- Posted by Editor
Qantas overhauls its frequent flyer program
Qantas Frequent Flyers, the airline's loyalty scheme, is overhauling its program and they say it means members will soon pay significantly less fees for international reward flights, have access to more seats and enjoy more rewards for earning points on the ground because of a $25 million investment. The also say the changes will improve how members are recognised and rewarded as well as how they earn and redeem points. We wait to see if they will deliver on these promises or whether it will end up being more marketing than improvements.
The major initiatives, to be rolled out to members over the next 12 months, include:
- Adding more than 1 million extra reward seats available annually on Qantas and new partner airlines.
- Slashing carrier charges – the additional costs associated with flights booked with Points – by up to 50 per cent on international bookings, saving members on average $200 per return journey they claim.
- Changing the points required for reward seats on domestic and international flights including an up to 10 per cent reduction in the number of points required for international economy Classic Reward seats.
- Increasing the points required for upgrades and Classic Reward seats in premium cabins to better reflect the value of this premium experience.
- Creating a new tiered Points Club program to better reward members who earn most of their points through on-the-ground transactions.
- Introducing Lifetime Platinum status, the ultimate recognition for the airline’s most loyal flyers.
So this suggests that while buying economy seats will be a bit cheaper, using air miles for business and first class seats will be more expensive.
Qantas has broken down the key changes as follows (be aware this is taken from their marketing material so it has their spin on it):
-More reward seats to more destinations when members want them:
Frequent Flyers will have access to more than a million extra reward seats annually on Qantas and a growing list of premium partner airlines including during peak leisure travel periods to our most popular destinations such as London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Singapore. As a result, members will enjoy an up to 30 per cent increase in our highest demand reward seats in Qantas International premium cabins over the next 12 months.
Additionally, we will be giving members more choice when travelling to destinations across Europe, New Zealand and South East Asia through new frequent flyer agreements with Air New Zealand, China Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
Qantas Frequent Flyer will specifically recognise its high-buyers: members who earn lots of points through non-flying related transactions.
Called ‘Points Club’, the initiative will include two tiers with entry gained based on a member passing an annual points-earned criteria. The club will unlock, for the first time, flight and travel benefits for non-flying members including lounge access and bonus status credits – as well as member-exclusive offers and discounts across Qantas Frequent Flyer and partners. The entry-level Points Club tier will be accessed through earning 150,000 points on the ground while the exclusive ‘Points Club Plus’ tier, with richer member benefits, will have a higher annual threshold. Points Club will be launched in late 2019.
-Changes to fees and number of points required
The number of points required for international economy Classic Reward seats will decrease by up to 10 per cent effective immediately. For the first time in almost 15 years the number of points required for domestic and international premium cabins will increase by up to 15 per cent. Points required for upgrades will also increase by up to 9 per cent. The increases in premium cabins will take effect from 18 September 2019.
Carrier charges will be slashed by up to 50 per cent on international redemption bookings, saving members on average $200 per return journey, halving the out of pocket expenses associated with reward travel. A return Classic Reward flight from Sydney or Melbourne to London will see carrier charges reduced from $1080 to $700 in business class while a return economy flight from Sydney to New York will see carrier charges reduced from $360 to $180. Carrier charges on international economy flights will be reduced from today with carrier charges on premium cabin bookings reduced from 18 September 2019.
Qantas Frequent Flyer will be the first Australian loyalty program to offer Lifetime Platinum status. Entry to Lifetime Platinum will be reached by a member accruing 75,000 status credits, and adds to the existing Lifetime Gold and Lifetime Silver frequent flyer tiers. The new Lifetime tier will be introduced in September.
-Improved Member Experience
The digital member experience will be more intuitive and seamless for members. Changes to the search functionality will make finding reward seats quicker and easier – displaying 12 months of reward seats in under five seconds and letting you see the next available redemption flight for popular destinations every time you log into your account.
Further details on each of these changes will be provided to members as they are introduced.