While the implementation of SAA’s business rescue plan is still a work in progress, and there remains uncertainty regarding the repayment of creditors, its business rescue practitioners (BRPs) say Voyager members will have full access to their available Miles when the new SAA starts services, should all conditions of fulfilment of the business rescue plan be met.

Spokesperson for the BRPs, Louise Brugman, confirms that the following considerations have been extended to Voyager members during this period:

  • Continued ability to earn Miles, through various Voyager programme partners.
  • Tier statuses have been extended to December 31, 2021.
  • Voyager Miles that were due to expire on March 31, 2020, will not expire until March 31, 2021.
  • The validity period of unused Star Alliance Awards and any other airline awards is extended until March 31, 2021.
  • The validity period of companion tickets for Nedbank co-branded credit and cheque cardholders, earned or due to expire from March 27, 2020 to December 31 2020, is extended by an additional year due to continued global travel restrictions.

She confirms that Voyager call centres, and the redemption of Voyager Miles, will remain suspended until SAA formally announces the resumption date of services.

All Voyager airline partnerships will remain in place except for Airlink (due to the termination of the SAA partnership) and SA Express (due to the airline’s provisional liquidation process), adds Louise. Asked whether the airline will remain a Star Alliance member, she says it is premature to comment on this.

Voyager has historically been a very generous loyalty programme, and it is well known among TMCs that in the past it was the primary motivator of airfare selection in the market. Travel News asked Louise for comment on whether it would be sustainable for the new SAA to offer clients such a generous loyalty programme in future.

“Monetising the Voyager currency during 2015, with a transparent economic value, secured a best-in-class customer cash-back return of 5% within the customer loyalty industry and remains a commercially viable business model,” she says. “This innovation was aimed at satisfying and retaining loyal customers for SAA with a value-based strategy as a sustainable competitive advantage to mitigate exclusive reliance on distressed (unsold) seat inventory. Any further programme innovation to ensure continued success and relevance will be communicated when appropriate.”

Deployment of Voyager’s digital membership card is still in progress, confirms Louise. She says the card’s development has been completed, testing is imminent and the launch of the card will be closely linked to the resumption date of service.