Malaysia Airlines Enrich program has sent an email to members this week announcing changes to their award program.
Namely, Enrich Miles will now expire 36 months after they were earned, rather than three calendar years, beginning with miles that would have expired in 2015. It’s worth clarifying that in the Enrich program, miles expire regardless of whether there’s account activity or not — so it’s not easy to just extend the expiration date by making one “transaction,” as we often do with US programs.
Any miles earned in 2012 would previously have been valid through December 31st of next year, though with the new changes Malaysia Enrich miles will expire three years after they’ve been earned:
While not nearly as dramatic as the Thai Airways Royal Orchid award chart changes a few weeks ago, this is still an unfortunate devaluation. Most irritatingly, these changes will be retroactive, and are being made without notice.
This is a minor change in comparison to others we’ve seen recently, and while this isn’t a popular program for US-based flyers, Malaysia Enrich is a transfer partner for the Australian Membership Rewards program, and has quite a following in Southeast Asia.
Program changes that happen without notice are bad for consumers, and damaging to loyalty programs as a whole.
While the new rules seem to be based on common sense, having the expiration dates be retroactive is particularly harsh, in my opinion.
If nothing else, however, I have to give the marketing department at Malaysia kudos for perfectly capturing the sad stickiness of the situation with their choice of stock art for the FAQ:
I totally see why airlines need to control the earnings side of the mileage equation. The greatest argument against revenue based programs is that airlines with award charts have so much control over award redemptions, in terms of expiration dates, earnings rates, redemption rates, etc. And that’s also why I’m confident the US legacies won’t go revenue based on the redemption side. So ultimately I can appreciate programs having to “optimize” earnings rates in their favor to keep programs sustainable and profitable, though I wish it wouldn’t involve retroactive changes.
This is also a good reminder to use a service like AwardWallet to track your miles and expiration dates!
(Tip of the hat to Loyalty Lobby)