The financial partners of Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus are maintaining a strong presence in the Thai market and have actually increased their marketing efforts in recent months trying to gain new customers.
It’s no secret that customers can do almost nothing with their ROP miles at the moment especially since 99% of Thai Airways flights are grounded, the airline is still in bankruptcy administration and customers still wait for hundreds of millions in refunds.
Thai Royal Orchid Plus (access their website here) has extremely limited use right now, for example you can book domestic flights within Thailand for 5000 points (cash value US$30).
To some degree ROP members are able to redeem miles for Star Alliance flights although I have the impression that availability for these flights has become sparse (possibly with manual blocking involved).
There is also an issue for members holding existing Thai Airways tickets issued on TG stock and using ROP miles. As the bankruptcy court has blocked all refunds members don’t their tickets including high surcharges refunded either. Existing ticket holders can however use their leftover coupons for the so called special flights which are one way flights ex Thailand to various destinations in Asia and Europe without an active inflight entertainment system (THAI doesn’t have money to pay the licensing fees).
THAI’s business re-organization under the bankruptcy court has implications on Thai Royal Orchid Plus members:
Policy on facilitation for members of the Royal Orchid Plus (ROP) program
During the business reorganization process, members of the Royal Orchid Plus program are not deemed creditors of the Company who are entitled to file for debt repayment in accordance with the business reorganization plan. This is because the earned miles were to be redeemed for rewards, namely conditioned air tickets of the Company. Nevertheless, we always acknowledge the value of your ROP membership and privileges attached to program; and we will see to the continuity of this benefit program for our valued ROP members. Please rest assured that your miles are valuable to us, and that the ROP status and membership as well as the benefits shall continue during the period of business organization. In this regard, ROP members shall be entitled to enjoy various privileges redeemable with the ROP miles when the Company resumes normal operation. For members whose miles are about to expire, the Company is in the process of extending such miles and membership status. Further details will be posted on thaiairways.com/rop Let the Company reiterate that your benefits brought by the ROP program shall continue to exist and you are not required to file for debt repayment or take any legal actions during the business reorganization.
Policy on facilitation for THAI air ticket holders
We are well aware that there are THAI air ticket holders whose tickets remain unused due to the COVID-19 pandemic where the Company was forced to cancel most domestic and international flights. While THAI is undergoing business rehabilitation, these ticket holders are not deemed creditors of the Company who are entitled to file for debt repayment. This is because of the eligibility of your air tickets, which can be exercised when the Company resumes normal operations corresponding to the latest COVID-19 situation. Therefore, please be affirmed that your tickets will remain eligible and you have full rights to use such air tickets in all aspects in compliance with the business reorganization plan of the Company where neither debt repayment nor legal actions are required to be proceeded by the air ticket holders during the business reorganization.
In other words the customer has no rights to anything and all the company can offer at this point are promises without any guarantees what will eventually happen to those.
As such and in regards to accumulating more Royal Orchid Plus mileage through local credit cards I’d definitely advise against continuing to use these cards until Thai Airways and ROP returns to regular business operations (if ever). Most definitely I wouldn’t open any new accounts for ROP cards as advertised all over the place right now. You have promotional booths at shopping malls, in train stations and banners wherever you see.
For the same reason you should also not transfer any loyalty points of whatever source (hotel loyalty points, credit card points) to Thai Royal Orchid Plus at this time.
Royal Orchid Plus credit cards are plentiful in Thailand, almost every bank is issuing them in one form or the other including American Express, AEON, Citibank, UOB and all of the local banks. It’s almost impossible to find co-branded cards for foreign airlines programs issued by Thai banks.
Financial institutions in Thailand continue to hawk credit cards to collect a currency (Thai Airways ROP miles) that have little to no value at the moment.
There are absolutely better options around and if you’re already holding a ROP credit card I’d contact the bank to change the product to another card type or in the very least a complete refund of the annual fee until it’s feasible again to use the card for purchases and utilize it’s travel benefits. All of the banks offer cashback cards or their own points currency.
If you still like to collect frequent flyer points then I suggest change to American Express for Membership Rewards points or UOB Privimiles (my personal favorite).