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Archive for August 22nd, 2009

SAS introduces fuel charge on award tickets Aug 22

As a member of the SAS Eurobonus program I got a bit of a shock when I got the news that SAS would introduce fuel surcharge when buying an award ticket. This means that I had to cough up almost 3000 kroner (about 500 USD) when getting an award ticket to Hong Kong. Lufthansa just had an offer where it was possible to buy a ticket to Hong Kong for 3500 kroner (580 USD) – this means that it is not really a point in using the frequent flyer points anymore unless you go for business or first class.

In connection with this a campaign has been started in order to try to convince SAS to go back on their decision but I have to say that I doubt they will change their mind as they are in economic problems these days. But we should still voice around opinion of course Below is an e-mail that you can send to SAS and international members should use stosn@sas.se

Dear SAS EuroBonus,

Since 2003, as EuroBonus members and loyal SAS customers, we have experienced a constant decline in the benefits and rewards of being a EuroBonus member and SAS customer. Unfortunately, we’re not the only ones who have experienced this which can be clearly seen in your market share of the Scandinavian market and also your recent traffic figures.

Fuel surcharge on EuroBonus award tickets
The latest occurrence in this steady decline is the introduction in July 2009 of adding the fuel surcharge to EuroBonus award tickets. The argument as to whether a fuel surcharge can legally be a separate charge in the first place is not of most concern to us as frequent flyers. What is of real concern is that the only remaining benefit that has made EuroBonus stand out from other frequent flyer programs – no fuel surcharge on award tickets – is now gone.

With this change, “free” EuroBonus tickets will now cost an extra 152 Euro (on average) on top of taxes, which is a 328% (on average) increase compared to just paying the taxes together with the points, and a devaluation of EuroBonus points by -34% (on average) in terms of their monetary value due to the points required remaining the same.

Also, by adding the fuel surcharge to award tickets you will be discouraging the spending of EuroBonus points on otherwise empty seats on SASSAS must pay for. Would it not be better to keep this money inside SAS by offering an incentive for your customers to spend their points with you instead of others?

EuroBonus no longer has anything that other frequent flyer programs do not also have, and worse – has many more negatives, such as:

No one-way reward flights
Other airlines offer the possibility to pay 50% of the points/miles for a one-way flight (e.g. bmi) while others take 70% of the points/miles (e.g. Lufthansa). However with SAS one must pay 100% of the points as one must book a return flight. Plus as of July 2009 one must pay the return fuel surcharge also – therefore paying twice the money just to fly one way – this is really bad practice.

25% points rule on too many booking classes
Earning 25% of points on the cheapest of the cheap tickets is understandable, but too many fare classes earn only 25% – many of these tickets are not at all cheap. Most other carriers are much more generous in awarding miles/points than SAS, and as you have made it more difficult to earn points, EuroBonus and SAS are now seen as worthless for some members in terms of rewarding loyalty.

Booking classes on Star Alliance codeshares
When booking a Star Alliance flight with SK code numbers, for example HEL-FRA-YYZ operated by LH/AC in Q class, the booking class for LH actually becomes L class, which earns 25% EB points instead of the 100% that one expected. This is misleading and should be fixed.

Poor elite recognition
As a EuroBonus Gold (EBG) there is no recognition once onboard the aircraft whatsoever. For example, other airlines block a middle seat if space is available for their Elite members (and even other partner Gold members), or provide a free snack and drink in Economy to all their Elite members on flights where there is Buy On Board (e.g. bmi).

If the experience onboard for a loyal EBG member flying short haul Economy with SAS is the same as flying Norwegian or Ryanair then there is little reason to chose SAS, and more reason to chose Norwegian or Ryanair in terms of price, and Lufthansa or Finnair in terms of better service and treatment.

This vicious circle of losing more and more market share is partly due to the gradual cutting away of the benefits and not being transparent to your best customers, to the point where we are lured away to fly with other better quality or cheaper carriers and to also use other better frequent flyer programs – thereby ignoring everything to do with SAS on the very mention of the word or view of the logo.

We understand that the current economic climate is tough and that this is the reason you introduced the fuel surcharge on award tickets, but by gradually making more and more negative changes to EuroBonus without also introducing any real improvements, particularly for your best customers (EBS and EBG members), SAS is slowly but surely losing more and more customers – more and more of your best customers who are the very ones you should be doing as much as possible to keep during these tough times.

We therefore hope that SAS will remove the fuel surcharge on award tickets as a priority, and thereafter fix the other above problem areas of EuroBonus, and by doing this, SAS will again have one of the best frequent flyer programs, that can make you win new customers and keep your old ones, making SAS once again the preferred carrier to and from Scandinavia.

Kind regards,

<Your name>
EuroBonus Member Number: EBX ### ### ###
flights. They will instead be spent on seats on partner carriers which

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