After much speculation and conjecture since Qantas announced they would be overhauling their Frequent Flyer program, this morning Alan Joyce put the rumour-mill to rest by revealing the exact changes the Qantas Frequent Flyer program would be undergoing over the next year. Fundamentally we feel like the Qantas Frequent Flyer overhaul is serving up significantly more good news than bad – which we did not expect at all.
In short, expect more award seats across the board with more points required in premium cabins, less points in economy, and less taxes and fees for all redemptions. Also expect perks for people who earn lots of points on the ground but don’t fly regularly, a better tool to find award seats, and the holy grail of Qantas status – lifetime Platinum – available for those who earn an eye-watering 75,000 status credits.
Qantas has traditionally followed Lufthansa’s lead on strategic decision, and based on this I half expected Qantas to move to a revenue based points and status system. Fortunately for us they haven’t follow suit, and earn rates for points and status credits on both Qantas and partner airlines remain the same as they have been in recent years.
Award flight redemptions are where the biggest changes are to be found in the frequent flyer overhaul. Qantas Frequent Flyer members will now have access to over 5,000,000 award seats annually – with up to 30% more seats in premium cabins.
A quick glance at the Sydney to London route shows two tickets in First class on a range of December dates in both directions which is legitimately unheard of.
The cost of Economy redemptions are surprisingly and pleasingly dropping for international routes. Sydney to Hong Kong, for example, is currently 28,000 points one-way in economy but moves to 25,200 points when the new scheme comes into effect on September 18. Most international economy redemptions will drop a similar 10%.
Points required for premium cabin redemptions will increase across the board. That same flight from Sydney to Hong Kong increases 14% from 60,000 points to 68,400 which is still bloody good value in our eyes, particularly when taking into consideration the increased availability and the reduces taxes and fee rate which we’ll get into below.
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Taxes and fees on redemptions are set to be reduced by up to 50 per cent on International Classic Flight Rewards, saving members on average $200 per return journey. A return Classic Flight Reward seat from Sydney or Melbourne to London will move from $1,080 to $700 in Business while a return Economy reward seat from Sydney to New York will see fees reduced from $360 to $180.
For mere mortals, status earn rates and tiers remain the same. Silver status still requires 300 SC’s to hit, Gold 700 to hit and 600 to retain, and Platinum 1,400 to hit and 1,200 to retain.
The biggest change here is something Australia’s most serious flyers have been asking for for eternity – Lifetime Platinum Status – which Qantas Loyalty have finally succumbed to, but have set the bar to achieve at an almost laughably high 75,000 Status Credits, more than 5 times the 14,000 SC’s required to hit Lifetime Gold.
Mercifully, Qantas have announced their intention to keep running their bi/tri annual Double Status Credit promotions which puts Gold at an achievable level for those who fly reasonably regularly.
Additionally, they’ve introduced a new ‘Points Club’ program which is all about giving recognition and perks to frequent flyer members who don’t actually fly that often, but earn a significant number of points in non-flying related activities like Credit Cards and Shopping.
Set to launch in late 2019, Points Club will be a two-tiered program with the entry-level tier accessible when you earn 150,000 points in a membership year, and will give members perks like lounge access, bonus status credits, and discounts across Qantas’ Frequent Flyer program.
To learn more about the raft of upcoming changes set to launch in September 2019, visit frequentflyer.qantas.com.