not a real surprise as we had several hints earlier this year (remember, it was reported on this forum that the 2015 FB cards didn't include UX logo at the back of the card). From AF travel agent portal :
UX ne participe plus au programme Flying Blue

25/11/2015

A compter du 30 novembre 2015, Air Europa (UX) ne fera plus partie des compagnies membres du programme Flying Blue, en raison de la mise en oeuvre de son propre programme de fidélité, SUMA.

UX restera partenaire du programme Flying Blue, les membres Flying Blue pourront donc toujours gagner des Miles sur tous les vols marketing et operating par UX, AF, KL ou SkyTeam, et utiliser leur Miles pour réserver un billet prime pour tout vol marketing et operating UX.

Les surclassements, les Primes Promo, les Primes Flex et les Primes d'excédent de bagage ne seront plus proposés sur les vols UX.

Les réservations de primes effectuées avant le 30 novembre 2015 pour des vols après cette date resteront valides et ne seront pas modifiées.

Les surclassements, les Primes Promo, les Primes Flex et les Primes d'excédent de bagage réservés avant les 30 novembre 2015 pour des vols après cette date seront acceptés par UX.

En outre, UX est également membre de l'alliance SkyTeam, ce qui permet aux membres Flying Blue de bénéficier des nombreux avantages SkyTeam dans le monde entier.
Translation : from Nov30, UX will not use FB anymore as their FFP, because of the launch of their own program : SUMA.
UX will remain a FB partner and so it will be still possible to earn miles on all flights marketed and operated by UX, AF, KL or Skyteam. It will be also still possible to redeem miles on UX-operated or marketed flights.
Upgrades, promo-awards, flex-awards and miles for excess bags will not anymore be proposed by UX.
Awards (flights, excess bags, upgrades) booked before 30 Nov will be honored even if the flight is after this date.
UX remains a Skyteam member and so all Skyteam benefits remain.
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Old Nov 26, 15, 1:26 am
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curious to see what the benefits of the programme will be (compared to FB and other competitors) and what the reason was from leaving the programme.
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Old Nov 26, 15, 1:42 am
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Bravo, Air Europa!

I hope we see an exodus from FB now. (Aircalin should surely be next to go). Perhaps then they will realise that they are not the "Award Winning Program" that Freddie tells them.
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Old Nov 26, 15, 2:35 am
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Maybe some can expect a status match from UX in the coming months.
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Old Nov 26, 15, 2:36 am
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Originally Posted by Gajan View Post
curious to see what the benefits of the programme will be (compared to FB and other competitors) and what the reason was from leaving the programme.

The major programmes raised the "fees" for membership massively over the last years, up to a point where smaller members might be able to make a case for running their own scheme at comparable costs, maybe even slightly lower costs (Scale, Experience Curve etc. are certainly often ignored in such calculations)

The option of selling the scheme to a company specialized in LPs down the road is certainly an option as well.

To be honest with you, I would not be surprised if one of the next emails from Flying Blue will start with the following sentence:

After ten years of running the most successful PL in the Skies, we decided to embark on a new path....(aka getting more cash out of FB or introducing a complete new approach)

On a sidenote, the second paragraph would start:

New Promoawards available, our best promotion ever:

Bremen-Strasbourg 45k in Biz

One has to give KL/AF credit, at least they were very active looking for help from various consultancies over the last couple of months...and I do expect change starting after this business year is over, so in Spring 2016.

Unfortunately, I am not that close to KL/AF anymore and one of my informants agreed to a 'golden hand shake' recently. He was in Ops. and as a result I got stranded recently during the foggy weekend ...
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Old Nov 26, 15, 5:05 am
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Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
Bravo, Air Europa!

I hope we see an exodus from FB now. (Aircalin should surely be next to go). Perhaps then they will realise that they are not the "Award Winning Program" that Freddie tells them.
+1. It is interesting that a number of smaller airline are leaving the both of "stick a finger at your customers" large FFPs either partly or fully. For instance SN, while not formally leaving M&M have been launching their own parallel FFP instead which is more limited but significantly more generous. I hope that the new "SUMA" will be the same and that the likes of RO and KQ will also still let AF and KL sink their FFP on their own. FB is a waste of space and small airlines, perhaps more than large ones, may understand how they need an FFP to retain a loyal customer base when they face genuine competition to/from their hub and can only offer a limited network. Of course, sadly, it could equally be the exact opposite happening with SUMA so I suggest that we wait before drawing any premature conclusion.
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Old Nov 26, 15, 10:29 am
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Originally Posted by Gajan View Post
curious to see what the benefits of the programme will be (compared to FB and other competitors) and what the reason was from leaving the programme.
knowing how "cheap" (in the sense basic) UX can be, I'm not expecting something extraordinary

We have to remember that UX and RO joined FB when they joined Skyteam as Associate Members. This was a kind of lower tier membership status and fees in the alliance, but one of the condition was that they needed to adopt the FFP of their sponsor (AF in the case of RO and UX). The "rebellion" started with ME who wanted to join Skyteam but didn't want to abandon their FFP for FB. And so Skyteam suppressed this associate member status and the FFP rule and ME joined the alliance with its own FFP.

Cost is likely the reason for UX abandoning FB and, who knows may be they were not happy with the evolution of the program.
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Old Nov 27, 15, 12:22 am
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What happens with SN+M&M and UX+FB is certainly that these programs are more financial products than loyalty programs. As with most financial products, there are high fees for all stakeholders (fuel surcharge for us), profits are taken and decisions are made by the strongest stakeholders = AF KL or LH. So smaller airlines don't benefit much from being part of the program as such. If they run their own program, they can make favorable arbitrage for themselves, balancing financial gain and increasing loyalty. Being part of an alliance allow them to still count on cross alliance connecting traffic and sales, and to provide alliance wide benefits.

Now will advanced emergency exists assignment still be free for FB Platinum members? That is the question, it was for me the main benefit of flying UX as FB Plat.
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Old Nov 27, 15, 3:19 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
FB is a waste of space and small airlines, perhaps more than large ones, may understand how they need an FFP to retain a loyal customer base when they face genuine competition to/from their hub and can only offer a limited network. Of course, sadly, it could equally be the exact opposite happening with SUMA so I suggest that we wait before drawing any premature conclusion.
I would agree with you only if these small airlines properly know how to retain customers, or manage a loyalty program properly and use it as a marketing tool, which is not always the case.
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Old Nov 27, 15, 3:30 am
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To be honest, FB is hardly something that would attract a customer to UX over Iberia (for example, considering the core target market) so I'm not sure that they would come up with something worse for such purposes.

The very cheapest fares on UX never earned anything in Flying Blue (none of the few flights I have ever taken on UX earned anything in FB) so, if they at least give credit for every flight - perhaps by recognition of total spend, as I suspect may be the case - that would be a start
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Old Nov 27, 15, 4:21 am
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I agree with the recent posts.
Being a member of an alliance and having codeshares is probably a sufficient incentive to attract some customers, being a member of FB adds little. In part, that is because the few FB miles (often zero) earned on a "cheap" airline like UX provides little motivation, while the fee charged by FB to UX must be large.
The move by SN, which is part of the LH group, is quite interesting. You earn three loops per euro spent on any SN flight in Europe and can spend on SN European flight. That can be an attractive loyalty program.

And it is true that a FFP is a financial product and many FFPs are/were profit machines. I still remember the good time when BMI had DC, a money-making FFP on star alliance. Many members never flew on BMI but enjoyed the earn/burn ratio provided by DC. But I doubt that this type of FFP would fly today.

Last edited by brunos; Nov 27, 15 at 4:30 am
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Old Dec 2, 15, 2:12 am
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Not to mention the infamousBMI DC Indian call center "Good morning, welcome to BMI diamond club, my name is Ankit, may I have your membership number please"... All these tickets booked to KHV or UUS on OZ F via ICN... or my intra african redemption CPT JNB ZRH LIS CMN on LX F...
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Old Dec 4, 15, 12:33 pm
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I was informed by this directly at the UX counter in Madrid early November... however the staff would not reveal (or did not know) the details of suma.

Based in Spain, you would think there would be plenty of opportunity to earn FB miles with UX however the earning restrictions are so strict and it seems like only the most expensive fare classes actually earn miles... I have only ever earned on UX domestic in the business class.

Probably the only unpublished benefit of being FB gold when flying UX is that they regularly upgrade due to overbooking.

Iberia anyhow has a much more competitive product, better frequencies, a much nicer terminal in Madrid and lounge access on domestic, so Suma will have its work cut out to capture Iberia's clientele.
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Old Dec 12, 15, 12:32 am
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Just checked the Air Europa Suma webpage (https://www.aireuropa.com/en/flights/loyalty#suma) today - it appears that the programme will be open to member registration and start on 14 December!

Originally Posted by bodory View Post
Maybe some can expect a status match from UX in the coming months.
Interestingly, according to the Air Europa Suma webpage:

Flying Blue Members are allowed to enroll SUMA keeping the same level (Silver, Gold, Platinum).
So it appears that there will be a status match!
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Old Dec 12, 15, 1:44 am
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Originally Posted by paul00 View Post
So it appears that there will be a status match!
What would have been noteworthy would have been if UX would expect its flyers, who had status in the old programme, to start from nothing in the new programme.

That would be a crazy way to change programmes. It would actively ensure that most/all of its frequent flyers would not swap programmes.

Of course, many may choose not to anyway.
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