Qantas frequent flyers will soon have access to more reward seats to more destinations and enjoy reduced carrier charges, but those who want to redeem seats in premium cabins will need to spend more points.
These changes are coming as the Australian flag carrier has today launched a revamp of its frequent flyer programme.
The A$25 million (US$17.2 million) investment includes changes in current offerings and new initiatives, such as the introduction of a new Points Club programme for members earning points through non-flying related transactions and the new Lifetime Platinum status.
The key changes will be rolled out gradually over the next 12 months, including:
More reward seats for travel to more destinations
Qantas will make over one million extra reward seats available annually on Qantas and new partner airlines, including during peak leisure travel periods.
According to Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Group, these additional reward seats will be available in first class, business class and premium economy to destinations such as London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Singapore. As a result, members can expect an up to 30 per cent increase in the airline’s “highest demand” international premium cabin reward seats over the next 12 months.
Qantas has also added five new frequent flyer partner airlines on which their members can earn and use points, including Air New Zealand, China Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. These new airline partners will give Qantas customers more destination choices, including Paris, Amsterdam, Taipei, New Zealand and Thailand.
Reduced carrier charges
Meanwhile, the Australian flag carrier will reduce carrier charges – the additional costs associated with flights booked with points – by up to 50 per cent on Classic Flight Reward seats on international routes. According to Qantas, the reduction will save passengers around A$200 (US$138) per return journey on average.
However, the international routes eligible for reduced carrier charges do not include direct flights to and from New Zealand and selected locations in South Pacific that are classified as “domestic zones” due to their proximity to Australia.
Carrier charges on international economy flights will be reduced from today, while those on premium cabin bookings will be slashed from 18 September 2019.
Changes in points required for reward seats
The number of points required for international economy Classic Flight Reward seats will decrease by up to 10 per cent, effective from today for travel to Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.
However, members will see an increase in points required for domestic and international premium cabins by up to 15 percent, as well as a rise in points needed for upgrades by up to 9 per cent. This will take effect from 18 September this year.
According to the carrier, the increase is “to better reflect the value of this premium experience”.
“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,” said Joyce.
Qantas has provided a table illustrating the changes in both points required for seat redemption and carrier fees, using the example of return trips between Melbourne (MEL) and Los Angeles (LAX). From the table below, we can see that, in addition to the reduction of carrier charges for all classes, there’s a decrease in points required to redeem economy class reward seats, while members will need to spend more points than before for premium class seats.
|Return trips (MEL-LAX)||Before changes||After changes|
|Points required||Fees||Points required||Fees|
|Economy class||90,000||A$513 (US$353)||83,800 (6,200↓)||A$393 [A$120↓] (US$271) [US$83↓]|
|Premium economy||144,000||A$793 (US$546)||162,600 (18,600↑)||A$603 [A$190↓] (US$415) [US$131↓]|
|Business class||192,000||A$943 (US$650)||216,800 (24,800↑)||A$703 [A$240↓] (US$485) [US$166↓]|
|First class||288,000||A$943 (US$650)||325,600 (37,600↑)||A$703 [A$240↓] (US$485) [US$166↓]|
New tiered Points Club programme
Qantas will launch a new Points Club programme in late 2019 for members who earn a lot of points through non-flying related transactions, which account for two thirds of all points earned according to statistics from the airline.
With this new Points Club programme, these non-flying members can earn flight and travel benefits, including lounge access, bonus status credits, as well as member-exclusive offers and discounts across Qantas Frequent Flyer and partners.
The programme will include two tiers with an entry threshold based on the number of points earned annually: members earning 150,000 points on the ground in the membership year can reach the entry-level Points Club tier, while the exclusive Points Club Plus tier will have a higher annual threshold with more benefits, details of which have yet to be announced.
Lifetime Platinum membership
Qantas Frequent Flyer will also be the first and only Australian airline loyalty programme to introduce Lifetime Platinum membership in September this year. Members with at least 75,000 status credits will be eligible for Lifetime Platinum status. It will complement Qantas’ existing Lifetime Silver and Lifetime Gold membership, which require 7,000 and 14,000 status credits, respectively.
The benefits of Lifetime Platinum members are listed on the official website of Qantas Frequent Flyer programme, including:
- Access to Qantas International First lounges and Domestic Business lounges
- 100 per cent more Qantas Points on flights
- Priority Class Upgrade Rewards
- Priority check-in on both domestic and international routes
- “Generous” extra checked baggage allowances
- Oneworld Emerald status for life
Improved digital experience
The revamp of the frequent flyer programme will also include improved digital experiences for members. Members will be able to see the next available redemption flight for popular destinations every time they log in to their account. What’s more, they will soon have real-time access to reward seats available over the next 12 months shown within five seconds.
Qantas has also introduced a new browser tool called “Qantas Shopping ‘Points Prompter’” available on both Chrome and Firefox, which can alert members of any point-earning opportunities across a variety of shopping websites including David Jones, Woolworths, Rebel, and catch.com.au.
A fact sheet with all the details of the changes can be downloaded here.
Commenting on the overhaul of Qantas Frequent Flyer programme, Olivia Wirth, CEO of Qantas Loyalty, said: “What we’re announcing today is all about investing more into the heart of our program, the member experience.
“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.”
Qantas Frequent Flyer programme was introduced in 1987. Today, there are 12.7 million members who can earn points with more than 300 programme partners. According to the carrier, the majority of points they have earned are used on travel.
As we reported in May, the Australian flag carrier has also dedicated an entire A380 flight to its frequent flyer redemptions.
In other Qantas related news, Business Traveller Asia-Pacific has also reported on its recent decision to order 36 A321XLRs, Airbus’ latest longest range single-aisle airliner; as well as its plan to launch direct Brisbane-Chicago and Brisbane-San Francisco flights once its joint business with American Airlines gets final approval from the US government.