A new series of unbundled business class fares coming to market pushes many frequent flyer benefits to the side. For those religious about loyalty programs, the fares are worth avoiding.
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It used to be that frequent flyers could heartily rely on business class fares for earning healthy rewards, including lounge access, premium meals, frequent flyer miles, and points for elite status. With a new crop of unbundled business class fares reaching the market, however, that’s no longer guaranteed.
On June 12 Emirates became the first international carrier to unbundle its business class fares, giving passengers the option to buy ancillary services like meals, lounge access, and seat selection for an additional fee upon purchase. At the lowest end of that spectrum of fares, travelers get neither lounge access nor the ability to upgrade to first class. Additionally business class travelers in that fare class also receive the same number of reduced frequent flyer miles that premium passengers in economy receive.
Lufthansa is also starting the unbundling process. In plans revealed for its 777X widebody aircraft last week, the carrier also shared that it’s going to start charging for seat selection in business class.
As airlines continue to disassemble traditional fare structures, frequent flyers will need to be extra diligent to ensure that the rewards that they expect continue to return.
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
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Grant Martin [[email protected]] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. He is a director of product marketing at TripActions. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.
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Photo credit: An Emirates A380 aircraft. 342520 / 342520