October 26, 2017
AirAsia has recently revamped its AirAsia BIG loyalty programme. The aim? To reward its loyal customers for making it the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline nine years in a row. Being a complete overhaul, we wanted to discover if it really lives up to its brand promise. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Freedom Flyer Programme.
Powered by AirAsia BIG Loyalty, the Freedom Flyer Programme (FFP) is based on a unique membership status system determined by how often you fly. Essentially, the more you fly with AirAsia, the faster you will move up the membership status and the more AirAsia BIG Points you can earn.
Therefore, this isn’t about converting your RM into AirAsia BIG Points like the previous loyalty scheme was built on. It truly takes on a “customer-first” approach by rewarding you for your loyalty regardless of how much you spend. Your continued patronage is more important to the low-cost airline and I like that approach! After all, companies don’t get to where they are without their loyal customers.
“Our Frequent Flyer Programme is the first of its kind in the world that is designed specifically for everyone. No matter who you are and what you do, our FFP is our way of saying thank you for making AirAsia great. This is for you.”
– AirAsia BIG Loyalty CEO Dato’ Eddy Leong
The airline says it makes becoming a member easier, it’s free for life, you can earn points faster, your loyalty is better rewarded, and BIG Points can now fly you further. Does it really though? Let’s take a look.
The FFP takes into account your flight activity in the previous 12 months. Based on that, you will fit within one of the four membership statuses – Red, Gold, Platinum, Black.
Here’s a breakdown of each status and it is based on the number of one-way flights you have travelled on.
For example, the Red status means you have flown 13 (or less) one-way flights in the last 12 months. If you’re a frequent flyer and often take AirAsia for flights in Malaysia, this should be easy! And if you want to upgrade yourself to the Gold status, you need to ensure you travel between 14-23 one-way flights in the last 12 months. We like how the tiered membership is laid out very transparently plus membership upgrades happen immediately once you meet the requirements.
This is different from the traditional frequent flyer programmes which rewards you based on how much you spend on the fare, the flight distance, and your membership status. Essentially, if you meet the minimum qualifying flight requirement, you will be rewarded. This generally means the more elite you are, the better your benefits and privileges which leave many of us eyeing the Black members with a bit of envy.
However, it seems like AirAsia has done away with this traditional model and has made it an equal playing field for all. There is no ‘social status’ with the FFP and as long as you fly with the airline, you will be rewarded.
Anyone can be a member and best of all, membership is free for life. All you have to do is register via the AirAsia BIG Loyalty mobile app or log onto www.airasiabig.com.
“AirAsia is about freedom. When my partner Datuk Kamarudin and I started AirAsia, we dreamed of democratising air travel so flying would no longer be a luxury only a few could enjoy. We wanted to give everyone the freedom to fly.”
– AirAsia Co-Founder and AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes
Let’s get down to what it’s really all about. Many of us just want to earn BIG Points faster so we can redeem free or cheaper flights (excluding airport tax and other fees) and make our travel goals a reality. So, how does this work?
There are a couple of ways you can earn BIG Points:
Let’s first focus on the loyalty programme. Stay tuned for upcoming articles that will go into details on the other 4 ways.
But let’s take a look at a real flight example to understand how this really works.
I head over to the AirAsia mobile app and select a return flight for KL-Bangkok. I opt for the Low Fare flights and my total fare adds up to RM501.90.
According to AirAsia BIG, here’s the difference in earn rate when you opt for a Low Fare or Premium Flex/Premium Flat Bed category.
NOTE: It’s important to note that the numbers stated is the maximum earn rate. This means you could earn less than the maximum within your membership category as it depends on the underlying fare class. For RED membership, for example, you could earn BIG Points between 0.5x to 1.5x per RM1 spend.
For this example, let’s take the maximum of each membership tier to calculate the number of BIG Points we can earn.
The formula used is: Flight Fare X Earn Rate Based on Membership Tier = BIG Points.
If I’m a RED Member, it would be RM501.90 x 1.5 earn rate = up to 753 BIG Points.
Up to 1.5x
Up to 3x
Up to 5.5x
Up to 10x
|Up to 753 Points||Up to 1,506 Points||Up to 2,760 Points||
Up to 5,019 Points
Even better, if I were to add-on a meal purchase for RM30, the same earning multiplier applies. This means that if I’m in the RED, I would earn RM30 X 1.5 = 45 BIG Points.
As you can see, the revamped structure does make earning BIG Points a lot quicker and easier. Essentially, your earn rate is applied consistently across all your spending.
The airline also promises to reward you with member-exclusive privileges in a way that no other low-cost airline has done. Sound too good to be true?
I thought so too, but upon closer inspection, there are multiple ways you can redeem AirAsia BIG Points that will benefit all of us fellow travel junkies. Here’s how:
With features like the AirAsia BIG Points calculator and Membership Status Discounts coming soon, we are eager to see how much better the Freedom Flyer Programme can get. But upon the first review, it is a huge improvement and definitely puts customer’s first – accelerated earn structures, flight redemptions with exclusive sneak-peak previews for AirAsia BIG Members, and the opportunity to fly for as little as 0 AirAsia BIG Point. Truly a first of its kind.