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I was sad to see Norwegian Air file for bankruptcy during the pandemic and Norwegian Air's rewards program put on hold. But now Norwegian is back — although not nearly as big as they used to be. The fleet is smaller, the routes are fewer, and you can only redeem limited CashPoints for each flight.
Norwegian Air's Bankruptcy
Norwegian Air started in 1993, and by the end of the 2010s, it'd grown to the ninth-largest European airline. In 2019, the company began struggling with corporate restructuring. After the crash of international travel in 2020, Norwegian filed for bankruptcy. In February 2021, Norwegian Air paused its rewards program. Now in May 2021, Norwegian is “back” — as a banner proudly displays at the company's headquarters.
Although flights have resumed, Norwegian's route network pales in comparison to what it was before bankruptcy. Norwegian Air's fleet — which peaked at 165 planes in 2018 — is down to 50. The good news is that Norwegian plans to add 20 more within the next year.
Additionally, all long-haul flights have been permanently suspended — including those to several destinations in the USA, Bangkok, Shanghai, Singapore, etc. In fact, the subsidiary Norwegian Long Haul was liquidated in January 2021. So, those long-haul flights probably won't be returning anytime soon.
Norwegian Air's Rewards Program Returns
The Norwegian Rewards program is also back. You can once again use your CashPoints on flights, but only in limited numbers. For every 100 euro you spend on flights, you can use 500 CashPoints. So, if you spend 119 euro on a flight (an average price flying Norwegian Air around Europe), you can use 500 CashPoints. If your flight is 200-300 euros, you can use 1,000 CashPoints.
You can also use your CashPoints to purchase the following:
- Extra baggage
- Security fast track
- Seat reservation
- Pre-ordered meals
- Ticket changes
- Cancellation insurance
Any CashPoints that were scheduled to expire by the end of 2021 will now expire on December 31, 2022.
My very first transatlantic flight was with Norwegian Air, and I've flown with them several times since then — including from Oslo, Norway to Krabi, Thailand. I'm saddened to see the long-haul flights disappear, but I'm glad Norwegian Rewards is still around and I can still use my accumulated CashPoints.
Of course, the restructuring will make it more difficult for US-based travelers to use their CashPoints, unless you're planning to travel around Europe in the next year. If you have a Norwegian Rewards balance, you can track it through AwardWallet. If you haven't already done so, use this link to set up your AwardWallet account to track your points.
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