Apr242016

Why I am planning a Norwegian Reward mileage run

Up to this point I have booked Norwegian Airlines tickets solely for their low one way ticket prices between and Europe and Oakland, California, 110 miles from my home in Monterey. Most of my Norwegian Air flights have been intra-Europe flights like Copenhagen to Prague $83.70 with $17 checked bag, Prague to Bergen $65.50 with $17 checked bag, and Vilnius to Stockholm $71.50 with $15 extra LowFare+ ticket for free seat assignment and checked bag. All in, I paid about $200 in seat and bag fees and $600 in ticket fares for my last six Norwegian Airlines tickets. About 25% of the cost of flying Norwegian is seat and bag fees in my trips.

You might not believe it, but I am planning a Norwegian Reward mileage run. Now I am planning more Norwegian Air flights for 2016 travel due to the frequent flyer rewards I can earn.

Free Seats and Free Bags means $100s in savings for Norwegian Air transatlantic travel

Norwegian frequent flyers can earn free seat and checked bag for 12 months after 18 flight segments flown in 12 months. These new benefits for Norwegian Reward frequent flyers are relatively new and something I became aware of only this week after completing my sixth flight on Norwegian since September 2015.

Norwegian Flight Rewards-1

Every six flight segments on Norwegian Airlines earns a frequent flyer reward, for up to 48 flight segments in 12 months.

  • 6 flight segments in 12 months = 2% CashPoint boost for 12 months (double points on LowFare tickets; in reality about a 1.1% to 1.25% rebate on ticket price).
  • 12 flight segments in 12 months = Free Seat Reservations for 12 months or Fast-Track or 2% CashPoint boost.
  • 18 flight segments in 12 months = Free checked bag for 12 months or any of other three rewards.
  • 24 to 48 flight segments earns another bonus. Since 2% CashPoint bonus is about a 1.15% total ticket price rebate, the option to have free seat, free bag, fast-track and 4% CashPoint is available after 24 flight segments. Then, the only remaining option is 2% CashPoint bonus at 30, 36, 42 and 48 flights for up to 12% CashPoint Bonus on all flights for 12 months.
  • Main thing to know is benefit only applies to member’s tickets and only counts on all future tickets purchased over next 12 months from time reward is chosen. You also can’t activate free seat benefit reward and use on tickets already booked, but not yet flown. You can’t choose free seat two times to use free seat benefit for travel partner’s ticket.

Norwegian 8 rewards

The first reward bonus after six flight segments is 100% bonus CashPoints (up from standard 2% to 4%) for all Norwegian LowFare ticket purchases. In reality the 2% CashPoint rebate is very small since airfare prices are very low on Norwegian. I have earned and redeemed about $5 worth of CashPoint credit after around $800 in tickets for my six flights.

The next bonus, after 12 flight segments, is the option for free seat assignments on all Norwegian flights for 12 months or airport fast-track for elite check-in and airport priority lane. After 18 flight segments in 12 months, there is the option to choose one free checked bag on all Norwegian flights for 12 months.

The real deal here, as I show below, is USA flyers can save around $200 per USA to Europe round trip ticket with free seat assignments and one free checked bag.

Why I Am Planning a Norwegian Mileage Run

Bear with me while I explain the basics of the Norwegian Reward frequent flyer program for a USA/Canada audience, since many readers have never flown Norwegian.

Norwegian Reward Currency are CashPoints

I have earned and redeemed 41 CashPoints after $800 spent on tickets.

41 CashPoints Value about $5.00 USD in airline ticket credit.

The basic benefit of Norwegian Reward is 2% CashPoints earned on the base fare for Low Fare tickets. Norwegian also has Flex tickets that earn 20% CashPoints, but in most cases these Flex fares are far more expensive.

I have purchased about $800 in both Low Fare and Low Fare+ tickets for my six Norwegian Air flight segments since September 2015. I have earned and redeemed 41 CashPoints for my $800 in spend. That is equivalent to about a $5.00 credit on my ticket prices.

Norwegian Air has been a low fare way for me to travel to and from Europe on discount one-way fares and take advantage of far lower fares flying to California from Europe round trip. Norwegian lets me fly to Europe one-way to start my low cost tickets on American Airlines for the majority of my transatlantic travel this past year. At some point I eventually end up finishing a round trip ticket in Europe and need a flight home. Norwegian got me home from Stockholm last week on a $147 one-way ticket to Oakland. If I were elite with free bag and seat, $147 would have been my total ticket price one way for ARN-OAK. Instead, my ticket price was $90 more for a self-selected seat assignment and one checked bag.

I never thought much about there being a Norwegian Reward frequent flyer program. My analysis today convinces me these new rewards, like free seat assignments on all Norwegian flights for 12 months and one free checked bag for all Norwegian flights for 12 months, are worth focusing my efforts to ticket more flights with Norwegian Airlines in 2016. These free seat and bag rewards offer great value, far exceeding the small rebate value of CashPoints.

Best of all is the opportunity to travel around Europe inexpensively and visit places I have wanted to go, but not really been incentivized to pay for the extra travel around Europe.

Earning Norwegian Reward CashPoints

It looks to me like CashPoints earned are the same amount, regardless if I purchased a Low Fare or a bundled LowFare+ ticket including checked bag and seat assignment (and meals for USA-Europe flights).

Norwegian Airlines  Los Angeles LAX – Copenhagen CPH – Bergen BGO

$273.90  September 19, 2016

  • Low Fare $273.90
  • LowFare+ $373.90
  • Flex $1,557.10

LAX-BGO Norwegian Sep 19 $274

After studying my CashPoints earn rate for six flights, I think I have figured out the system. It is more confusing for me since my tickets were mostly purchased in US Dollars and calculating CashPoints involves currency conversion to Norwegian Krone.

CashPoints earned for LAX-Bergen BGO $273.90 Low Fare Ticket

LAX-CPH-BGO LowFare = $273.90 – $72.30 taxes – $49.50 fuel surcharge = $152.10 USD = 1,250 NOK. This ticket should earn around 25 NOK rebate = $3.04 USD.

$3.04 USD on a $273.90 is a 1.11% rebate on the ticket price.

Once you have CashPoints in your Norwegian Reward, you can apply them to any new ticket purchase.

CashPoints are the part of Norwegian Reward I already knew. My discovery today is Norwegian Reward frequent flyers earn additional reward beneffits every six flight segments.

Norwegian Reward New Rewards

The real deal is a Norwegian Reward frequent flyer can earn the bonus rewards below and choose which bonus to apply for all flights the following 12 months.

This means that after flying six segments since September 2015 I will receive 4% CashPoints on all my Norwegian flights through April 2017. If I reach 12 flight segments I can choose to have free seat assignments for all my Norwegian flights for 12 months from applying my frequent flyer reward benefit.

Here are my Norwegian target reward goals

  • 2% CashPoint boost (6 flight segments in 12 months)
  • Free Seat Reservation (12 flight segments in 12 months)
  • Free baggage (18 flight segments in 12 months)

The primary expenses of flying Norwegian USA to Europe are the high cost of seat assignments and one checked bag.

The seat assignment is a big deal since I don’t want to be in a middle seat for 10 or 11 hours of a California-Scandinavia flight.

Free checked bag is less of a big deal for some travelers since Norwegian allows a 10kg/22lb carry-on bag free in addition to laptop or small bag for under the seat space. One checked bag is the highest expense of a Norwegian transatlantic flight. My camera and computer tend to take up enough space that I like to check one bag and carry-on my computer and camera in a separate bag.

The deal here for USA travelers is the cost of buying six flight segments within Scandinavia and Europe is easy to book for under $250 all-in. Norwegian has a lot of $40 flight segment options.

Norwegian Airlines Sample Checked Bag and Seat Assignment fees for three flights

Free bag and seat is $200 value per California to Europe ticket.

The basic premise I am working on is two round trip tickets per year California to Europe at $400 each for 4 segments and 14 segments intra-Europe per year (14 flights x $40 = $560.) is $1,360 for 18 flight segments. Free Seat and Free Checked Bag saves about $360 on the two long-haul trips and 14 intra-Europe segments saves about $400 in seat and bag fees.

Norwegian is expanding service to add OAK-London LGW in May 2015 and Norwegian has added nonstop flights this summer for Los Angeles LAX to Paris CDG, in addition to nonstop flights to London LGW, Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm.

Norwegian Oakland OAK to Amsterdam

$305.50 one-way  September 19

OAK-AMS $305 Sep 19 Norwegian

The cost for LowFare+ is $100 more on this flight. LowFare+ includes one checked bag, seat reservation and meals.

Norwegian Optional Service Pricing on USA-Europe tickets

Oakland OAK-AMS Amsterdam $305.50 Sep 19, 2016

  • one checked bag = $63
  • seat reservation = $45
  • food can be purchased onboard from a menu and different food selection from prepaid meal service.

Pay $305.90 and a seat reservation for $350.50 total one-way fare Oakland to Amsterdam via Copenhagen. This ticket earns two flight segments credit toward next Norwegian Reward bonus reward.

Norwegian Stockholm ARN – Oakland OAK

$235.90 one way September 26, 2016

ARN-OAK Norwegian $236 Sep 26

A Norwegian one-way flight from Stockholm to Oakland is $235.90 on September 26. The price of one checked bag is $45. Price for seat assignment is $45.

Stockholm ARN – Oakland OAK $235.90 Sep 26, 2016

  • one checked bag = $45
  • seat reservation = $45
  • food can be purchased onboard from a menu and different food selection from prepaid meal service.

Norwegian ARN-OAK fees

Flying Norwegian from Oakland to Amsterdam and returning from Stockholm is $541 round trip. Seat assignments are an additional $90 for these two tickets. Checked bag is an additional $108 for these two tickets.

Buying LowFare+ tickets includes these benefits, plus meals for $190.

Flying 18 flight segments on Norwegian in 12 months earns the option to attach free seat assignments and free checked bag for all flights for 12 months. That is a $190 benefit for one Oakland to Europe round trip flight.

Norwegian Airlines Stavanger – Oslo – Lisbon $158.90

Seat and Bag Fees

  • Seat Assignment = $12.00
  • One Checked bag = $32.00

Within Europe the cost for one checked bag Stavanger SVG – Oslo OSL – Lisbon LIS = $32. Seat reservation is $12.

Norwegian SVG-LIS fees

These three Norwegian Airlines tickets show the savings of free seat assignments and one free checked bag ranges from $50 for a ticket within Europe like Stavanger SVG to Lisbon LIS and $90 to $108 for a transatlantic flight between Europe and California.

Best of all is Norwegian Airlines has one of the most extensive route systems with Europe covering 30 European countries, plus Turkey, Morocco and Israel.

The past two days for me has involved an extensive analysis of Norwegian’s European routes as I plan my next trip in September 2016 to earn six more flight segments for my free seat assignment Norwegian Reward. My plan is to have free seat selection and one checked bag for all my Norwegian Air flights in 2017.

Next up is a post on Norwegian’s European routes and amazingly low fares I found for travel around Europe.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. Hi ric
    traveling across europe to many different places is cheapest when you buy ryanair I think. ryanair always less than 20 euro for midweek dates and a vast network. you may also consider train passes but i prefer ryanair. or you can check other budget airlines. for any route there should be some budget airline which offers 20- fares midweek. it may save you enough money than the norwegian bag fees.

  2. @w.w – I first flew RyanAir in 1997. Flown them many times to many places around Europe.

    One issue with RyanAir is secondary airports like Stockholm’s two airports besides Arlanda, London Luton, Brussels Charleroi, Eindhoven. The transportation cost adds up to get to main airports.

    the reason why Norwegian works out for me is the competition from airline alliance carriers OneWorld, Skyteam and Star Alliance keep round trip fares very low from Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen to San Francisco at around $400 much of the year. The airfare from SFO to Scandinavia averages around $700 round trip. I can travel around Europe and fly back to Scandinavia for cheap flights to SFO.

    That is why Norwegian is useful to me since I can plan flights like my next summer trip when I depart from Stavanger, Norway in July and return to Stavanger in September. Norwegian will fly me to many other places from Stavanger and back to Stockholm, the most probable airport where I will find my ticket home to San Francisco for $400 round trip with a return to Stockholm in November.

  3. yeah, get it. when i travel to europe i usually stay longer and go to more cities and then from the second destination to the second last one, other budget airlines may work..i was just suggesting do not ignore other airlines cause i really like the low teen prices of ryanair… btw i am going to fly ryanair from milan and i found bergamo to milan city center is cheaper than mxp with shuttle bus even with a longer trip, probably due to different target consumers.

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