First post after a long absence due to personal commitments. I have been wanting to write this post for a long time ago. I will review Kuwait Airways’ Oasis Club, the frequent flyer program and add in my personal feelings about it.
Oasis Club has been established since 1995 or 1996, according to their website. Most of the Kuwaiti frequent flyers are enrolled in it. Of course, along with the fall of development of Kuwait Airways fleet, the subsidized budget and loss of professionalism and sales over the years starting from year 2000 till now, it could be argued that most locals find Kuwait Airways not a safe airline due to the age of its fleet and the reduction of premium services on the basis of cutting costs.
My experience with Oasis Club didn’t start until 2008, although I should have enrolled earlier since 1996, where I was traveling from Kuwait to the States during my bachelors study there. If I may remember, I used to see their ads during flights and some of their promos, but it wasn’t well explained to me and I didn’t fully understand what was a frequent flyer program. I thought it was a program for the elite and enrollment was through connections or selectivity.
Oasis Club has three tiers of membership: Blue, Silver and Gold like many other standard frequent flyer program and is based on the basic rules and regulations of most universal standards of the FF programs around the globe. Simple and regular, it is generally accepted and easy to implement.
Next, come the services and implementation towards its patrons. Now, this is the main issue of this post. Oasis Club has been low-maintained with a very small promotional profile in Kuwait. This is in reflection of the current policies the airline is enforcing to survive. Let me indicate the main objectives a FF program has to attend to in order to maintain service to its customers and see where Oasis Club stands at.
- Frequent Flyer program recognition: Oasis Club members (whatever tier they are) are not recognized at any sales or service office of Kuwait Airways. The program itself is not even recognized locally in Kuwait, except recently at Sultan Center and Wataniya Telecom through rewards-transfer into FFP air miles . The only recognition that you get is in the airport, where you can check in at the Business/First class counters if you have Silver or Gold tier. Priority is provided at immigration and security checkpoint only. I can’t exclaim if that’s anymore valid. I have flown for a whole year (2008) using Kuwait Airways and each time I would quote my FFP number at the check-in desk or hand in my card and they would register it, just to find out in the next year that none of my flights are rewarded because (according to the Oasis Club staff whom I had a major argument with) that Kuwait Airways airport system is not linked with Oasis Club system. What kind of nonsense was this? I have lost over 10 flights worth of segments and miles because the airline didn’t connect its airport system to its frequent flyer database? I was going to be a sure Silver!! That was the beginning of the end for me to use this airline or even trust it.
- Benefits: Oasis Club members are not granted any virtual benefits according to the program itself anymore. Oasis Club Luggage tags that would indicate priority handling and arrival are not recognized locally or even dealt with in that manner. Online upgrades, miles claiming, and more services of using your miles can’t be done online. You have to go to their main office during office hours to do all the paperwork. Talk about being updated. Another benefit was taken away from the members was the usage of the airport limo. Gold/Silver and First/Business class travelers are given a ride to and from the airport through calling in a dedicated number for setting appointment. And when you arrive, you can show them your card or ticket, and they would surly take you home. I have been dependent on that during the times when I was flying with Kuwait Airways. Till one time, when I have arrived to find the dedicated office in the Arrivals in KWI, empty and vacant. Upon asking, I have found out that the service is terminated without any prior notice. That was truly unappreciated as I had to find a taxi to head out home.
- Communications: Oasis Club has set up a website where you can log in and check out your statements. Only. no other simple web-based services are even provided. No mileage calculator, just a simple chart. I don’t see any strong affiliations to international chains with good promos for earning miles. Upon registration, I didn’t receive my FFP card. Upon many calls to their hotline, I was asked to come and pick it up. Upon arrival and waiting for my turn and after much wait, I was plainly handed in my card and two luggage tags without any welcoming envelope or any kind of kit. I a bit shocked but figured “what the hell?”. For the sake of truth, I have to mention that Kuwait Airways did maintain a bit of quarterly communication through postal mail (which is another disaster in Kuwait) with a newsletter about their promos and offers for miles. I think the last issue was released somewhere in 2010 or 2011. No monthly email statements or communications are in service or even maintained periodically.
Some may say that this post is a harsh critique about Kuwait Airways and its services, but let me say that this is only a glimpse of reality. You can always read reviews about the airlines services here by actual travelers. For the meantime, I don’t even know what to do with those air miles since I don’t plan on using Kuwait Airways for any of my traveling.