Malaysia Airlines CEO re-engages with Oneworld, reboots Enrich

Malaysia Airlines CEO re-engages with Oneworld, reboots Enrich

Malaysia Airlines plans to be a more active member of the Oneworld alliance, says CEO Peter Bellew while also launching "a complete reboot" of its Enrich frequent flyer scheme.

The Malaysian flag-carrier joined Oneworld in early 2013 under the sponsorship of Qantas.

“But I think we did very little with Oneworld,” Bellew tells Australian Business Traveller, adding that the airline sometimes dropped the ball by not being “a very active” partner.

“There were some mistakes made in the past, we’ve had to make a few apologies, eat a bit of humble pie and admit we were the weakest link in the chain.”

“But I think there’s a great opportunity for Malaysia Airlines within the Oneworld alliance and there’s plenty of business to be done there.”

“We have a lot to offer the other carriers because we do fly to some relatively obscure places, and offer great connections at good value and a lovely product.”

Bellew says that Oneworld CEO Rob Gurney – a 25-year veteran of Qantas, British Airways and Emirates – “is kicking my butt to get me properly aligned with what’s happening, and he’s been very supportive to what we’re doing.”

Rebooting Enrich

The airline’s frequent flyer scheme is also subject of what Bellew describes to Australian Business Traveller as “a complete reboot.”

“I think the Enrich program has immense potential. In Malaysia, which is our core market, it’s the most recognised loyalty brand but we’ve done very, very little with it over the years… there’s been a lack of resources put on it, and maybe because of everything else that’s going on.”

“We haven’t been treating (Enrich) like a business,” Bellew reflects. “It’s been a little bit of an interesting sideshow, whereas it should have been core part of the business, so we’re going to invest in people and systems and the backend in the next 12 months.”

A cornerstone of this is the recent appointment of Australian Mark Ross-Smith – a loyalty consultant and champion of ‘big data’ – to head the Loyalty & Enrich portfolio.

“I think this time next year you’ll see a vastly different business” Bellew speculates. “Of all the things in the company, Enrich has got the most potential to be a very significant part of the business over the years.”

Bellew promises “the overall program will become much more attractive” as well as more competitive against competitors such as Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer.

This might also see an increase in the number of Qantas Points earned on Malaysia Airlines flights.

“We haven’t started discussions like that with Qantas, it’s a little bit further down the road,” Bellew says.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • DRW


    15 Aug, 2017 08:06 am

    Pulling out of Darwin twice in the past 17 years doesn't seem to be a particularly good way of engaging with this region...
    No member give thanks

  • russell


    15 Aug, 2017 08:29 am

    "We were the weakest link in the chain". I think he meant to say are. 
    I used to fly them quite a bit in both classes up until  about 12 months ago. Terrible lounges, ordinary hard product, weak point and status earn, reliance on narrow bodies and removing alcohol on intra Asia flights was enough for me.
    Member who gave thanks


  • dennis626


    16 Aug, 2017 04:08 pm

    Thanks Russell for the comment that MH was dry on intra Asia flights.  I had no idea - haven't flown them in years as their service was slipping and SQ and CX had better seating generally. 
    No member give thanks

  • Himeno


    15 Aug, 2017 11:25 am

    They need to train their staff better re oneworld.
    I've had MH ticketing staff tell me, when trying to change an MH flight on a oneworld RTW ticket, that I had to talk to SQ.
    Member who gave thanks


  • tuzza1


    15 Aug, 2017 02:28 pm

    I also stopped flying with them.. mostly because of their miserly points and status points on QF. I wish them well but if they really are oneworld partners they need to try a little harder
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  • Steve987


    16 Aug, 2017 08:12 am

    Which it sounds like is the intention...
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  • jrfsp


    15 Aug, 2017 03:32 pm

    Its more QF which doesn't reward you for flying with MH, or for that matter most oneworld airlines. Even AA points have become next to worthless.
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  • nixjet


    15 Aug, 2017 04:45 pm

    its a good product with terrific intra-asian connections. they'd be potentially an awesome strategic partner for both qf and ek especially codesharing into KL from Australia.
    ive done many sectors with them over the years ex Melbourne and Sydney into Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, Laos and Bali - it makes so much sense.
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  • Flying Fish


    15 Aug, 2017 10:28 pm

    I used to travel extensively with MH throughout Asia and between Asia and Europe prior to them joining Oneworld and built up quite a tidy stash of Enrich points which always came in handy for upgrades and leisure trips. I also found their service, F&B and hard product to be very good - if not up to the same standard as SQ, but certainly excellent for the price point MH was pitched at - so I'd be very happy to see them step up on all fronts and it would be even better if they could forge a stronger partnership with QF.
    No member give thanks

  • Jason Cornford


    16 Aug, 2017 03:50 pm

    If they can improve the Enrich offering and better communicate the benefits i.e. upgrades etc that would be great. The app just isn't up to speed. I can't believe they launched such a poor app
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  • biggles69


    16 Aug, 2017 04:12 pm

    No alcohol on Asian flights under 3 hours. Meal service without a glass of wine in Business Class - how can they claim to have One World standards ?  .. and miserly QF points for Business Class flights. 
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  • Mark McCullough


    16 Aug, 2017 07:35 pm

    I was very impressed in March, when MH checked my bags all the way from Langkawi, via KL, to LHR on a QR flight out of KL. That was good One World cooperation, which I didn't get on the outbound flights from QR.
    When is Skytrax going to give them back some stars? They deserve more than BA.
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  • backload


    16 Aug, 2017 11:22 pm

    Having reluctantly flown MH a few times in past years, they really have a lot of work to do to get back to a Oneworld standard. If Malaysia is not in the schedule there is just a whole lot of better options
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  • Ian_from_HKG


    17 Aug, 2017 03:39 pm

    Like AWA2602 we have found them excellent value, especially for HKG-LHR flights.  So much so that despite the boringly long layover on the way there, we are switching from Cathay's FF programme to Enrich - it is must easier to achieve top tier status, and the spouse gets a top-tier card too!!  Since we often travel separately, having emerald status for us both is a major boon
    No member give thanks


21 Jul, 2019 11:30 pm


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