The frequent flyer world has been abuzz with the news that Qualiflyer, the 10-year-old loyalty program created by the now defunct Swissair and Sabena Airlines, will end on Dec.1.
“With the many changes the industry has recently seen, the programme partners are now pursuing different strategies — especially on the alliance front,” said Swiss in a statement.
In an unprecedented move, frequent flyers will be ushered into programs that don’t, as yet, exist. Customers who have not already expressed a preference will automatically be reassigned to one of three new programs, based on their prior activity: Swiss TravelClub, TAP Air Portugal Navigator or SN Brussels Airlines (Privilege).
What does that mean? No one really knows. While Swiss insists that its members would be able to earn miles on American, Iberia and Finnair; TAP and SN Brussels have yet to disclose what other airlines they are negotiating with. Swiss has been negotiating with the oneworld alliance (owned by American and British Airways) since early this year, but a deal is unlikely in 2002 and may not even come in 2003, according to Reuters Market News.