This is of course due to traveling for work and also for going from and to Kuwait to see my family and kids. As being a frequent flyer, this post will review the experience of being a Gold tier in Gulf Air frequent flyer program, Falcon Flyer.
It has to be noted that Gulf Air’s program was recently renamed into the Falcon Flyer, where it didn’t have a catchy name like that other airlines before. the reference to the name comes from the Golden Falcon that has been tied to Gulf Air since its early start, when it used to be owned by the GCC countries.
I have climbed my way from blue to silver and to Gold through the past three years and I have to admit that their unique points system is rather strange and no common in the region. For every short-haul trip leg in the region you would take, you would receive 50 “loyalty points”. Reaching a certain number of loyalty points would grant you the next tier. But not that loyalty points expire since they are only valid for a year. So you keep scoring and accumulating points, while the old points keep expiring. It is a race against time to reach the next tier before the expiration of the old points. This system has no relation to the air miles that are being traveled in these legs. Gulf air has decided to divide its regions into zones, where each trip leg would earn you a certain number of points when you travel from/to it.
Let’s talk about the benefits. So far and being a frequent traveler on Gulf Air (a round trip every weekend on short-haul), being on Gold has some advantages but could be labelled as limited when compared to global frequent flyer programs. Being a Gold tier earns you the following:
- Admission to the exclusive Gulf Air lounge in Bahrain International Airport (BAH), regardless of the class of travel, and a guest provided that he/she is traveling on Gulf Air flight.
- Admission to associated lounges to Gulf Air globally, when traveling on Gulf Air flights.
- Excess baggage weight when traveling on Gulf Air.
- Free change of ticket schedule, up for one time only and depending on the class of ticket and availability.
- Possibility for upgrade to the next class of travel, upon availability. This has been happening to me only on (KWI-BAH) route and only from KWI side!! this is due to over-selling of tickets for this route! I have never experienced any upgrades at BAH!
- Possibility for upgrade at business class ticket from C/D to J. The J class ticket is full-fare and the traveler would receive the fully flat seat, which used to be the first class rows in the long-haul trips. Flyers on C and D fares always get the semi-flat business class seats.
- Priority for services at Gulf Air ticket offices.
- Priority baggage handling at destination airports.
- Personal luggage tags for Silver and Gold tiers.
Aside from these benefits, there are margins for improvements for the Gold/Silver tier frequent flyers at Gulf Air. Gulf Air can look into improving their program to be more rewarding such as the following suggestions:
- Priority for reservations, during blackout and sell-out dates.
- Redemption of miles for rewards and vouchers.
- More airlines associations for miles redemption.
- Modification of their current air miles earning system to be rewarding, rather than depending on class of ticket.
At the end, let me leave you with some snaps at the received package from Gulf Air upon renewal of my Falcon Flyer Golden tier!