In a first of its kind offer UAE telecom operators are luring new customers with an offer of free air tickets for postpaid connections.
Customers who sign up for the new plans will be able to choose from any of the listed destinations for a free return ticket.
While both offers promise a free ticket, there are fine prints and variations that will determine what you get.
While Etisalat is offering subscribers reward points which they can claim against either an airline ticket, hotel booking or car rentals, it’s not necessary that everyone should get an air ticket. The three Etisalat plans listed New Postpaid 150, 250 and 500.
Although the Etisalat ad says 'Travel for Free' and lists three different plans, only those who sign up for the New Postpaid 500 plan will receive 150,000 points, that is sufficient enough to buy you a ticket to the subcontinent.
'Emirates 24|7' checked tickets for travel dates from November 25 to 30 and found that an air ticket to Kochi in India would require 72,054 reward points, while to Karachi in Pakistan you need 95,878 points. To Manila on China Southern Airlines via Guanghzou would require 205,556 points while a ticket to London on Ukraine International Airlines would require 200,056 points.
When you sign up for a new connection on the New Postpaid 150 plan Etisalat offers you 20,000 points, sufficient enough to book a day's hotel room in a three star hotel in Dubai. A 250 plan on the other hand would earn you 50,000 points.
Subscribers will have to sign up using a credit card and authorize auto payment in order to get the points. Customers who switch from existing Etisalat mobile line, whether from another postpaid plan or from prepaid plan are also not eligible for the promotion that started on September 4 and valid for a month. This would then mean existing Etisalat users should abandon their old numbers and subscribe to a new number to avail the plan.
The du offer on the other hand is similar to the Fly with Emax campaign that the electronics retailer launched during the Gitex Shopper in 2014.
Du launched its offer on September 6 and said anyone who subscribes to the Smart or Emirati Plan 300 or above will be eligible for a free return flight ticket to the destination of their choice. The offer is scheduled to end on September 30.
Customers can choose from 23 destinations of travel; Bahrain, Kuwait, Muscat, Dammam, Istanbul, Riyadh, Doha, Karachi, Delhi, Mumbai, Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Colombo, Kerala, Athens, Manila, London, Paris, Rome, Kiev, Stockholm, and Moscow. All flights will depart from Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah, depending on the destination and preferred date.
However, in what could turn out to be a frustrating process subscribers will first receive an SMS voucher with a unique code within 14 days after which users will have to register the code with flywithdu.ae and also upload the contract as proof of purchase.
If not done within 14 days of receiving the code by SMS the offer might stand cancelled. Users will have to then fill out an application form indicating 3 flight options and three date options. You will then receive an email within 7 days with a personalised voucher and login information.
Users will then have 48 hours to log in to the website and fill up additional info such as the address, passport copy, phone number, passport details, credit card details etc..
The next step will involve another email confirmation within 14 days about the final flight offer.
You will then have 12 hours to update your personal information in case there are errors and 48 hours to accept the final offer. The destination cannot be changed. Only then will the travel agency send the confirmation details with the tickets.