I recently got a fortunate chance to attend the launch of an interesting frequent flyer programme by Air Asia called “Freedom Flyer” . This unique loyalty scheme rewards you with free flights (both domestic and international), based on the no of flights you take irrespective of how much you spend on fares. Incidentally this Freedom Flyer programme is a completely revamped & much rewarding version of the earlier Big Loyalty scheme that AirAsia offered.
Strategy of Air Asia : A success story of being the World’s # 1 Low Cost Carrier
The concept of low cost carriers started from Southwest Airlines in the US which offered fares as low as 19-25$ . From there the strategy caught on to the rest of the world. Air Deccan started in India to offer such cheaper fares ( though the taxes part was the biggest brunt). Once that airline closed its door as well after being acquired, it became quite clear that the price point was the only thing that kept people from flying. This led to a rise of Low Cost Carriers segment , which is presently dominated by Air Asia throughout the Asian country segments including Malaysia, India, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan etc. By offering international tickets from India for as low as 3500 INR (55$), this was a revolution in international budget travel. They got the # 1 spot in the Skytrax awards for World’s best low cost carrier as well.
I had a golden opportunity to interact with the CEO, Mr.Tony Fernandes and here’s a short takeaway from the interview:
While on a trip to India, he understood that people would love to fly but the soaring airprices kept them away, thanks to the full service business carriers. Instead they had to settle for a 24-48 hour train journey. You were indirectly paying for someone’s extra luggage or an expesive non vegetarian meal, through your costly flight ticket. When you take away the extras, keep everything else as optional and pass on that price advantage to the passenger, you then touch a price point. A price that was reasonable, affordable by everyone. This point was the motto for their “Now Everyone can fly” campaign.
A fantastic dream to put every person to get to fly and he has succeeded to do that in several countries across Asia. I myself have gotten lucky and have got cheaper international flight tickets in AirAsia. This was from Chennai to Bangkok at a price of 3200 inclusive of taxes one way (which was 60% cheaper than any other airline).
What is the Freedom Flyer Programme?
This is the first and only frequent flyer programme by a low cost carrier (atleast from my what I researched) The frequent flyer programme is primarily based on the frequency of AirAsia flights you take.
- As a first sign up for free to the programme at www.airasiabig.com (If you are already a Air Asia Big member, you can confirm the profile and your accumulated points so far).
- Every flyer is classified into one among the below 4 categories (starting with Red)
- Taken <13 flights – Red Zone
- Taken 14-23 Flights – Gold Zone
- Taken 24-49 Flights – Platinum Zone
- Flown >50 Times – Black Zone
(If you take a fly-thru or with a stopover or a return flight, it’s counted as 2 individual flights). So once you move up the category from say Red to Gold, you get to earn 2X Big points. This means half the no of flights needed to earn a free international trip!
You may also wanna read the article written by Aditi, a fellow travel blogger who accompanied me to this programme.
Earning Big Points in the Frequent Flyer Programme
For every 155rs of your AirAsia ticket price, you get 20 points if you are in Red zone. For the same 155rs, you’ll however get 40 points, if you are a gold member and so forth.
So assuming if you are booking a Bengaluru – Goa flight for say 4500 INR, you get roughly 600 points for a single way. Now 4-5 flights later, you find yourself with 3000 points. This is more than enough to redeem for a Goa trip ! An international trip to Malaysia or other countries starts from 7500 points.
You can also earn the above Big points by spending on selected credit cards, hotel booking sites like Agoda etc. I just got to know that all my purchases at the KLIA2 Gateway mall carries Big Points as well 🙂
How to Redeem Big Points
2.Based on the no of Big points you accumulate in your profile, keep checking for the flights you might eligible to redeem in the AirAsiaBig website.
3. If you want to make full use of the points , you can wait for the various sales that happens. Some of them are listed below
- “Free Seats” sale : You can get seats for 0 points , if you can be fast enough to claim those seats. I found these 0 points tickets in the previous sale
- Big Sale : Applicable only for “Air Asia Big Members”. These seats can be claimed at more than 90% discounted rates ( Do check out my previous post on Air Asia Mega Sale)
- “Final Call Sale”: Priority access to other sales that happen in the website.
Best part of the ticket redemption process is even if you dont have enough points, you get the option of “Big Points + Cash” to do a seat redemption.
Have you signed up yet?
Disclaimer – Point of views written above is strictly from my own views and not biased in any manner.