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April 20, 2024
Aviation

Air India Transforms ‘Flying Returns’ Loyalty Programme to Offer Greater Ease, Rewards, and Recognition to Members

Air India Transforms 'Flying Returns'
  • Flying Returns moves away from miles-flown approach to adopt spend-based model
  • No points expiry for active members
  • No blackout dates and always-available award ticket inventory with ‘Cash+Points’ redemption option
  • Same Tier privileges, collection and redemption across Star Alliance partner airlines worldwide
  • New customer-friendly digital interface to provide a one-stop-platform for transactions

Air India today launched its transformed Flying Returns loyalty programme, introducing a simplified new structure, more customer-friendly features, renamed tiers, and an updated identity. The revamped Flying Returns prioritizes greater ease, more rewards, and recognition for Members, while offering them instant global status and privileges around the world.

In its first overhaul in more than a decade, Flying Returns moves away from the legacy model of miles-based collection of points to a fairer, more equitable spend-based approach.

Flying Returns Members will be able enjoy the benefits of the new programme and collect points based on the new structure, starting today.

“The revamp of Flying Returns is an important step forward in the way the ‘new’ Air India intends to serve and delight customers. We spent the past year listening, gathering insights from over 50,000 customers, and benchmarking our program against the best loyalty offerings out there. This deep dive, coupled with a complete digital overhaul, has resulted in a much stronger and value-delivering programme that we are proud to present today,” said Nipun Aggarwal, Chief Commercial & Transformation Officer, Air India.

“We are confident that this evolution of Flying Returns, along with more strengths we will add to the programme in due course, will elevate it to the forefront of global loyalty programmes.”

Some highlights of the reimagined Flying Returns programme are as follows:

  • Spend more, earn more: With Flying Returns now becoming a spend-based programme, the amount of Flying Returns Points that Members will be able to collect per flight will now be based on the amount they spend on a ticket rather than the distance they fly, thus delivering greater value for money spent over miles flown.
  • Evergreen Points: Flying Returns Points will now never expire, as long as a Member takes at least one flight on Air India every 24 months, regardless of their Membership Tier level.
  • No blackout dates and no restrictions: Members can redeem Flying Returns Points to purchase any Air India seat that is available for sale; there are no restrictions.
  • Cash+Points: Members will now be able to pay for their Award flight using a combination of Flying Returns Points and cash, thus providing greater flexibility.
  • Global reach and value: As India’s most globally connected loyalty program, Flying Returns offers its Members the ability to earn or redeem points on 25 other Star Alliance partner airlines across the world. This global network comprises among the very best airlines for quality and service in their respective regions and enables members to redeem for flights to over 700 destinations worldwide.
  • Global status: Members will also enjoy their Flying Returns Tier privileges across all Star Alliance member airlines worldwide, as well as access to 1000+ lounges across the world for those with applicable Membership Tier levels.
  • Renamed Membership Tiers: Flying Returns will continue to offer four Membership Tier levels that have been renamed: Red (from ‘Base’), Silver (from ‘Silver Edge’), Gold (from ‘Golden Edge’), and Platinum (from The Maharaja Club).
  • Priority and premium one-stop member service: Silver, Gold, and Platinum members will have access to a one-stop member service contact centre that will provide a seamless experience in immediately addressing any member inquiries and requests.


More Options for More Members – Flying Returns, in its new avatar, has more to offer to everyone with new features such as:

  • Family Pool: Members will be able to combine their Flying Returns Points with others in their family, for free, enabling them to redeem for travel sooner.
  • The benefit of booking direct: Members will earn 2 additional bonus Flying Returns Points for every INR 100 spent in booking flights directly on Air India’s website (airindia.com) or mobile app.
  • More options to collect Flying Returns Points: Members can now also collect Flying Returns Points across a wide range of Air India’s non-airline partners, including car rentals, hotel stays, shopping, lifestyle experiences, and more.

Air India will – in due course – introduce new co-branded credit cards as well as partnerships with other popular brands to offer extensive travel benefits and privileges to Flying Returns Members.

The below chart details the features and privileges that come with each of the four Flying Returns Membership Tiers:

Member BenefitsRedSilverGoldPlatinum
Qualification CriteriaNA15000 Points or
30 Flights
30000 Points or
60 Flights
45000 Points or
90 Flights
Earn on Air India, Star Alliance flights and lifestyle partnersYesYesYesYes
Spend points on Air India and Star Alliance flightsYesYesYesYes
Enrolment Bonus1000 PointsNANANA
Priority & Premium one-stop Customer ServiceNAYesYesYes
Fee waivers on itinerary changes* – Domestic on AINAFlat fee of
INR 1000 per ticket
1 free change per ticket up to 24 hours before departure2 free changes per ticket up to 24 hours before departure
Fee waivers on itinerary changes* – International on AI and StarNANA1 free change per ticket up to 72 hours before departure2 free changes per ticket up to 24 hours before departure
Fee waivers on itinerary cancellations* – Domestic on AINANAFlat Fee of
INR 1,199 up to 24 hours before departure
Free up to 24 hours before departure
Discount on seat selection* – AI operated flightsNA50% off on standard seat on domestic sector only (promotional offer)100% off on standard seats across network100% off on all seats across network
Fly Early* benefit at airport- Domestic on AINANAYesYes
Priority check-in at dedicated countersNAYesYesYes
Excess Baggage Allowance on Air India flights**NA+10 kg (promotional offer)+20 kg or 1 Piece up to 23 kg+20 kg or 1 Piece up to 23 kg
Lounge Access (with 1 guest) at AI Owned / Star / Contracted loungesNANAYesYes
Priority BoardingNAYesYesYes
Priority Baggage DeliveryNAYesYesYes
Cabin Upgrade vouchers* – Domestic for Air India flightsNA1 upgrade voucher2 upgrade vouchers3 upgrade vouchers

*T&Cs Apply

Earn Structure

Reward Points and Tier Points shown here are per INR 100 spent. Members receive additional
2 bonus Reward Points per INR 100 across Tiers for direct bookings on the Air India website and mobile app.

Launched in 1994, Air India’s Flying Returns programme boasts a long history, making it India’s oldest frequent flyer programme. The programme was last updated in 2012.

In the last 90 days, Air India started the rollout of its new global brand identity across guest touchpoints, launched a new consumer-facing website and mobile app, unveiled a new collection of uniforms for cabin and cockpit crew designed by Indian celebrity couturier, Manish Malhotra, and inducted the Airbus A350 aircraft into its fleet.

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