Alternatives to upgrade benefits

Old Jun 13, 2022, 2:17 pm
  #1  
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Alternatives to upgrade benefits

As those of you who have flown lately will know it's damn near impossible to get any form of upgrade clear on flights at present unless you're lucky enough to be an Elite and grab one of the few A or R spots at the time of booking. Flights are all chokka and I suspect we're probably going to see that being the case for at least the rest of the year due to the pent up demand for travel and so many people who are prepared to pay to travel in premium cabins.

For many people upgrades are one of the key benefits of spending the $$ each year to keep status, and while Air NZ have given status extensions there are still plenty of people out there at the moment who are still spending plenty of time sitting on planes and earning status. While Covid has changed the world and airlines are still losing money airlines still need to remember customer loyalty is a key part of recovery going forward.

I've had a couple of discussions with a few friends I still know at Air NZ in the last few weeks and while I can't imagine they would be necessarily be sold on giving away anything at present I'm curious what others would think of Air NZ offering something in the way of "compensation" for those who can't use upgrades.

Offering say free a free flight (where the passenger still has to pay the tax) to Aussie or the Islands in return for a RU would seem to be to be something that would be a nice gift to get. I see it as a good compromise option that would also encourage some people into flying again.

The downside is that it could prove too popular... Maybe it could be something offered to people only after an upgrade has been declined?

What do others think? I firmly sit on the fence here - it's great that travel is recovering again and we have to all accept that the pre Covid world we knew is not going to be the same for quite some time. Airlines like Air NZ can't help it that premium cabins are full because people are flying again and we know the the struggle to ramp up airlines to meet demand is real, but on the other hand many frequent flyers see upgrades as a benefit and if they're not going to get anything in return some are going to start getting grumpy. Something like this could make a good compromise.
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Old Jun 13, 2022, 3:04 pm
  #2  
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I just flew AKL-LAX-AKL in Y with a couple of GE gifted double RUs (Y->C both ways), all of which didn't clear. Saw a steady stream of others approaching the desk or gate to enquire whether upgrades had cleared. Chatting with a few, they expressed disappointment (rather than frustration) that the usual pre-covid pattern of RU clearance wasn't happening and that this diluted the benefits of flying/spending enough to gain RUs.

For many, the cabin upgrade is a key benefit, especially if company policy is Y or PE. Listening to Foran this morning on ZB radio, he indicated that more capacity comes online from July but that 'back to (new) normal won't be until year's end or early next year. Being able to use an RU seems likely to remain difficult for some time.

Besides a free flight as you propose, could the RUs be exchanged into APD? That might be useful for some, although could be interesting from a tax angle.
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Old Jun 13, 2022, 3:13 pm
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A free flight could be handy.

For the upcoming renewal year (August for me) know we are most probably past a free year stage. But may be a lower SP renewal number? Or convert APD into SP. I generally use APD for Elite upgrade or mitre 10 opposed to flights as generally need the points, so have a bunch at the moment from CC spend.

Or convert a set of RU into a % of SP required to renew.

My big earn is conferences & they are slowly ramping up again so the travel isn't quite there yet.
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Old Jun 13, 2022, 5:21 pm
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How would a free flight work for those of us in North America? We're already short-changed regarding benefits that come with status (parking vouchers are completely useless, no possibility of credit card earn, etc).

Regarding upgrades, on my upcoming trip I've already had 3 of 5 upgrade requests from Premium to Business clear - 2 long haul (one of which cleared at the time of booking) and MEL-AKL.
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Old Jun 13, 2022, 7:15 pm
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Perhaps double SP earn on a new flight booking made before the anniversary date, when the RU is declined OR when there is an aircraft downgauge and the RU is re-instated to your account (happened to me when using the shorthaul upgrade from Y to J on AKL-NAN)
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Old Jun 13, 2022, 7:28 pm
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I have long wished that we could have an alternative benefit, because we haven't used our RU's for years, hoping for upgrades was always too stressful. And not living in a "main centre", we can't use the parking vouchers. So we don't get great benefit out of both being Elite.
Cheap (and available) companion tickets in J would be great as an alternative, or free domestic connections to J flights.
Another thought would be parking vouchers for other than Auckland/Christchurch/Wellington.
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Old Jun 13, 2022, 7:34 pm
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A free domestic flight per RU, seems to be an good deal.

Its impossible to use the gold RUs on the Tasman currently. J/PE/Y all sell out weeks ahead on NZ.
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Old Jun 13, 2022, 8:46 pm
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Perhaps a differentiated lounge offering for Elite members in the AKL international terminal?
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Old Jun 13, 2022, 10:46 pm
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Originally Posted by samjnz
Perhaps a differentiated lounge offering for Elite members in the AKL international terminal?
This doesnt help the humble Gold
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Old Jun 14, 2022, 4:23 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by Thai-Kiwi
I just flew AKL-LAX-AKL in Y with a couple of GE gifted double RUs (Y->C both ways), all of which didn't clear. Saw a steady stream of others approaching the desk or gate to enquire whether upgrades had cleared. Chatting with a few, they expressed disappointment (rather than frustration) that the usual pre-covid pattern of RU clearance wasn't happening and that this diluted the benefits of flying/spending enough to gain RUs.

For many, the cabin upgrade is a key benefit, especially if company policy is Y or PE. Listening to Foran this morning on ZB radio, he indicated that more capacity comes online from July but that 'back to (new) normal won't be until year's end or early next year. Being able to use an RU seems likely to remain difficult for some time.

Besides a free flight as you propose, could the RUs be exchanged into APD? That might be useful for some, although could be interesting from a tax angle.
When you chattered to the disappointed did they say they were elite using their own RU or had been gifted the RU but were Jade/silver/gold ?
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Old Jun 14, 2022, 4:53 am
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Originally Posted by samjnz
Perhaps a differentiated lounge offering for Elite members in the AKL international terminal?
This was something I suggested to the powers that be many years ago when NZ were building their new lounge. I was told that their forecasts were that the new lounge would be more than adequate for projected passenger numbers. When it the new lounge opened we all know of the overcrowding issues...

My suggestion was to keep the old lounge for Gold/Star Alliance Gold/Koru/Star Alliance Business Class/Partner Airlines/Lounge Passes. For the new lounge, limit access to Elite/NZ Business Class/Star Alliance First Class.
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Old Jun 14, 2022, 1:32 pm
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Originally Posted by nzkarit
A free flight could be handy.

For the upcoming renewal year (August for me) know we are most probably past a free year stage. But may be a lower SP renewal number? Or convert APD into SP. I generally use APD for Elite upgrade or mitre 10 opposed to flights as generally need the points, so have a bunch at the moment from CC spend.

Or convert a set of RU into a % of SP required to renew.

My big earn is conferences & they are slowly ramping up again so the travel isn't quite there yet.
Everybody should still have a free banked year - it will be applied up until March 2023 so there are people who could still be Elite up until March 2024 without even flying.
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Old Jun 14, 2022, 2:00 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Beano
When you chattered to the disappointed did they say they were elite using their own RU or had been gifted the RU but were Jade/silver/gold ?
I was a recipient of a gifted GE RUs. I didn’t pay attention to whether the 2-3 I chatted with were S, G or GE and they didn’t say - and so I won’t guess.

Gold and Silver have their own RUs too…..
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Old Jun 14, 2022, 5:24 pm
  #14  
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It would be nice to get a free flight or conversion to apd for RUs attempted to be used but didn't get used by expiry.

This year I'm 1 success out of 6 attempts to use RUs. Through covid I have requalified through flying each year, with some banked years as well. So no assistance from Air NZ.
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Old Jun 14, 2022, 10:19 pm
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Originally Posted by LyingFlat
This was something I suggested to the powers that be many years ago when NZ were building their new lounge. I was told that their forecasts were that the new lounge would be more than adequate for projected passenger numbers. When it the new lounge opened we all know of the overcrowding issues...

My suggestion was to keep the old lounge for Gold/Star Alliance Gold/Koru/Star Alliance Business Class/Partner Airlines/Lounge Passes. For the new lounge, limit access to Elite/NZ Business Class/Star Alliance First Class.
I suggested exactly the same thing at the same time. The current lounge has been too small from the time it opened.
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