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Jetstar adds Qantas Frequent Flyer points, cheap flexible fares

By danwarne     Filed under: qantas, frequent flyer, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Jetstar, flexible fares

One of the surprising changes in Qantas' major revamp of its Frequent Flyer program today was the introduction of Qantas Frequent Flyer point and status credit earning with Jetstar.

It's still not included with the basic, cheap fares, but the cost of adding the option is not outlandish. It's not a flat fee -- it varies depending on the route you're travelling.

For example, on a $59 Sydney to Melbourne flight departing May 24th, the cost of adding Qantas Frequent Flyer point and status earning is $25. Baggage with a 20KG allowance adds another $10.

That $25 fee for the Sydney-Melbourne route might sound like a lot for the sake of 1,000 points, worth about $10, but it also includes flexiblity on the fare -- there are no change penalty fees (you still have to pay the difference if the flight you want to change to costs more than the originally ticketed flight, though.)

You also get free seat selection included, which Jetstar normally charges $3 for.

The $25 addition also gives you 10 status credits, which will help you crawl towards the next level in Qantas Frequent Flyer.

There's no question that Jetstar is covering its costs through your $25 fee, but the deal still seems pretty fair to passengers, compared to the traditionally crazy-expensive pricing of flexible fares on Australian airlines.

The really stark comparison is between Jetstar with the $25 bundle, and Qantas and Virgin Australia semi-flexible fares.

How Jetstar now compares to Qantas

The cheapest Qantas fare available on that day (May 24th) is $117 -- and that only qualifies you to earn Frequent Flyer points and status credits. There are still $50 per person, per segment change penalties.

A Qantas "flexi-saver" fare, which allows changes without penalty fees, but still requires any fare difference to be paid, costs a minimum $369.

No wonder most companies insist on booking non-refundable discount economy tickets on Qantas -- even when a change is necessary, the penalty fees are still cheaper than buying a flexible fare.

So, the Qantas/Jetstar comparison of fares SYD-MEL is:

  • Qantas: Points + baggage - not flexible = $117
  • Qantas: Points + baggage + flexible = $369
  • Jetstar: Points + baggage + flexible = $94

How Jetstar now compares to Virgin Australia

The cheapest Virgin Australia fare available on that day (May 24th) is $88, plus $12 for 23KG of baggage -- a total of $100. That automatically includes points earning in Virgin Australia's Velocity frequent flyer program.

Virgin's flexible fare, which includes baggage, and allows changes without penalties, but still requires any fare difference to be paid, is $308.

So, the Virgin Australia/Jetstar comparison of fares SYD-MEL is:

  • Virgin: Points + baggage - not flexible: $100
  • Virgin: Points + baggage + flexible = $308
  • Jetstar: Points + baggage + flexible = $94

The conclusion?

Although Jetstar doesn't market itself as a business airline, these changes clearly make it dramatically more appealing to business passengers, who will be able to use the Qantas Club before Jetstar flights, while also earning points and status credits towards Qantas Frequent Flyer membership tiers.

Jetstar's planes and seating are similar to Qantas' domestic planes -- often newer, in fact -- and cabin crew are generally as friendly and helpful as Qantas'.

The main downside of flying Jetstar is that sometimes it's in a different terminal to Qantas, with a smaller Qantas Club, and more crowded terminal spaces due to other budget airlines squeezing more passengers into a smaller space.

However, if a Jetstar fare with points and flexibility costs less than a Qantas fare with points but no flexibility, it should be an easy sell within organisations.

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About danwarne

Dan is a tech enthusiast who frequently qualifies for enhanced airport security screening due to the number of cords and gadgets stuffed into his cabin bag.

 

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1 on 17/5/11 by jdk

It seems as though its not a flat $25 fee - for a $49 flight the surcharge is $45, $59 is $35 and $69+ seem to be $25. This was on the Syd-Gold Coast route.

1 on 17/5/11 by danwarne

Yeah, but my point was that you have to compare it to standard and flexible fares with Qantas/Virgin.

1 on 17/5/11 by jdk

Yeah totally understand that - just don't necessarily agree with the fact that they have tiered pricing based on the cost of the base fare for the exact same extra. 

2 on 17/5/11 by am

Very interesting... This is probably enough to make me think about JQ over DJ when there isn't the QF option just to keep my points all in the same programme, but it really does come down to the cost... 

3 on 7/6/11 by KG

I recently looked into booking a Star Class ticket on Jetstar. Whilst that used to be good value (i.e. a bigger seat and business class status credits), with the recent revisiting of fares it is now pretty bad. A ticket to Bali would cost me (as a base Jetstar fare) around 749AUD one way, however, these fares do NOT earn status credits anymore!?!?! To earn status credits you need to shell out another 200AUD one way, pretty lousy deal and a reason to fly another airline in their proper business class (Garuda to Bali, China Southern to BKK and further).

Prior to the change I am certain you could book a Starclass fare with all inclusions for around 700AUD.

In other words, the revamp of their fare structure is as always a cover up for price increases. Although I understand the value on domestic economy tickets, the Starclass deal has gone sour.

 

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