SAA is offering repatriation flights in coming days.
  • The freeze on Voyager rewards has been extended for at least another month.
  • Voyager Miles redemption – including on stuff other than SAA flights – has been halted since May, and was due to be available again on 1 August.
  • Except not, as it turns out, even though miles will still expire at the end of March 2021. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

* This article has been updated below.

South African Airways has continued the freeze on its Voyager rewards programme, and members are still barred from redeeming miles for any type of reward for at least another month.

In May this year the airline put an immediate stop to the spending of all Voyager Miles. Although at the time there was little to spend them on in the way of airline rewards, members were cashing them in on Uber vouchers and the purchase of essential items allowed under South Africa’s hard lockdown conditions.

This increased spend on non-air rewards put strain on the programme, however, which Voyager said made it difficult for them to sustain the operation. This led them to immediately pulling the plug on all spending.

Initially, Voyager said the suspension of its programme would last until July 31, with an option to extend this should it be necessary. But with just one day before points spending was due to resume, Voyager has pushed this date back by at least another month. 

SAA Voyager said in a press release that although there has been “progress” with the airline’s business rescue process, “the past few months have presented extraordinary times, with unimaginable consequences and little regard for traditions, boundaries and livelihoods”. 

The airline says they still have “a few outstanding administration matters” to resolve before management can resume control of the airline, and in the interim they have made the decision not to allow Voyager members to spend miles.

"Redemptions of Miles will be paused for another month until 31 August 2020. You will therefore not be able to redeem your Miles for Awards until after 31 August 2020,” Voyager said.

Voyager in May extended the expiry dates for Voyager Miles and tier statuses to 31 March 2021 and 31 December 2021 respectively. Those dates have not been adjusted with the extension of the freeze on spending points.* 

The airline is, however, further extending the validity period of companion tickets for another year for Nedbank co-branded credit and cheque cardholders.

Nedbank, whose reward clients have accrued in excess of 13 billion “miles”, said earlier this year that it had noticed increased concern amongst Nedbank SAA Voyager members about the security of these points, but called on them not to panic-spend their miles.

“Nedbank would like to assure members that the SAA Voyager loyalty programme will remain in place while the [business rescue] process unfolds," card issuing and payments executive Chris Wood said in January – prior to coronavirus lockdowns and the cessation of the programme.

At the same time Voyager says new cards that reflect the updated expiry dates are “in development”, and members can expect a digital Voyager membership card to be available on the Voyager mobile app “in due course”.

For those who remain loyal to the programme, though, the ability to earn Voyager Miles, through the airline’s various Voyager programme partners, will continue as normal.

* This article was updated to make it more clear that the expiry date on Voyager Miles was previously extended, though no new extension accompanied the further one-month free on spending miles.

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