Michael C. emailed me about changes to the CSA Czech Airlines OK Plus program, which I verified on Milepoint.
I normally don’t cover minor European frequent flyer programs much, although there are occasionally areas of strong value in them, I’ve long written about bmi and even made occasionally mention of the Turkish program for easy Star Alliance Gold qualification and some sweet spots in their award chart.
But most of my readers don’t have a keen interest, judging from the comments and the feedback by email that I’ve gotten.
This is important, though, because it illustrates the draconian changes that can happen with little notice, and there’s more than a little schadenfreude.
- Each mile expires 24 months after being earned.
- All miles expire if you don’t take a Czech flight every 24 months.
- Business class upgrades cost more miles.
- Crediting flight to OK Plus’ corporate program means no mileage earning for the passenger.
- Elite status now requires at least 2 Czech flights in a calendar year, you can’t earn status just by crediting flights on partners.
- Platinum members no longer get guest lounge access vouchers for friends.
- Platinums get to nominate a Gold member, but now to be eligible that person must have already flown a Czech flight.
- Platinums will only get lounge access when actually flying with Skyteam.
Usually when an airline is in financial trouble, the best strategy is to double down on the loyalty program, to leverage it for more business. After all, the airline is in control of the value of the currency and only will have redemption costs later, if the carrier makes it through troubled waters.
Viewing the loyalty program as an area ripe for cost cutting seems self-defeating, since it also affects the carrier’s revenue stream.
Clearly the folks at Czech think otherwise.