National carrier South African Airways has announced a few significant changes to its SAA Voyager program. In order to define it as the frequent flyer program of choice on the African continent, SAA announced the Re5 campaign at a launch held in Johannesburg.

The key changes are in line with the airline’s Long-Term Strategy. They aim to ensure about a quarter of the airline’s passenger market.

“Immediate interventions require to improve our customer value proposition. Also, to ensure customer retention in the highly competitive domestic, regional and international market” – said Nico Bezuidenhout, SAA Acting Chief Executive.

In addition, they have simplified the existing program. Dramatically taking into consideration issues members had with how miles were awarded, implemented and communicated.  

“Our members have spoken, experts and analysts have commented, and we have listened” – said Suretha Cruse, SAA Executive

The Re5 campaign rests on five key program changes. The most significant benefit change is the new earning system.

The New Earning Miles System

Re5 is now offering Voyager members a 5% percent return, including the fuel surcharge (previously had to be paid separately). This means a mile is earned in return for every R1.60 spent or to put it into context – R250 worth of miles are awarded for every R5 000 spent.

Previously, an SAA passenger traveling to a regional destination earn the same miles as a person traveling a domestic route with a similar distance. As a result, the prices considerably differentiate.

The Re5 campaign now aims to cement a better African footprint for the airline with a rewards system that is more balanced and fair. A nominal saving for the airline in the short term but nothing compared to the 20% increase members will have going forward,  considering the fuel levy previously charged had now been absorbed.

The Re5 Campaign and New Changes

1.  Earnings: Ticket Price vs Distance

All SAA Voyager members worldwide will earn Miles for travel on flights operated by SAA, based on the ticket price (base fare and fuel levy) rather than the distance traveled. Under the new SAA exclusive earning structure, all members will receive 1 SAA Voyager Mile per ZAR 1.60 spent. The accumulation of miles will count towards Tier status:

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum

Lifetime Platinum members will earn additional miles based on their status on the day of departure. SAA will furthermore no longer restrict its SAA Voyager members to a minimum or maximum amount of miles when traveling on flights operated by SAA.

2. Any Seat Redemptions

All SAA Voyager members worldwide will be able to spend their Miles for any available seat for travel on flights operated by SAA.

3. Redemptions: Base Fare and Fuel Levy

The redemption of Miles under this new structure will be applicable to the base fare and fuel levy. During the initial phase, SAA Voyager members will be able to use their Miles as full payment.              

4. The 5% Returns

Based on the new SAA exclusive earning and spending structure, Voyager members’ earn with a leading principle of at least 5% return on their SAA spent when requesting an SAA exclusive Dynamic Award for an SAA operating flight.

Therefore, if a Voyager member has spent R5 000 on SAA operating flights the value of R250 in loyalty Miles as a currency will be available to spend towards an exclusive Dynamic Award.

5. Elite Status Improving

As part of these changes, Voyager program improved the benefits of members based on their status.   

“SAA Voyager program strategic objectives are clear. We want to attract new and retain valued customers, by rewarding them fairly through the earning and spending of Miles. Of equal importance, our objective is to provide excellent customer service” – said Cruse

Conclusion

The earning and spending structure for flights within the Star Alliance network, codeshare airline partners, SAA marketing flights, SA Express, Mango, Airlink or Swaziland Airlink remains the same.  The Re5 campaign will also be supported by an elegant marketing drive which has been rolled out on board SAA’s aircraft and billboards.