Frequent Flyer Program Gets New Features From Philippine Airlines

Mabuhay Miles, the frequent flyer program of Philippine Airlines, has added a raft of new program features.

Designed to enhance convenience and rewards for its over 2 million members worldwide, burnishing its reputation as one of the industry’s most generous frequent-flyer programs.

In recent months, Mabuhay Miles has introduced mileage redemption on PAL Express flights; launched a co-branded credit card in partnership with Allied Bank and Mastercard; and added several program partners, including top hotels and banks.

Other innovations include an easy-to-navigate website, service-class upgrade awards on domestic flights, and a unique “miles transfer” scheme that allows the movement of miles between member accounts.

frequent flyer program  philippine airlines

“The upshot of all these is to make it much easier for our members to earn miles and enjoy the perks,” said Felix J. Cruz, PAL vice president for marketing support.

He pointed out that Mabuhay Miles, launched in 2002, is already well known in industry circles as a member-friendly program that compares favorably with competing frequent flyer programs.

Cruz cited a significant fact – while miles banked under Mabuhay Miles have a three-year lifespan, consistent with industry practice, the policy is still much more beneficial than other frequent flyer programs.

Northwest Airlines’ WorldPerks program, for instance, terminates a member’s account, including all miles accumulated therein, if it is inactive for three years.

More importantly for Mabuhay Miles members, PAL allocates more seats per flight for award tickets than do Northwest Airlines and most other carriers. This gives them greater opportunities to fly free to more destinations from Manila than any other FFP.

“There are no blackout dates for award travel,” said PAL assistant vice president for product loyalty marketing Ma. Barbara Aragon, highlighting another key attribute of Mabuhay Miles vis-à-vis other frequent-flyer programs.

“Also, even if our members have just a limited number of miles, because of our extremely low award-redemption requirement they can already fly free,” she added.

Mabuhay Miles awards start at 3,000 miles for a one-way domestic ticket on economy class between Manila and some provincial points.

For international award travel, Mabuhay Miles also boasts an easily attainable threshold on many popular routes. In fact, among major Asian FFPs, the PAL loyalty program offers the lowest requirement for a trans-Pacific award ticket, said Cruz.

A Mabuhay Miles member needs just 60,000 miles to travel on economy class and 90,000 miles to fly on business class between Manila and Los Angeles.

In comparison, Malaysia Airlines’ frequent flyer program requires 90,000 miles for economy-class and 120,000 miles for business-class award tickets between Kuala Lumpur and Los Angeles.

Thai Airways’ frequent flyer program is even more stringent: it stipulates 90,000 miles for coach and 140,000 miles for business-class travel between Bangkok and Los Angeles.

Overall, Aragon noted, Mabuhay Miles boasts some of the most generous features among airline frequent flyer programs, including:

* Instant enrollment online through the dedicated website frequent flyer program

* Faster and easier award redemption procedures. Members need as few as 3,000 miles for a free one-way domestic award ticket and a minimum of 15,000 miles for a round-trip international award ticket – well below industry norms.

* Ease in upgrading membership status to Elite and Premier Elite levels.

* Enhanced benefits and privileges for elite-level members.

* SportsPlus, an optional subscription-based program for sports enthusiasts, which offers extra free baggage allowance on PAL flights for sports equipment such as golf, bowling, scuba diving, sport fishing, cycling, tennis and badminton gear.

* A host of mileage-earning opportunities through flight and non-flight partners.

“Despite challenging times for the airline sector globally, Mabuhay Miles is not standing still,” said Cruz. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve our services and please our members.”

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