Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel contests, tips, series, or news.
Today (October 23, 2015): Travel Tip: collect FREE flights with Brussels Airlines.
As a Belgian, I was very happy to learn this week that Brussels Airlines, which is Belgium’s flag carrier and largest airline, launched a new loyalty program, designated LOOP. While it still does not come close to my favorite frequent flyer program in the world – AAdvantage (read here why I love AAdvantage so much) – it will offer a valuable alternative to the pathetic Miles & More program that Brussels Airlines will continue to use in parallel to LOOP. The new program is built around two principles: simplicity and allowing passengers to get what they want most as fast as possible – a free flight. It will especially award those flying economy in short-haul.
To give you some background, SN Brussels Airlines was founded after the bankruptcy of Sabena, and later fused with Richard Brandson’s Virgin Express to become Brussels Airlines as it is known today. The airline is headquartered at Brussels Airport and flies to over 70 destinations in Europe, but is mainly known for its African connections where it is one of the major players on the markets. In 2009, Lufthansa took a minority share in Brussels Airlines and as a result, Brussels Airlines joined Star Alliance and, unfortunately, started using Miles & More as its frequent flyer program. Unfortunately indeed, because Miles & More underwent major devaluations over the last years and the program became worthless in terms of advantage for frequent flyers. Some even call it Miles & Less and the devaluations have drastically reduced the pool of Lufthansa’s most loyal customers. Sometimes a paid ticket on flight is cheaper as compared to the taxes and fees that you pay for a Lufthansa (or Swiss, Austrian or Brussels Airlines) award ticket on the same flight.
Here are some key points about LOOP (as explained on its official website and the Brussels Airlines press release) and some information why LOOP wants to break with conventions of the traditional frequent flyer programs:
- LOOP is available for all flights in the European network of the airline. The new customer program is designed for the increasing number of passengers that flies Brussels Airlines regularly within Europe and does not receive significant benefits from traditional frequent flyer programs.
- For each euro spent on Brussels Airlines flights (excluding airport taxes), customers receive three LOOPs, which is what the points in the loyalty program are called. At the occasion of the launch of LOOP, each euro will temporarily be worth 6 LOOPs (until 31 December 2016).
- Comparable with a fidelity card in a supermarket, travelers can use these LOOPs to book new flights. It will typically take around five return flights or 5,000 LOOPs to book a European Brussels Airlines award flight.
- Up to five family members living under the same roof can collect LOOPs together, in order to have access to a free flight even faster.
- Restrictions on when points can be used are a thing of the past, as there are no blackout dates.
- In case you do not have enough LOOPs, you can pay in part with points, in part with money.
- LOOPs never expire, as long as the participant flies once a year with Brussels Airlines within Europe.
- In LOOP, there are no status levels, nor a member card.
- Customers can simultaneously participate to Miles & More and LOOP, but they do need to choose whether they want to earn LOOPs or Miles & More miles when flying with Brussels Airlines within Europe.
This is an excellent improvement of Brussels Airlines! IYou should consider this as 17% discount since you will earn a return economy ticket for every five European return flights,
Enjoy the weekend and stay tuned for Monday when I reveal a new top 10 travel list.
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