EuroBonus

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EuroBonus is the frequent flyer program of the SAS Group. It was launched by Scandinavian Airlines in 1992.

Airline partners[edit]

SAS Group[edit]

Star Alliance partner airlines[edit]

Other airline partners[edit]

Hotel partners[edit]

Other partners[edit]

Membership levels[edit]

EuroBonus has five membership levels. The entry level is "Member", followed by "Silver", which is attained by earning 20,000 Basic points in a year. Benefits include business class check-in and extra baggage allowance on some flights. Following that is "Gold", which requires 45,000 Basic points. Since 2010 it is also possible to achieve Silver and Gold status by taking a certain number of SAS and Widerøe flights: 10/45/90 individual flights for Silver/Gold/Diamond. Gold/Diamond benefits include all Silver benefits, plus priority security at certain airports, access to SAS and Star Alliance lounges and a 25% bonus on points on SAS Group flights.[1] There is also an exclusive membership tier, called "Pandion", which is awarded personally to 1,500 selected customers by the CEO of SAS. Each Pandion membership is reevaluated yearly, and you have to "fly more than the pilots and crew of SAS" in order to be eligible. In practise membership is awarded according to revenue created for SAS by a single flyer rather than the number of EuroBonus points earned. Benefits include guaranteed seats on SAS flights, even on fully booked flights, and exclusive service.[2]

Membership level changes in 2014[edit]

SAS changed the program's membership levels in April 2014. Notable changes included access to most SAS lounges for Silver members, the ability for Gold members to give away Silver card and lower requirements to reach Silver level. Additionally, a new level was introduced - Diamond. Diamond members will be able to give away Gold card and their points will not expire. Diamond level will be awarded by flying 100 one-way trips or collecting 100,000 points during one year.[3]

Membership level changes in 2015[edit]

On 1 January 2015, SAS again made some significant changes to the EuroBonus program. These changes affect both the thresholds for reaching elite status and earning tables.[4]

Changes in thresholds[edit]

The requirements for reaching both Gold and Diamond level were lowered by 10%. This means:

  • Gold now requires 45 legs or 45,000 points instead of 50 legs or 50,000 points
  • Diamond now requires 90 legs or 90,000 points instead of 100 legs or 100,000 points

Changes in point earnings[edit]

SAS carried out some major restructuring of its point earning tables.[5] The most significant changes are:

  • Strongly reduced point earnings on all flights, on average around 50%
  • Booking classes became decisive in point earnings, instead of seating class:
    • Economy is now divided between Economy Go and Go Flex,
    • Plus is now divided between Plus Saver and Plus,
    • Business is now divided between Business Saver and Business
  • Europe is no longer divided into several point earning zones. Everything outside the Nordics is now considered Europe.

Norwegian ban on frequent flyer miles[edit]

Frequent flyer mile accrual was banned on Norwegian domestic flights between August 2002 and May 2013. In 2002, SAS bought up the rival airline Braathens, giving the company a near monopoly on major domestic routes within Norway. After a few months, the airline Norwegian Air Shuttle started flying major routes in competition. To remove the edge SAS had over the new airline, the Norwegian Competition Authority then banned the award of EuroBonus points in Norway from August 1 that year.

In 2005, Morten A. Meyer, the Modernization Minister asked the competition authority to consider extending the ban on frequent flyer miles to include all of Scandinavia. Norwegian Air Shuttle and Sterling Airlines had also complained about SAS's bonus program in Scandinavia. It was pointed out that the situation on these routes was different from the monopoly which had been present on the Norwegian domestic market.[6][7]

The authorities indicated in 2007 that the ban on frequent flyer points would continue, arguing that the ban on EuroBonus had reduced ticket prices by 30% and boosted competition. SAS Norge, the Norwegian affiliate of SAS, protested, arguing that the extent of the fare reduction was exaggerated (claiming 18.4% rather than 30%) and was due to more efficient spending, not the ban on EuroBonus.[8]

Following the development of the market, whereby Norwegian Air Shuttle has grown since its launch in 2002 to become equal in size to SAS on most major domestic routes, the Norwegian Competition Authority begun yet another evaluation of the ban on domestic frequent flyer points in December 2010.[9] The government lifted the ban on 16 May 2013, noting that the competition in the Norwegian airline market had improved. The European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority had previously considered the ban illegal.[10]

Freddie Awards - FT Awards[edit]

EuroBonus has won Freddie Awards for best frequent flyer program numerous times. They won the six years prior to 2003, and again in 2004. In 2005 they wound up in a disappointing 13th place. The ban on domestic point awards in Norway, which reduced the value of the program, was part of the reason for EuroBonus's decline in the rankings. The program won Best Customer Service in 2013, and this was the fourth time SAS EuroBonus had won a Freddie Award for Best Customer Service in Europe/Africa.

EuroBonus received an acclaimed Industry Impact Award at the Freddy Award Ceremony held in Phoenix, Arizona on April 24 2008. The award was the Award Seat Prognosis - transparently displaying any available award seats online for members, setting a new standard for how frequent flyer programs can display award availability for their members.

EuroBonus reverse auction[edit]

EuroBonus offered a bonus trip for two on SAS's Facebook wall, to selected destinations at fixed dates. The EuroBonus member who first accepted the price given by EuroBonus by commenting on the wall won the offer. The ‘cooler’ you were, the lower the award price, but with the risk of someone else getting it. Four auctions so far, the offers were sold for at least 60-80% less than normal. (Note that airport taxes and fees were not included in the point price.)

Criticism of the program[edit]

Although EuroBonus has been awarded Freddie Awards several times, some SAS Group passengers voiced the concern that not all booking classes may earned full EuroBonus points; this practice has been changed and all Economy Class tickets (SAS Go) are earned full points, while the Premium Economy (SAS Plus) earned between 200% and 300% of original points. EuroBonus were also criticized that the point earned will expire within 4 years after the qualification period, regardless of activities, which is in contrast to other airlines that the mileage will not expire, subject to certain conditions such as activities.

References[edit]

  1. ^ EuroBonus Membership Levels flysas.com, 5th Dec 2013
  2. ^ The Secret SAS Bonus Card Article in Politiken, retrieved Dec 27th 2008
  3. ^ EuroBonus changes of 2014
  4. ^ https://www.flysas.com/en/eurobonus/earn-points/airlines/Scandinavian-Airlines/
  5. ^ https://www.flysas.com/en/eurobonus/point-charts/sas-points-charts/#tab4
  6. ^ Vurderer bonusforbud i Skandinavia ("Considering bonus ban in Scandinavia") Dagens Næringsliv, April 9, 2005
  7. ^ Pålagt å granske SAS-bonus ("Ordered to investigate SAS bonus") Dagens Næringsliv, April 11, 2005
  8. ^ Vil forlenge Eurobonus-forbud ("Will extend the EuroBonus ban") Dagens Næringsliv, May 23, 2007
  9. ^ http://www.konkurransetilsynet.no/no/Aktuelt/Nyheter/Skal-evaluere-bonusforbudet/
  10. ^ Ighouba, Farid; Christine Svendsen; Astrid Randen; Tom B. Ingebrigtsen (16 May 2013). "Bonuspoeng blir lovlig igjen" (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 

External links[edit]