Not all miles are safe when an airline goes under

Several weeks ago there was a big kerfuffle in the frequent flier world when some reporters started talking about airlines going bankrupt and the mileage programs disappearing.  The carriers cited – big ones in the USA – were arguably at risk of going bankrupt, but there was essentially zero risk to the points.  Why?  Because another carrier would buy the program as one of the few valuable assets the bankrupt carrier had and they’d honor the accrued points in those programs.  At least that’s the way it would happen most of the time.

Then there are the other, smaller carriers that go under, and the points simply vanish.  Such is the case with Greece’s Olympic Airlines and their Icarus loyalty scheme.  They’ve announced their liquidation, effective at the end of the month.  And they’ve also made it clear that the Icarus program expires at that time, including all points. 

Dear Members,

As you maybe aware, Olympic Airlines will enter into liquidation and a new privately owned Airline Olympic Air will be established.

Consequently, we would like to inform you that the accumulated miles of Icarus Program of Olympic Airlines must be redeemed for domestic and international flights until the September 30th of 2009*.

*All flights must have been completed until the 30th of September 2009

The ICARUS FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAM will be terminated on 30th of September 2009.

Taking the opportunity we would like to express our appreciation for your continuous support during all those years.


Olympic Airlines

The good news?  If you’ve got some Icarus points sitting around you have two weeks to fly on them.  But come the end of September, the points – and any tickets redeemed via the points – are gone.


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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.