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THAI partners with utu to shake up tax-free shopping for travellers

Author: Theodore Koumelis / Date: Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:00

THAI is the latest major carrier to join utu in revolutionizing tax-free shopping for travellers currently losing up to 50% of tax refunds. utu returns the missing value with a 25% uplift in loyalty rewards points, a greater choice of rewards and an easy, convenient reward claiming process.

Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) announces it is partnering with utu to offer more choices and value for travellers eligible for tax refunds as a part of the biggest upheaval in the history of tax-free shopping. 

Currently, travellers are losing as much as half of the value of their VAT and GST refunds. However, from December 2, 2021, passengers registered with THAI’s Royal Orchid Plus loyalty program will receive a dramatic 25% uplift in Royal Orchid Plus miles for their tax refunds - even when travelling with another carrier.

Travellers access the uplift simply by paying as usual for purchases with cash or a payment card, but choosing to receive their VAT or GST refund on the new utu Tax Free Card. By selecting the “upsize via Royal Orchid Plus” option from the utu Tax Free mobile application, THAI frequent flyers can now upsize their tax refunds on purchases made while travelling and convert them into Royal Orchid Plus miles.  

THAI is the latest major carrier to join utu’s new service, which aims to revolutionize tax-free shopping. Travellers who choose to receive their refunds on the utu Tax Free Card gain a greater choice of rewards, an easier, more convenient reward claiming process, and significantly greater value in terms of reward points collected.

In Thailand, utu TH has been offering instant cashbacks on the utu TH Rewards platform for a number of years. Based on deep industry experience in Thailand and globally, utu believes travellers deserve more choices, value and a better experience when it comes to tax refunds. Tax-free shopping is available in 50 countries across the globe including France, Italy, Germany, Singapore, South Korea, and the UAE. It allows travellers to claim the Value-Added Tax (VAT) or Goods & Services Tax (GST) for purchases in countries they visit. However, by the time a refund is processed by VAT Refund Operators (VROs), shoppers typically only receive about half of the total value of the VAT refund they are due.

By leveraging the virtual utu Tax Free Card in the utu Tax Free app, Royal Orchid Plus members will now be able to upsize their VAT refund value by 25%. As a special introductory promotion, from December 6, 2021, to January 31, 2022, Royal Orchid Plus members will receive an additional 250 Royal Orchid Plus miles by simply registering and activating the utu Tax Free Card, on top of the base miles that they will receive.

Mr. Kittipong Sansomboon, Director of Customer & Marketing Department of THAI, comments: "THAI remains committed to providing a wide range of benefits to its customers, especially for members of Royal Orchid Plus, THAI's frequent flyer program. We have been cooperating with our business partners to provide an innovative array of valuable choices to Royal Orchid Plus members. We are delighted to join with utu to create rewards for our frequent flyers through the utu application. We are convinced this impressive tax refund technology will enhance experiences for all our members who love traveling and tax-free shopping as well.”

Asad Jumabhoy, co-founder and CEO of utu, comments: “Thai Airways is one of the best loved carriers in the world and we are proud to welcome it on our journey to shake up the world of tax-free shopping. We are thrilled to enable Royal Orchid Plus members to make the most of their trips so they can take advantage of the utu app for a better deal on tax refunds by supersizing their loyalty rewards.” 


Theodore Koumelis

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.