By now you’re probably aware of French all business class airline La Compagnie, which operates flights between Newark and Paris/London.
La Compagnie has just announced that they’re introducing a loyalty program, called MyCompagnie. And if you register for MyCompagnie by June 30, 2015, you’ll earn a welcome bonus of 10 points. Here’s how they describe the program by email:
Discover MyCompagnie, our new fidelity program, and cumulate points with every La Compagnie flight you take.These points can quickly add up to tickets on all our routes. The good news: if you activate your account by June, 30th, we will credit you with a welcome bonus of 10 points. What can we say? We’re feeling generous.
So how does MyCompagnie work?
Earn points with MyCompagnie
MyCompagnie offers a fixed number of points per trip, regardless of whether you fly one-way or roundtrip. The number of points you earn is based entirely on your fare class:
- Earn 5 Points per Full Flex ticket
- Earn 3 Points per Semi Flex ticket
- Earn 2 Points per Best Buy ticket
- Earn 1 Point per Promo ticket
That’s an interesting way of issuing points, since they award the same number of points whether you fly one-way or roundtrip. On one hand that seems a bit odd, though on the other hand it’s not necessarily unreasonable, given that on a per segment basis, one-way fares are typically significantly more expensive than roundtrip fares.
Redeem points with MyCompagnie
Now the big question is about redemption costs, an area in which MyCompagnie is pretty straightforward:
- 2o Points are required for a one-way ticket
- 40 Points are required for a roundtrip ticket
One thing La Compagnie doesn’t clarify is how many seats will be made available for awards. Given that a vast majority of their flights aren’t full, I would certainly hope that points can be used for just about any seat on the plane.
So the sign-up bonus of 10 Points is actually really generous, since that’s half of a one-way business class ticket.
MyCompagnie program terms
The above is interesting in and of itself, but what about the fine print? I’ve read through the general conditions of the MyCompagnie program, and based on that it seems like:
- Points are valid for three years from the date they’re issued. In other words, points seem to actually expire three years after when they’re issued, and not after three years of inactivity. So that’s a fairly restrictive policy.
- You can retroactively earn points for flights you’ve taken as far back as July 2014.
- When redeeming points, you’re still responsible for “taxes, fees, and surcharges” (hopefully not any sort of fuel surcharges).
- Award bookings have to be made by phone through La Compagnie’s call center.
- You can cancel award tickets up to 24 hours in advance for a cost of €50 for a one-way or €100 for a roundtrip. Within 24 hours of departure you can’t get a refund anymore.
Is La Compagnie’s MyCompagnie rewarding?
I’d say MyCompagnie is reasonably rewarding, depending on the type of traveler you are.
If you’re booking Full Flex tickets, then four paid one-way tickets is enough for a one-way award ticket.
Meanwhile if you’re booking Promo tickets, you’d need to book 40 tickets before you got a roundtrip award ticket.
The 10 Point sign-up bonus is quite generous, though, assuming you can fly La Compagnie enough in the next 36 months to earn the rest of the points needed for an award. And for that matter I think it’s smart of La Compagnie to offer such a big sign-up bonus, since it has the potential to engage travelers more.
So for a new all business class airline they could have certainly gone with a more generous program, given all of the other disadvantages of flying with them (them frequently canceling flights, their limited frequencies, etc.).
That being said, many similar airlines in the past haven’t had loyalty programs, so this is certainly better than nothing.
Kudos to La Compagnie for being a bit innovative and launching a loyalty program, even if it’s not the most generous in the world. But ultimately a loyalty program isn’t going to be La Compagnie’s unique selling proposition, as it’s an area where the legacy carriers offer plenty of value.
Instead, La Compagnie’s unique value proposition continues to be that they offer a (somewhat sub-par) business class product at close to economy prices, so are a fantastic value for anyone traveling on their own dime between New York and London/Paris.
Now we just have to see whether the points or the airline expire first. 😉
What do you make of La Compagnie’s new MyCompagnie program?