Loyal Qantas frequent flyers will soon pay a lot less for international reward flights, while having access more seats and greater points buying power as a $25 million revamping of the airline’s rewards program gets underway.
The overhaul is the largest change in the airline’s loyalty program since it launched more than three decades ago and will greatly improve how its members are recognized and rewarded, as well as make it easier to earn and redeem points.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the changes are about strengthening Qantas Frequent Flyer to keep delivering for its 13 million members.
“The Qantas Frequent Flyer program has always been about rewarding customers for their loyalty,” said Joyce. “These changes are about making it easier for members to access those rewards and help to keep them highly engaged, which in turn is good news for our business as a whole. We know the majority of our members want to use their points to take a dream trip overseas, so we are adding more reward seats including First, Business and Premium Economy, to places like London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Singapore, as well as slashing carrier charges. While the points required for business class seats on international and domestic flights will increase slightly, it is the first increase in 15 years and the product has improved a lot in that time.”
The major initiatives, to be rolled out to members over the next 12 months include:
* Adding more than a 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.
* Changing the points requirement for reward seats on domestic and international flights including an up to 10 per cent reduction on 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 the 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 to recognize the airline’s most loyal flyers.
Points can be earned and redeemed through the Club’s relationships with more than 300 partners. The majority of the points earned across the program are used on travel, however. Four flight redemptions are made every minute and sixty upgrades are confirmed every hour.
Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said they conducted extensive research into the habits and behaviors of frequent flyers to create a program that brings value to all types of members.
“There’s a lot about the Qantas Frequent Flyer program that our members tell us they love but there are also areas of the program that have increasingly come under pressure as a result of rapid expansion. The combination of the new Points Club, the introduction of our most elite tier in Lifetime Platinum, and the increase in seats across our network means the revamped program should offer something for everyone.”
Frequent Flyers will have access to more than a million extra reward seats annually on Qantas and a growing list of premium partner airlines. These will accommodate peak leisure travel periods to popular destinations, such as London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Singapore as well as destinations across Europe, New Zealand and South East Asia through new frequent flyer agreements.
Points Club Tiers
Called ‘Points Club’, the initiative will include two tiers of entry. 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 the program. The entry-level Points Club tier will be accessed through earning 150,000 points on the ground, while Points Club Plus will have a higher annual threshold and more benefits. Points Club will be launched in late 2019.
Fees and Points Requirements
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 percent. Points required for upgrades will also increase by up to 9 percent. The increases for premium cabin seats will take effect starting in mid September.
Carrier charges will be slashed by up to 50 percent on international redemption bookings, saving members on average $200 per return journey. A return Classic Reward flight from Sydney or Melbourne to London will see carrier charges reduced from $1,080 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 on premium cabin bookings starting in mid-September.
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 Digital Experience
The digital experience for members will be more intuitive and seamless. Changes to the search functionality will make finding reward seats quicker and easier – quickly displaying 12 months of reward seats and allowing visibility for the next available redemption flight on popular routes every time a member logs in.
A fact sheet detailing all of the changes can be found here.