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Thousands join frequent flyer

More than 15,000 Air Namibia passengers have registered for the airline’s frequent flyer programme since the programme was relaunched three years ago.
The frequent flyer programme is an industry practice which allows airlines to reward loyal customers by offering services and products as well as preferential treatment as a recognition of their loyalty and appreciation of the business relationship.
With the programme, passengers accumulate miles for every flight they take with Air Namibia. After accumulating a predetermined number of miles, passengers can then use these to either obtain a free ticket for themselves or for another person. They can also use the accumulated miles to pay for upgrades of their tickets to business class or for excess baggage.
To get a free ticket, passengers need a minimum of 15,000 miles on domestic routes, 19,430 miles on regional routes and 52,500 on international routes. When converted in monetary terms 1 mile is  approximately N$0.22 excluding taxes.
Currently, there are 15,402 active members in the Air Namibia frequent flyer programme of which 15,313 are individuals and 89 corporate members. Airline spokesperson, Paulus Nakawa said membership has been steadily growing at an average of 400 per month since the promotion was relaunched three and half years ago.
“This includes both individual as well as corporate registrations. We have members from across the world in all markets where we operate, including South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Germany, etc,” Nakawa said.
The programme was relaunched after the previous manual system was found not to be user friendly as passengers were required to keep boarding pass stubs to redeem their free miles. Also the airline had no record/database or clue on who its frequent flyer programme members were.
With the new automated system, members can register by filling in  forms manually or online. After registering, members receive a membership number and card which should be quoted with every booking.
Unused miles expire after five years, unlike other competing frequent flyer programmes whose miles expire after three years. Miles are transferable from one member to another. One member can donate his miles to a family member to help purchase a ticket in the event of the traveller not having enough miles on his account.
Corporates can register as members whenever their employees travel with an option for the miles to accrue to the company instead of to the employee which the company can keep as an asset for use to purchase future tickets. Arrangements can also be made for a split, where a portion of miles accrue to the company and a portion to the individual traveler.
Going forward, the airline said it plans to incorporate partners such as hotels and car rentals into the programme for members to be able to accrue points when using the specific partners and to get discounts on future services.
Air Namibia recently entered into a strategic partnership with the Protea Hotel Group in Namibia that has seen passengers qualify for a 50% discount on hotel accommodation for a maximum of three nights. The partnership, aimed at creating value for the airline’s clients by reducing the total cost of their trips, runs until 31 December 2013.
“It is a fact of life that provision of air transport services is expensive, and the cost of air tickets at times becomes high and prohibitive as a result. What we try to do as an airline is to help make tickets become affordable by creating value for our customers through rewarding of miles, and other discounts like the one we are offering in collaboration with the Protea Hotels in Namibia,” Nakawa said.

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