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WebFlyer Home > Programs > Ratings & Reviews

Ratings & Reviews

(Program Reviews - Side by Side Comparison - Website Reviews)


Gulf Air Falconflyer


6.68
(27 ratings)

7.07

This program was reviewed and rated by our editors in June 2012. Changes in the program past this date are possible, especially program partner information. We recommend you subscribe to the #1 source of frequent flyer information, Inside Flyer Magazine, to get the most current information possible.

Airline for a Kingdom

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain was launched in 1950 as Gulf Aviation Company, serving the oil fields of the Gulf as a small-scale commuter service. Today, the airline serves over 40 destinations worldwide with one of the largest flight networks in the Middle East, making it one of the region's leading carriers.

The airline is known for innovation and offers an on-board Sky nanny, Sky chef service and live TV. The first Gulf Air frequent flyer program was launched in 1994 and today, Gulf Air Falconflyer has over one million members. To date, Gulf Air does not belong to a global airline alliance.


EARNING ABILITY:

7.29
Our
Rating:

7.00
Falconflyer members earn miles based on actual distance flown and the class of travel. A minimum of 300 miles is awarded for short hops. Full-fare economy flights earn 125 percent of the miles flown in zone 1, while at the other end of the spectrum, if you fly in a host of discount economy fares, you'll earn only 25 percent of the distance flown in zones 2 and 3. If you fly high-end Falcon Gold fares, you'll earn between 140 to 250 percent of the miles flown. The easiest way to discover the number of miles you will earn is to use the online mileage calculator at gulfair.com. Members earn a 250-mile bonus when booking at gulfair.com.

Members can also earn miles when flying on partner airlines and when staying at partner hotels, renting cars, using credit cards and other partner services such as Telecommunications, lifestyle and leisure partners. Through Gulf Air's Falconflyer Family program, members can nominate up to eight family members who can earn 70 percent of the regular miles earned on the member's behalf every time they fly on Gulf Air--even if they're not traveling with them.

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AWARD CHOICES:

6.74
Our
Rating:

7.00
Members can use their miles for flight and upgrade awards. To determine the number of miles needed for the route you wish to fly, it's best to consult the online mileage calculator at gulfair.com. For example, a flight between Bahrain and Bangkok or London is 24,000 miles one way, 48,000 miles roundtrip. Between Bahrain and Istanbul, an award flight is 9,000 miles one way or 18,000 miles roundtrip. Closer in, an award flight between Bahrain and Doha (a roundtrip distance of 185 actual flight miles) is 3,000 miles one way and 6,000 miles roundtrip.

Upgrades for similar routes range from 3,000 miles one way for Bahrain to Doha when purchasing select full-fare economy class tickets to 36,000 miles one way for an upgrade from select discount economy class tickets for a flight between Bahrain and London. Members can also spend their miles for award flights on American Airlines, Jet Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Roundtrip awards on American Airlines range from 18,000 (flight up to 500 miles one way) to 360,000 miles one-way (flights 6,001+ miles), Jet Airways one-way award flights range from 3,000 (flights up to 250 miles one way) to 281,000 miles (flights 3,501+ miles) and roundtrip award flights on Virgin Atlantic range from 40,000 (London-Dubai) to 100,000 miles (London-San Francisco).

Members can redeem their miles for airport lounge access (5,000 miles for Bahrain or London airports and 3,000 miles for Dubai) or for excess baggage and instant seat upgrades to Falcon Gold at the airport. An instant seat upgrade at the airport can be requested two hours before departure and is subject to seat and meal availability. Pre-nominated family members can also be upgraded as long as they are traveling with the member.

Falconflyer members can buy "top up" miles (up to half the total redemption value) when claiming an award for US$25 for each 1,000 miles. Car rental or hotel stay awards or any other non-flight awards are not offered.

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PARTNERSHIPS:

6.18
Our
Rating:

6.50
Although it has been reported in the media that Gulf Air is open to joining a global airline alliance, currently they do not belong to an alliance and have three airline partnerships only: American Airlines, Jet Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Members earn miles, from 25 percent to 300 percent, depending on the airline partner and class of travel.

Hotel partners include Hilton, IHG, Millennium Hotels, Moevenpick Hotels, Radisson, Rotana and Taj Hotels and Palaces. Members generally earn 500 points per stay but earning varies by hotel brand.

Budget, Dollar, Hertz, Sixt and Thrifty are the car rental partners. Members earn the industry standard of between 250 or 500 miles per qualifying rental or 50 miles per day. Financial partners include American Express, Citibank, Khaleeji Commercial Bank, Ahli United Bank, Bahrain Islamic Bank, CrediMax and Bahrain Credit. Telecommunications and Lifestyle & Leisure partners round out the partner list including earning miles with Travelling Connect and Language Direct, among others.

Falconflyer members earn two miles for every US$1 spent on hotel bookings at gulfair.com and one mile per US$1 of US$75 or more spent on Gulf Air in-flight duty free shopping when spending a minimum of $75. There is no mileage donation program for charities.

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ELITE-LEVEL PROGRAM:

7.07
Our
Rating:

7.50
Falconflyer has a two-tiered elite status program: Silver and Gold. Silver status is earned when a member earns 900 Loyalty points. Loyalty points are earned based on the distance and class flown on Gulf Air. For example, flights within the Middle East (zone 1) earn 50 loyalty points when flying one-way economy and 100 loyalty points when flying one-way Falcon Gold. Silver members receive 25 percent of the miles earned for Gulf Air flights, 15kgs extra baggage allowance, guaranteed economy class seats when purchasing full-fare tickets and booking at least 72 hours in advance, waitlist priority, luggage priority, Falcon Gold check-in even if flying economy and Falcon Gold lounge access. To retain status, members must earn 630 loyalty points each elite membership year. If you are a Blue member with at least 600 loyalty points, and 5,000 miles, you can redeem the miles for a Silver membership.

Gold status is awarded when a member has earned 2,500 loyalty points and offers all of the benefits of Silver, plus extended benefits such as a 50 percent bonus on the miles earned on Gulf Air flights, a guaranteed economy seat with 48 instead of 72 hours notice when purchasing a full-fare ticket, a companion who is traveling with you can join you in the airport lounges and the extra baggage allowance is 20kgs. There is a dedicated Gold desk and Gold members receive the highest waitlist priority.

To retain Gold status, Gold members must earn 1,750 loyalty points each year at time of membership renewal. When you have earned a total of 10,000 loyalty points during a five-year period, you'll be awarded Gold for life as long as you take two flights a year with Gulf Air to keep your account active.

Elite status starts as soon as a member reaches the Silver or Gold threshold. Both levels come with personalized luggage tags.

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RULES AND CONDITIONS:

7
Our
Rating:

7.50
Falconflyer miles that were earned before Jan. 1, 2010, are valid for 10 years; those earned after that date are valid for three years from the date they were earned.

As a Blue (general) member, you can book a flight less than 14 days out for a fee of 3,000 miles or US$20. Silver members can book less than four days out for the same mileage amount or fee. Gold members can book at any time without additional fees.

Members can nominate up to eight family members and 70 percent of their normal mileage will credit to the member's account. The nominated family members receive their own membership card but are not entitled to the benefits of the program, nor can they accumulate miles when using partners or on codeshare flights. Changes to the family list can only be made once every calendar year for a maximum of four family members.

Flight awards and upgrade awards can be given from the member to nominated family members only.

Awards can be one-way and are based on segments, so you can have an unlimited number of stopovers, but the price in miles will be higher than nonstop award flights.

The base, Blue level membership, is valid for three years and if there is no activity the account is subject to deactivation. Missing flight or partner credit must be claimed within six months of travel and retroactive Gulf Air flight credit of 90 days prior to enrollment is allowed.

Members must be at least two years of age and members between 2-18 must be enrolled by a parent or guardian.

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SERVICE SUPPORT:

6.25
Our
Rating:

7.00
Falconflyer customer service can be reached via phone and email. We sent a question via email on a Tuesday around noon Mountain Standard Time. We received an immediate automated reply saying they would get back to us shortly and we had an answer to our email promptly the following day.

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ONLINE SERVICES:

6.22
Our
Rating:

7.00
Members can book Gulf Air award travel online in their choice of five languages. If you want to book an award on a partner airline, you must call your local Gulf Air office or call center. There is a missing miles claim form online but you should keep your original boarding passes and a copy of the passenger ticket in case Falconflyer should need them for verification. The airline has a presence on Facebook and sometimes special offers for Falconflyer members are posted there. You can also access a full membership guide and read the Falconflyer Zone, an e-newsletter featuring special offers and promotions for members.

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PLUS FEATURES:
Lounge access for Silver and Gold members is a plus feature for any frequent flyer program, as is giving non-elite members the option to redeem miles for lounge access.

The family program makes getting to an award threshold much faster for the member with 70 percent of his family's miles traveled going directly into his account.

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MINUS FEATURES:
Members complain that the surcharges and taxes on award flights can add up. Membership in a global alliance would benefit members. Although there is a lifetime program, it's one of the few frequent flyer programs that ask for members to continue to fly every year as a stipulation for membership.

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INFORMATION:
Gulf Air Frequent flyer
P.O. Box 13888, Manama
Kingdom of Bahrain
ffp@gulfairco.com

Phone: 973 17338963

  Earning Ability Award Choices Partnerships Elite-Level Rules & Conditions Service Support Online Services Overall Rating
Our
Rating:
7.00 7.00 6.50 7.50 7.50 7.00 7.00 7.07
Member
Rating:
7.29 6.74 6.18 7.07 7 6.25 6.22 6.68

(27 ratings)

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