Malaysia Airlines Makes A Mindless Devaluation To Their Frequent Flyer Program

Early in 2015, Malaysia Airlines made some very negative changes to their Enrich frequent flyer program, where they devalued it on both the earning and redemption side. While frequent flyer programs get devalued over time, I really couldn’t wrap my head around Malaysia Airlines devaluing, given their situation.

Malaysia-Airlines-Lounge-Kuala-Lumpur - 43

You’d think they would do anything they can to retain loyal flyers, rather than giving them fewer benefits when they’re already struggling to get people on the airline. It’s one thing if Malaysia’s Enrich program were the most rewarding program out there, but it was subpar before the changes, so making it even worse just seems like a bad idea.

Now Malaysia Airlines has made another devaluation, which they’ve buried in their July newsletter to members (best I can tell they haven’t published it elsewhere):

Greater redemption rewards are coming your way exclusively as an Enrich member! Effective 1 August 2016, our 15% online redemption will no longer be applicable as we have bigger and better rewards especially in store for you. Stay tuned for an even greater and enriching travel and lifestyle experience.

Malaysia-Enrich

So as of August 1, 2016, Malaysia Airlines Enrich will no longer offer a 15% online booking discount for members booking awards on Malaysia Airlines (this benefit never applied to booking partner airlines). This is also something that Singapore Airlines offers, and they certainly haven’t eliminated it (yet).

You’ve gotta love how they market this — “You Deserve More Than 15% Off!”

How much do you want to bet they won’t actually be consistently introducing promotions offering more than 15% off anytime soon?

For more information about these changes you can check out the FAQs Malaysia Airlines published.

What’s crazy is that with these changes, an award ticket on a partner airline will in many cases cost less than an award ticket on Malaysia Airlines.

Here’s the award chart for travel on Malaysia Airlines:

Malaysia-Enrich-2

Meanwhile here’s the award chart for travel on oneworld partner airlines:

Malaysia-Enrich-1

So for example, a one-way business class ticket ranging 4,801-7,200 miles would cost 66,000 miles on a partner airline, and 75,000 miles on Malaysia Airlines. Hmmmm…

Bottom line

I just can’t wrap my head around Malaysia Airlines doing things like this to annoy their loyal members. If Malaysia is going to be successful beyond the origin & destination market of Kuala Lumpur they need a compelling loyalty program, so negative changes like this aren’t going to help.

I’ll be curious to see if Malaysia actually introduces other discounts and promotions that end up making this a net positive. I highly doubt it…

Comments

  1. Another nail in the coffin, of an airline I used to dearly love. They gave me absolutely no reason to use them to get points after the devaluation – and it seems like they’re headed deeper into the rabbit hole.

  2. Yes it’s not helping the airline directly. I recently used their points to fly First and business on BA and QR, because the points required for Oneworld airlines are much much less than for MH. I’m not sure if it draws more people to fly MH just so that they can redeem oneworld award flights.

    MH has reduced a lot of priviledges in recent years. I hope thay are hiring the right people for the job and bring back the glory the airline once had.

  3. Not sure if they do this anymore but back then there was one day in December when they had a 50% off sale on their Enrich award redemptions on MH flights.

  4. Let’s be honest, the world of people for whom a Malaysia Airlines frequent flyer program makes sense/ drives business is probably VERY small. Those people will probably no matter what fly Malaysia Airlines anyway, either because 1) they’re going to KL and they’ve got the best schedule or 2) there’s no other choice. For those who are just using the Enrich program to churn miles one way or another and not actually flying Malaysia Airlines, the airline is better of by doing this.

  5. QANTAS is doing its best to screw them: devalued earning on Malaysia about 18 months ago and now it doesn’t even appear as a choice in the drop down calculator on the QANTAS site: you have to go to the full calculator to work out earnings ( and business only accrues @ flexible economy rate). QF trying to kill any success they might have on kangaroo route Australia- Europe.
    They have nowhere to go other than try to make something of being ‘cheap and cheerful’, at least in the medium term.

  6. And this is why most credit cards in Malaysia which used to only give Enrich Miles now also give Asia Miles or Krisflyer miles. It’s rather short sighted from them and very stupid since it means that they’re training Malaysians to no longer value Malaysia Airlines but instead to look at Cathay Pacific (which even often has extra offers for bank customers there) or Singapore Airlines.

    They do sometimes run big promotions with 50% off on the redemption rates but even with that their first class is way too expensive.

    It’s really a pity since before the two crashes, they used to be a great airline in term of service. Their service was never polished but was cheerful and friendly. And on the contrary to some airlines, the flight attendants were always approachable at the galley and ready to chat. The A380s they had were also quite comfortable.

  7. @wooo – nice one, LOL

    Of course the difference of miles charges will be siphoned into an offshore company and used to book first class travel for najib’s circle of family & friends….
    They need to make this look like nonsense just like the 1MDB! Else everyone will easily see through their scheme! LOL…

    One plus left: The food in MAS lounge is still much better than the food offered in US Airline lounges….

  8. flew with MH last month to Sydney, only 30 people on the flight, the food uneatable, the crew didn’t want to be there… if the crew don’t want to be there, so what are the flight crew attitudes are. Don’t fly on this airline,

  9. Funny thing I tried today Cash+Miles which gave me 11800 miles + 837$ = 1250$ per ticket,
    When I select the same flights the normal fare was $919

    So stupid calculations, can’t imagine what their maths is – just waste of time taking their membership

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