Everything You Need to Know About Norwegian’s Loyalty Programme
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We are big fans of New York’s largest foreign airline here at TPG UK, especially its long-haul 787 services to North America. Norwegian offers great fares, new aircraft, innovative inflight options and — usually — great service.
But a downside of choosing an airline that’s not a legacy carrier or full-service carrier is that you may not earn any points for your fare — either on that airline or its airline partners.
Low-cost carriers rarely have lucrative loyalty programmes because they’re expensive to operate. Both because the points the airline produce are an expense when customers redeem them, and also the cost of the benefits loyalty programmes provide to its elite passengers can add up — whether it’s running airport lounges, additional staff for priority boarding and check-in or generous additional baggage allowances.
The good news is that you won’t need hundreds of thousands of points for a long-haul redemption. The bad news is that you are unlikely to be able to obtain outsized value from the programme like you might with a legacy carrier.
The currency of Norwegian Reward is called CashPoints. You can earn CashPoints on all Norwegian flights at the following rates:
- 2% CashPoints on all LowFare tickets
- 10% CashPoints on all Flex tickets
You will earn a percentage of your fare back in the form of a cash balance you can use on later flights excluding fees, taxes and fuel surcharges, which, on a cheap fare, can be a significant portion of the total. So if you spend, say, £1,200 on a return Flex ticket to Los Angeles and £200 of this is fees and taxes, you would earn £100 worth of CashPoints back. This is a great rate.
If you’ve already taken a flight but were not a Norwegian Rewards member at the time (or didn’t add your number to your booking) you can still do this up to 30 days after the date of your flight.
There are also a handful of partners you can earn CashPoints with, including:
- No. 1 Lounges
- Norwegian Holidays
Here’s where the programme gets interesting. If you fly Norwegian regularly, you’ll start working your way towards the closest thing it has to status levels. For every six flights you take, you receive what is called a ‘Reward’, which lasts for 12 months (like a status level). For those 12 months, you can then choose one of the following benefits:
- If you have taken at least six flights: An additional 2% CashPoints on all LowFare tickets — so 4% total
- If you have taken at least 12 flights: Free Fast Track on all Norwegian flights (where available)
- If you have taken at least 12 flights: Free seat reservation on all flights
- If you have taken at least 18 flights: One free checked bag on all flights (however, for this benefit you must have taken 18 flights rather than the six for the other benefits).
For every additional six flights you take, you receive an additional Reward. You can either choose an additional benefit from the list above, or stack your additional 2% CashPoints up to five times. For very frequent Norwegian travellers, you could get up to 12% CashPoints on LowFares tickets (the original 2% plus 5 x 2%).
Once you take 12 flights and receive your second Reward, you can choose between an additional 2%, or free Fast Track or free seat selection.
Now, there’s a very frustrating restriction on using these Rewards. They only apply to the traveller who has earned the Rewards and not anyone they are travelling with, even if they are on the same booking. So while these Rewards may be perfect for a business traveller doing a fortnightly trip to Stockholm, it will frustrate families going to Boston if only one member of the family has the Reward. You may still be able to use the free checked bag benefit, but it is unlikely one parent will use Fast Track if the rest of their family travelling with them cannot. The same with the seat selection.
As the rewards you are earning are a cash credit in your account, it’s incredibly easy to use your CashPoints — you can just apply them to the cost of your next Norwegian ticket like you would do with a gift voucher or discount code. These can obviously be used on flights but also ancillary charges. So if you are paying a change fee, you can use CashPoints to reduce this.
Norwegian Reward an interesting programme. It is unlikely to be of much use to someone booking a £149 fare to New York once a year. But for anyone who regularly needs to travel on the routes Norwegian flies — especially in the more expensive Flexible fares — if you can earn the Rewards, this could be a lucrative programme.
I do wish Norwegian would allow the Rewards to be used to everyone on the programme member’s booking, as some of the benefits are useless for families. The different Rewards options are also fairly confusing given the minimum number of flights that must be taken to access them.
But the straight CashPoints discount is a really neat way to reduce the cost of your travels, and Norwegian is, in my opinion, the best low-cost carrier in Europe.
Featured photo by Ryan Patterson.
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