Qantas clamping down on frequent flyer 'loyalty bonus' next month

Qantas clamping down on frequent flyer 'loyalty bonus' next month

Qantas will tighten the rules for its frequent flyer 'loyalty bonus' next month, restricting the ability to earn bonus points to Qantas rather than its oneworld partners.

Members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program receive an 8,000 point bonus for every 500 status credits they earn.

As status credits are earned only when you fly, these extra points are intended to reward travellers for flying with Qantas or its partner airlines such as Cathay Pacific, British Airways, American Airlines and other members of the oneworld alliance.

However, as of July 1st, "only status credits earned from flights with a QF flight number (including partner airline flights with a QF flight number) will contribute to the Status credits calculation for the Loyalty Bonus", according to qantas.com/loyaltybonus.

You'll still be able to earn four loyalty bonuses per year, pocketing 32,000 frequent flyer points if you notch up 2,000 status credits – but only status credits from flights on Qantas aircraft or codeshare flights carrying a QF number will count towards your bonus points tally.

Qantas has over nine million frequent flyers on its books, and that number is expected to top 10 million before year's end.

The program's parent group Qantas Loyalty contributed $137 million in earnings (before interest and tax) to the Red Roo's coffers in the second half of 2012.

The airline will launch a major promotion for its frequent flyer scheme this month, featuring NASA's Mars Rover 'Curiosity' explorer, and is ramping up for the launch of the new Qantas Cash card, which integrates a prepaid MasterCard travel money card onto the smartchip-enabled Qantas Frequent Flyer card.

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11 Comments

  • PLATY

    PLATY

    11 Jun, 2013 11:01 am

    Thanks for the reminder of the changeover.

    IMHO yet another "improvement" to the detriment of the frequent flyer and an incentive (to fly solely QF rather than OneWorld) that could back fire on QF.

    Whilst appreciating many personal experiences of excellent service from QF and especially the staff I am continually dismayed at the constant erosion of the loyalty equation in favour of the airline and frequent flyer partners.

    Question is what about the option of the 50,000 point bonus at 2400 status credits. Do the 2400 status credits have all to be with QF?

    Personal strategy is now to aim to earn the 900 status credits and 300 QF credits to maintain Platinum (very easily done with one voerseas trip across the US each year)....IF opportunities arise to requalify for PlatinumOne (work travel, double status offers, etc) the new status credit changes effectively disappear...but that's a big ask for most of us....

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  • jamessanders

    jamessanders

    11 Jun, 2013 11:07 am

    When was the last time that Qantas provided an update to their frequent flyer program that benefited customers? Every update removes value and this continues the trend.

    Qantas points are harder to earn than other airlines' and less valueable when you try to redeem both in the cost of redemptions and availability of premium cabin seats.

    I'm a Platinum QF based in LA and was planning on staying loyal to QF but am now thinking of moving my loyalty program to AA - you get all the benefits of QF Platinum (lounge access, advance seat choice) but you also get 8 upgrade coupons, their points are easier to redeem/more valuable and economy seats get upgraded for free!

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  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    11 Jun, 2013 12:33 pm

    It's a little disappointing but I actually don't have too much of an issue with this. I can accept that you receive Status Credits when you fly on a OneWorld carrier so why shouldn't a "Loyalty Bonus" be for loyalty to Qantas rather than another OneWorld carrier? So much as I would love to keep earning the loyalty bonuses from any OneWorld carrier, I completely understand the rationale and have no problem with this move from Qantas.

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  • PLATY

    PLATY

    11 Jun, 2013 07:23 pm

    Ausflyer, whilst respectong your point of view and , please do share the "rationale" for this move: and is this something you assume or know from the inside? 

    Insodoing perhaps address why QF management can assume there is no downside to regarding customer loyalty as a one-way relationship as suggested by continually finding ways to reduce the benefits of their frequent flyer scheme.

    Just out of interest - do you think that being able to comprehend a rationale by QF management is sufficient reason for a customer to acquiesce to lowering of benefits, services levels, or whatever?

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  • Al Glidden

    Al Glidden

    11 Jun, 2013 08:29 pm

    PLATY, I think the 'rationale' is pretty obvious and pretty understandable. This is a 'loyalty bonus'. Qantas wants to reward loyalty to its own brand, and not to anybody else, especially not competitores like CX and BA. Why should Qantas dole out frequent flyer points because somebody has travelled on an airline that's not Qantas and from which Qantas gets no gain? Why shoud Qantas give me Qantas frequent flyer points when I fly Cathay, MAS, AA, Finnair or anybody else?

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  • mitchimus

    mitchimus

    11 Jun, 2013 10:56 pm

    Perhap a reason for QF to give FF points and bonuses is to keep us in their alliance or fly with their partners at least not with other competitors. I did note that the loyalty bonus was still being acrued on flights that had a QF no matter which metal it actually was.

    Those of us living in Perth only have oneinternational QF destination now (as in metal) wich is Singapore and that is now once a day not twice. If we want to travel anywhere else we need to fly on a partner be it Emirates, Malaysian or BA (from Singapore) or Cathay and as QF only code share with Emirates these days out of Perth sadly we are really stuck with them and their sardine like 10 abreast 777's. 

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  • PLATY

    PLATY

    12 Jun, 2013 06:46 am

    Thanks, Al, 

    You make good points, yet, the argument is not watertight. 

    You give points/credits for travel on your airline partners and OneWorld kin as part of the deal - the reciprocation comes in these airlines funneling the passengers back into your system.

    On one level BA and CX are competitors, but on another they are part of your extended network through OneWorld.

    As QF moves increasingly to becomong a boutique international airline it is ever more reliant on the codeshare and alliance model.

    For example, there are now only 4 aircraft per day leaving Austraia with a first class product by my count (MEL-DXB-LHR, SYD-DXB-LHR, SYD-LAX, MEL-LAX) meaning upgrades to first and anytime rewards are restricted to a small fraction of available flights over the "network".

    Similarly any uprade to business can only be on QF metal.

    The point is that QF should be encouraging the use of its partners onto this business model rather than providing disincentive.

    The more QF attempts to concentrate passengers onto its own codeshares and metal, the more the system for frequent flyers gets squeezed especially when QF messes with benefits such as credit bonus on non QF partner flights.

    There comes a point when a frequent flyer says, stuff this lark, and merrily goes off to another frequent flyer system or alliance (all too easy with VA and Star, etc).

    Or even says, fine I'll do enough flying to get my Platinum renewal and then all bets are off, I'll fly with whoever I choose on the day.

    As a QF life time gold I have little to loose by saving the $$$'s and traveling on another airline (especially with VA Platinum whis is so easy to get and retain).

    IMHO it's a lot more complex than the obvious rationale and I have little faith that Joyce has a mature understanding of customer loyalty.

    In the meantime the QF frequent flyer gets trashed YET AGAIN!

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  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    12 Jun, 2013 01:07 pm

    No Platy, I don't have any inside information. I am simply thinking rationally and I am simply stating that I, as an individual thinker, have no issue with this change as I believe that the Loyalty Bonus is intended to reward loyalty to Qantas. It doesn't degrade the points you still earn when flying any other OneWorld carrier, only that you can only earn the bonus on Qantas. Why shouldn't they? Why should Qantas have to issue loyalty bonus points if you're not being loyal to Qantas?

    Other airlines have similar benefits for their own Frequent Flyer schemes where you have to be flying with them, yet they are also part of an alliance. I haven't done deep down research, so my apologies if I am completely wrong, but examples that I quickly looked at are:

    Asia Miles - Bonus on flights is available on Cathay Pacific or Dragonair only

    Singapore Airlines has PPS Club that has rewards for passengers who fly in the premium classes on Singapore Airlines and Silk Air only.

    I just believe that the loyalty bonus is an incentive to fly with Qantas... So I can completely understand that Qantas limits awarding this to passengers flying with Qantas. Being part of an alliance like OneWorld aims to streamline flights, bookings, connections etc. It also allows for points to be awarded for flying with an alliance, but it doesn't mean that everything an airline does has to feed into the alliance. Alliance airlines are afterall still competitors.

    Like you, I am a Platinum One and I am also Lifetime Gold and I have the option to fly with whoever I like. I choose to fly with Qantas because I want to and as I said earlier, it is disappointing that this has changed but I just don't see this as a huge problem because I understand why they would do it. If people decide to book on Qantas or a Qantas flight number to get the loyalty bonus then Qantas is earning the income and maintaining the loyalty which is what the bonus is all about.

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  • PLATY

    PLATY

    12 Jun, 2013 07:35 pm

    Thanks, AusFlyer, for the clarification, and yes all you postulate is eminently logical.

    Some food for thought...

    If you follow the argument of equivalence between frequent flyer schemes you are in danger of losing your point of difference if you seek to be the same as others (ironically I've seen it reported that EK are prepared to bleed frequent flyers to QF if folk perceive as a better scheme - mind you they have little to lose given they fly 13/15 flights out of the alliance flights out of Australia).

    VA Velocity is actually the better scheme for domestic travellers (easier to get Platinum, faster point earn, etc) AND they have significant points of difference such as family pooling of credits and/or points and Hilton Diamond, etc.

    The frequent flyer scheme is a big profit centre for QF so IMHO it's simply about the cash for QF and optimising frequent flyer profit - their cost centres are separated which means QF are probably making decisions about the frequent flyer scheme whilst locked in a busines function silo in absentia of aspects of the bigger picture.

    My presumption (and it's only that) is that they do not appply complex models for such decisions. They are gambling the reduction in benefit won't make lead to a significant lowering in loyalty, whilst they are patting themselves on the back for saving having to pay out frequent flyers with those bonus points.

    Now everyone is different (and respecting the changes appear not to bother you), in my own personal case the constant lowering of benefit levels and the better aspects of Velocity have led me to transfer significant business away from QF whilst still remaining PlatinumOne. Perhaps 30 business class flights last year for myself andf partner to VA/Velocity. Of clurse QF have NO WAY of realising their loss of business becuase all they see is a PlatinumOne customer. It was a initially a BIG STEP to break patterned behaviours to even try VA...generally the paradigm is that it is 5 times harder to win a customer than to keep one.

    My lingering loyalty to QF is DESPITE their contant lowering of benefits, is out of respect for their front line taff who are 99% excellent.

    I have little respect for their senior management and see this recent decision as short sighted. Happy for others to disagree.

    On a final note, this reduction has the greatest impact on the most loyal customers sicne you need to fly significantly to get to the 4x bonus levels. Daft in my book but apparently logical to others.

    Enough for one night...too many men in blue ties on the TV so gotta go put a DVD on...enjoy...

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    14 Jun, 2013 05:40 pm

    JamesSanders is on the money, Qantas has never really amended the Frequent Flyer program to the benefit of its customers. It's always to reduce a benefit or to increase a cost. That's why it doesn't pay to accumulate large amounts of QFF points as their value is regularly reduced - better to spend points within a year or two of earning to keep their original value. Qantas uses their Frequent Flyer program to make money, not spend it, which is why private equity is always interested in spinning the QFF program off seperate from the airline. This change is just another cut in a long line of reducing benefits, as Qantas seeks to make the most of this goldmine. 

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  • Brett Courtenay

    Brett Courtenay

    22 Aug, 2013 10:09 am

    Since becoming a Qantas Frequent Flyer Member in 1996 I subsequently used points to travel up to 3 times a year between Sydney and Bangkok and have been doing such for most of the last 15 years. Most of my Rewards Flights have been via the Classic FF Option and I always travel alone and have complete flexibility on when best to do my travel.I do not need to state the obvious to most of you that despite this, the Classic Flights have become harder and harder to obtain as well as becoming ever more costly as Fees, Taxes and Charges continie to increase and now basically match the wholesale cost to Qantas of that seat, so much for being rewarded for my Loyalty! But most surprising of all (though who else than by Qantas?) in what must be a total of at least 32 of these flights, I have NEVER been able to find/get/book/fly on an actual Qantas Flight/Plane! In every instance (including Premium Economy) my only available flight is via the (now defunct)Oneworld partner BA. (though code shared as a QF/BA flight, it was always on a BA branded Plane) Would it be wrong to say that Qantas purposely rigged FF Classic bookings to ensure that it's Partner Airline had the seat availibities that it never seemed to have on it's own planes in over 16 years of flying up to 3 times a year?? Thus Qantas need never meet any obligation to provide ANY Classic Award seats and therefore "profit" on being able to sell more seats on full fares and leaving tghe "F.F.F's" (Frequent Flyer Free loaders) to it's hapless One World partner to provide...?! It certainly fits the Highly Oportunistic Behaviour/Provisions that Qantas is becoming more and more infamous for. Do others agree? More and more and in many ways , shapes and form, I find Qantas at the forefront of giving the least, costing the most and leading the Industry in finding ever more devious ways to cost you more or save them most. Apart from the growing alienation, frustration and certain disatisfaction all these things create, I see Qantas becoming less concerned about these things than ever before as it pursues it's strategy to maximise profits/curtail losses regardless of the potential cost it may bear on future success. 

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