SAS Modifies Elite Benefits On “Go Light” Fares

Filed Under: SAS

With increased competition from ultra low cost carriers, we’ve seen many European airlines transform their business models, especially on flights within Europe. There’s no airline where that’s more evident than British Airways, as they now have hand baggage only fares, they charge for food & drinks in economy, and they’re cramming more seats on their planes than ever before.

It’s always interesting to see how airlines handle elite benefits when it comes to these new, more restrictive fares. On one hand, airlines want to retain their loyal customers. On the other hand they often can’t justify providing all kinds of benefits for free when they’re publishing very low fares.

One European airline is changing their elite benefits within Europe. SAS has published Go Light fares for a couple of years now, which don’t come with a checked baggage allowance. Up until now, SAS has still offered free checked bags to elite members who book these Go Light fares. This includes EuroBonus Silver, Gold, and Diamond members, as well as Star Alliance Gold members.

SAS will be changing that policy going forward. For departures as of May 7, 2018, SAS will no longer offer elite members complimentary checked bags when traveling on Go Light fares. Those who have booked their ticket before January 25 for departures on May 7 or later can be refunded for their baggage fees by contacting SAS customer relations after their trip (they’ll still have to pay in-person when checking in).

SAS’ policy regarding these hand baggage only fares was one of the more generous ones out there. As a point of comparison, both British Airways and Lufthansa don’t waive baggage fees for elite members traveling on hand baggage only fares.

This stings for elite members who are loyal to SAS, though at the same time I guess SAS thought this benefit was costing them too much, as they continuously try to better segment the market.

(Tip of the hat to @ameeriklane)

  1. Look how far we’ve fallen in the last 10-15 years. I wonder where we’ll be in 10-15 years time. Probably elite status will only exist for a select few flag carriers.

  2. Interesting. On more than one occasion when checking in on SAS the agent has made a point of saying that the bag is free…and that it wouldn’t be free on Lufthansa. It sounded like a rehearsed line rather than casual chitchat.
    In any case I will still fly with them, so long as the total cost remains low. EG, a forthcoming flight Stockholm-London cost me €45. So that includes the flight, a free bag, lounge. If it had been €70 or 80, I still would have chosen SAS rather than go on LCC or taken a transfer. The convenience is worth money and any fare difference would have to be substantial to make me rethink.
    I don’t know how they can offer a fare as low as €45 and if it’s sustainable.

  3. LOT Polish still offers free checked-bags for Miles&More Silver+ members, as well as all Star Alliance Gold members. Hope it stays that way.

    P.S. How can you be loyal to an airline that doesn’t offer you lounges at 90% of the airports they operate from?

  4. @keitherson Doesn’t United Economy (not Basic Economy) allow check-in baggage even for *A non-elites? *A elites get one free regardless, so…

  5. It’s tough to believe that Lucky is not affiliated with airlines after such headlines. I mean it can’t get any clearer that SAS scraps/eliminates an elite benefit, but it sounds a bit too harsh, yep? ‘SAS modifies’ sounds a way better… So it’s really the language airlines use in their PR blablabla when it comes to all the recent enhancements.

    I also liked the first 2 paragraphs that aim to justify such a move telling us how hard the life is for airlines (it is so hard that they keep packing records incomes year after year). It’s such well written piece that’s worth to be a part of SAS press release about modification.

  6. I certainly don’t welcome this move. However, at least this is sort of understandable – you get what you pay for.

    I’m personally more concerned about the move of LH group to make even the highest flex fares only refundable against a fee. For me, a flex fare has to be refundable for free. SK is, at least, still permitting this.

  7. SAS is pretty pathetic. On a recent flight from Copenhagen to Dulles I literally had to beg them for a glass of apple juice when I woke up and had a dry throat.

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