2017 Travel Retrospective and Resolutions

2017 has been a year of changes for many travelers.

Airline alliances worldwide are strengthening their links, and in Asia budget carriers are thriving even more.

Let’s take a brief look at the year that was (and ponder prospects for the one to come).

Fireworks at Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar

2017, The Year that Was

Asian Miler is Born

This humble blog has made a soft launch late in 2017, aiming to share tips and tricks to you readers about the world of travel hacking.

As of the moment there has only been a few posts here and there about alliances, loyalty programs and some deals. We hope that these have proven good references for your travel and point earning strategies.

Mile Program Devaluations

A few of the popular alliance programs have suffered mile devaluations in 2017.

Malaysia Airlines Enrich frequent flyer had a major mile devaluation in June, much to the chagrin of its members and the larger oneworld alliance. For its part, Star Alliance’s Singapore Airlines Krisflyer executed a two-part mileage devaluation exercise in March (for its own award chart) and December (for partner awards).

Point Promotions

Various point programs have offered some discounts or bonus deals on their programs. On this site we’ve shared holiday 2017 offers from Avianca LifeMiles, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

We emphasize that hotel and airline loyalty programs offer varying deals at different times of the year so it helps to pay attention and follow them. Or simply follow Asian Miler (we can’t emphasize this enough).

 

Prospects for the Year 2018

Rather than predictions, Asian Miler considers a number of possibilities in the coming year.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific has had business troubles over the past years, partly due to competition from airlines in mainland China. The company is still trying to contain costs while providing value in this competitive space.

As part of their recovery plans we think it’s quite possible to see a devaluation of the Asia Miles loyalty program. This, considering too that it’s been quite some time since they’ve made value changes in over a decade.

Expansion of the Value Alliance

This partnership of various low-cost carriers in Asia was formed in 2016, providing greater reach for their budget-minded travelers. Apart from TigerAir’s merge-exit under the Scoot brand this year, there has been little activity.

There are still various opportunities to expand cooperation with other similar airlines in the region. Maybe VietJet, Lion Air, TigerAir Taiwan or HK Express could become most welcome additions?

Philippine Airlines

Among the flag carriers of the founding states of the southeast Asian community ASEAN, Philippine Airlines is the only one not belonging to an international alliance.

News from the company’s executives and media outlets have outed negotiations of partnership with USA’s Delta Air Lines for joining the Skyteam, to no avail. Proximally and logistically speaking, however, Philippine Airlines’ hubs in Manila and Cebu are too near other Skyteam’s home airports of Jakarta and Makassar in Indonesia, and Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.

At Asian Miler we see better prospects for Philippine Airlines to join the oneworld alliance. There is major traffic between the Philippines and Hong Kong (home to Cathay Pacific) and Japan (home to Japan Airlines) owing to significant Filipino communities in these foreign countries. And, there are no American Airlines flying to or from any city in the Philippines. Which is a shame, as there are also major migrant communities in the USA.

Expansion of Loyalty Points Transfer Partners

In 2017, we’ve seen Citibank’s ThankYou rewards conversion partnership expand to Turkish Airlines Smiles & Miles and Avianca LifeMiles programs. This adds to the ever-growing partnership between the bank and members of the Star Alliance program.

Depending on which country you obtain your Citibank credit card, you are able to convert your points into most or all of the following:

  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Etihad Guest
  • Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Jet Airways JetPrivilege
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Will we see partnerships with Japanese airlines? Unlikely, thanks to Citibank selling its retail business a few years back. But we surely hope that the bank adds more Asian carriers as partners to its program.

 

Out with the Old, in with the New

We at Asian Miler have had a lot to ponder over the past months of our launch. But we are also excited about what we would find and share with you in the months and years to come. We hope that you, dear readers, will continue to stay with us on this journey of travel hacking (pun intended).

And so Asian Miler wishes you all a Happy New Year, and more rewarding travels and experiences ahead!