Cape Town - Although airline loyalty programmes undoubtedly work in encouraging members to fly with a specific airline, they are also a curse to SAA in particular because of the dissatisfaction they cause when a member with sufficient Voyager points cannot get the requested flight, especially one to a popular overseas destination on a specific date.
The loyalty programmes were introduced at a time when the number of frequent flyers was far lower than today and it was much easier to accommodate their requests.
I often get complaints about this, and they have increased since the high taxes charged by many governments and high costs charged by many airports reduce the advantage of saving on the fare. So SAA’s new partnership with Legacy Lifestyle, enabling members to use their Voyager points to save money on staying in upmarket hotels or buying expensive luxuries, makes membership of a loyalty programme far more worthwhile.
The advantages of this to the airline are obvious, but apparently the more than 200 businesses accepting Legacy Lifestyle rands that have been obtained with Voyager points are equally satisfied with the increased custom they are getting.
The Voyager points are exchanged for Legacy rands on a one-for-one basis by visiting www.voyagerbylifestyle.com and following the steps listed.
The Legacy brand partners cover a wide range of lifestyle businesses including accommodation, beauty, dining, entertainment, fashion, furniture, health, jewellery, spas, travel and wine estates. Brands include Hugo Boss, Pringle and Salvatore Ferragamo. Travel partners include Legacy hotels, Hunter hotels, Avis and Europcar.
Guests paying with Legacy rands at Legacy Lifestyle hotels get a 20 percent discount and further rewards based on their membership status, based on the amount of business they do through the programme.
Mango, SAA’s low-cost division, is again putting on special flights this summer timed to connect passengers with Mediterranean Shipping Company cruises leaving from Cape Town and Durban. In addition to flights between Cape Town and Durban, Mango will also take passengers to both ports from Joburg’s Lanseria Airport.
The MSC Opera is based in Durban for the cruising season and the MSC Sinfonia in Cape Town but, as the cruises they offer are different, many Capetonians will be going to Durban.
The weak rand is helping to make the cruises a particularly attractive alternative to flying overseas this summer and according to Alan Foggitt, marketing director of MSC Cruises in South Africa, the four-berth cabins for families with children – the children travel free – are already selling out. He said that by the beginning of this week those on the MSC Opera were already 67 percent booked and those on the Sinfonia 58 percent booked. Total bookings for the cruises were 80 percent ahead of last year, with 14 000 more passengers.
The cruise fare includes meals and a variety of entertainment every evening.
The Italian-owned ships, which cruise the Mediterranean in the European summer, give “a taste of the international but at a fraction of the price”, Foggitt said.
Chinese travel card
Bidvest Bank is the first in the world to launch a travel card denominated in Chinese yuan and in the year to June demand from South African travellers has nearly doubled, says Neil Capazorio, head of the bank’s card division.
He said demand for the card had proved higher than expected. It was impossible to say whether it came mostly from business or leisure travellers since China attracts both. It made sense to change rand directly into yuan rather than continue to go to the additional expense of first changing them into US dollars. - Weekend Argus