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One of Africa's largest airlines recently introduced a new frequent flyer program. Kenya Airways, a SkyTeam alliance member, recently unveiled the Asante Rewards program. This new loyalty program won't replace the airline's partnership with Air France-KLM's FlyingBlue program. Rather, Asante Rewards is designed to be a better way to earn and redeem points with Kenya Airways.
Here is what travelers should know about this new SkyTeam-affiliated loyalty program.
What Is The Asante Rewards Program?
Kenya Airways is one of the largest airlines on the African continent. The airline serves 53 destinations across the globe, including nonstop flights between its hub in Nairobi (NBO) and New York-Kennedy (JFK). Last month, the airline announced a new in-house frequent flyer program branded Asante Rewards.
The word Asante is Swahili for “Thank You.” As such, Kenya Airways summarizes the new program as “an appreciation of customer loyalty by the airline and will allow customers to get greater value from their flying experience.” Additionally, the airline notes that the program “is in response to the need for a loyalty program curated with the African market & dynamics in mind.”
Ultimately, Kenya Airways' current partnership with Air France-KLM's Flying Blue is quite lackluster. As a result, the airline developed its own frequent flyer program separate from the Flying Blue program.
So what can travelers expect from this new loyalty program?
Free to join, Kenya Airways' new Asante Rewards frequent flyer program is relatively unremarkable. The program is a typical airline loyalty program in which members can earn and redeem points towards future award travel. Members also can earn points towards elite status.
For a limited time, new members will earn 1,000 Asante Rewards points for just signing up. To join the new program, simply click this link and fill out the required information. Once you sign-up, you can invite friends and family and earn 1,000 bonus points for each referral.
Here's how members will earn and redeem points and achieve elite status:
Earning Asante Rewards points
The most interesting aspect of Asante Rewards is how you'll earn points. Why is it interesting? There is no clear answer as to how many points are earned on a given flight. Here's what the Asante Rewards website says regarding mileage accrual:
“The number of points to be credited on Kenya Airways flights depends on the route and the ticketed fare class/cabin. Accrual for flights on partner airlines uses as a calculation basis the ticketed point mileage. Kenya Airways as well as the program partners reserve the right to exclude certain booking classes from accrual.”
Based on this extremely vague phrasing, it's impossible to estimate how many points you'll earn on a given flight. The only way to know how many points you'll earn is to credit a flight to Asante Rewards and see what happens.
Likely, as the program grows and matures, more information will become available regarding mileage accrual. For now, how many Asante Rewards points you'll earn is anyone's guess.
One major caveat is that members who earned points through the Flying Blue program won't have the option to transfer these to the new Asante Rewards program. Both programs will remain separate, with only elite status transferring over to the new Asante Rewards program.
Redeeming Asante Rewards points
Unsurprisingly, how you'll redeem your Asante Rewards points isn't very clear either. Points can be redeemed for “award flights, seat upgrades, lounge access, and SkyPriority benefits across all member airlines.” But there is one major caveat: You can't redeem your points until October 1st. Until then, all award flights are still booked through the Flying Blue program.
Starting October 1st, Asante Rewards members can book award travel to any “local” destination starting at 7,000 points one-way. For just 9,000 points, members will be able to book a ticket to any international destination. This means that, in theory, 9,000 points should be enough for a one-way ticket between New York and Nairobi.
But what does it take to get 9,000 Asante Rewards points? That's unclear.
Asante Rewards elite status
While little is known about earning or redeeming Asante Rewards points, we know quite a bit about how to earn elite status and the benefits associated with each tier.
New members start out with Ruby status, which comes with a few standard benefits:
- 1,000 bonus points for enrolling in Asante Rewards
- 10% discount on your first additional checked bag
- 10% discount on preferred seats and at Kenya Airways lounges
- Dedicated phone service
In addition to the base tier (Ruby), there are three elite status tiers that members can obtain through travel on flights operated by Kenya Airways. Here's how to reach each tier and some of the benefits you'll receive.
Earn or maintain Silver status by earning a minimum of 15,000 points or completing 12 segments on Kenya Airways and eligible partner flights in a calendar year.
- Earn 50% bonus points on eligible flights
- Priority waitlist confirmation
- Preferred seating available free of charge within 24 hours of departure
- Additional free checked bag
- Priority ticketing and boarding
- SkyTeam Elite
- 25% discount at Kenya Airways lounges
- No points expiry, regardless of activity
Gold Elite Plus
Earn or maintain Gold status by earning a minimum of 30,000 points or completing 25 segments on Kenya Airways and eligible partner flights in a calendar year.
- Earn 75% bonus points on eligible flights
- Preferred seating available free of charge within 72 hours of departure
- Priority check-in, bag drop, immigration, and security services
- 1 additional free checked bag
- Lounge access + 1 companion
- SkyTeam Elite Plus
Platinum Elite Plus
Earn or maintain Platinum status by earning a minimum of 60,000 points or completing 50 segments on Kenya Airways and eligible partner flights in a calendar year.
- Earn 100% bonus points on eligible flights
- Free access to preferred seats at any time
If you already hold elite status as part of the Flying Blue program, you can reach out to Asante Rewards via email and request a status match.
Asante Rewards partner programs
Given that Asante Rewards just launched, it is not all that surprising that the list of partners is quite underwhelming. At the time of writing, there are only three Asante Rewards partners — one of which is Kenya Airways. The two other partners are Air France (Flying Blue) and KLM (Flying Blue). Despite Kenya Airways' membership in the SkyTeam alliance, Asante Rewards members currently can't earn or redeem points on most SkyTeam airlines.
Additionally, even though both Air France and KLM are listed as “Earn & Burn” partners, neither airline lists Asante Rewards as an eligible loyalty program at the time of booking.
In short, it seems like the only airline on which members can earn Asante Rewards points is Kenya Airways. This will likely change when the program allows members to start redeeming points (on October 1, 2023).
The Bottom Line
There's a new frequent flyer program. Asante Rewards is Kenya Airways' new in-house rewards program. The program won't replace Kenya Airways' existing partnership with Air France-KLM's Flying Blue. Rather, Kenya Airways will continue to allow members to earn either Flying Blue miles or Asante Rewards points.
While the program has officially launched, there is still a lot unknown about the Asante Rewards program.
One of the most notable unknowns is how members will earn and redeem points. While members can start earning Asante Rewards points, redemptions aren't available until October 1st. According to Kenya Airways, members can redeem just 9,000 points to book award travel to any international destination.
That's equivalent to the bonus miles earned upon registration and after referring just eight friends and family members. That sounds too good to be true.
What do you think of Kenya Airways' Asante Rewards? Do you plan on registering for this new SkyTeam-affiliated frequent flyer program?
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