Jet Privilege's frequent flyer programme to be now known as InterMiles

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on November 14, 2019

File photo Synergy is eyeing a stake of at least 49 per cent in the airline   -  PTI

The programme will offer its 10 million members the opportunity to earn

Jet Privilege Private Limited (JPPL), the company which owns the frequent flyer programme of the grounded Jet Airways, has revamped it's business model and corporate brand. JPPL on Thursday announced that it's programme will now be known as InterMiles.

The programme will offer its 10 million members the opportunity to earn and redeem InterMiles, across travel, hospitality and lifestyle services across over 10 categories and 150 programme partners.

JPPL was set up as a separate, independent entity — part of the Etihad Aviation Group which holds 50.1 per cent stake and Jet Airways has a minority stake of 49.9 per cent — formed to market, develop and grow JetPrivilege – a loyalty and rewards programme.

After Jet Airways was grounded in April this year, JPPL had said that the JPmiles that could be redeemed only with Jet Airways, Etihad or a few associate airlines could be redeemed by flyers with other select flights along with utilising the miles on hotel stays, fuel and 2,500+ merchandise options on the JetPrivilege Reward Store.

Earlier, the ‘JPmiles’ which were earned by Jet Airways flyers could be redeemed only via flights. According to JPPL, “ over the last 5 years to expand from an airline-centric programme to emerging as an everyday travel-and-lifestyle rewards programme as discerning consumers have shifted beyond transactional rewards and cashback.”

Manish Dureja, Managing Director, Jet Privilege Pvt Ltd said, “We are embarking on a new journey with InterMiles. What started as a frequent flyer programme has, today, become the platform of choice that empowers our members to fulfill their travel and lifestyle aspirations. As we reinforce our commitment to the promise of making our members’ journey more fulfilling, our growth plan is focused on aggregating more benefits and simplifying access to a growing bouquet of experiences and rewards.”

The Jet Airways fiasco

After Jet Airways demise in April, Jet Privilege members had to burn 20-25 per cent more miles than usual because of the skyhigh airfares. The grounding of Jet Airways also slowed down the growth rate of Jet Privilege by 50 per cent, Manish Dureja, Jet Privilege Private Limited's (JPPL) Managing Director, told BusinessLine

JPPL had extended its program and offerings to its members to burn their JPmiles with hotels, other airlines and fuel. This, according to Dureja, was a big opportunity, “It brought us back to the drawing board to see what is the brand architecture, it’s value proposition for the members. That made us realise that this ‘interchangeability’ was giving more growth and progress for both the members and us.” said Dureja. 

The company has been planning this transition since March according to Dureja and has invested an undisclosed sum and has not raised any fresh equity for the same. JPPL, however, isn’t changing its corporate governance and will continue to function as InterMile under JPPL.

After Jet Airways ceased its operations, there was a considerable slack for JPPL. Most of the member acquisition used to happen at the airports, according to Dureja members were neither collecting the miles, nor were they burning it. It was impacting us and our members respectively. And that ended up impacting their growth strategy. 

“We had 9.4 million members in December last year, and we were adding close to 1,50,000 people every month. On one hand, now our growth rate was down by 50 per cent and on the other hand members were burning up to 20-25 per cent more miles because of increase in the airfares.”

In August, ED was probing foreign investment in the grounded carrier's loyalty programme, Jet Privilege Pvt. Ltd (JPPL). Dureja said that whatever information was required or we have provided all that information. “It’s a sad state of affairs at the moment with Jet Airways, however, more details can only come from them. We have done our part.”

Jet Airways was dragged to the insolvency court by the lenders of the airline in June. So far, there was only one suiter for Jet Airways, however, there has been no suiter who would like to invest for a stake in the airline. 

When asked if Jet Airways was to go into liquidation, would that impact JPPL, he said that the company will continue to operate with Etihad being the majority shareholder, which is very much interested in the company (JPPL). He added, “If one of the shareholder goes into liquidation, the controllers, and the resolution professional will decide what will happen to JPPL. It’s hard to speculate what will happen if and when Jet Airways goes into liquidation. Whether it goes into liquidation or not, the management has asked us to grow and expand the business, and we will continue to do so as InterMile. JPPL has always been a marketing company, and Etihad can hold a majority stake on it.”

Published on November 14, 2019

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