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Qantas Platinum One: more upgrades and a dash of Chairman’s Lounge

By David Flynn     Filed under: qantas, frequent flyer, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Chairman's Lounge, status credits, Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum One, Platinum One, Stephanie Tully

UPDATE | Qantas has now launched its Platinum One frequent flyer level, and we've got all the details...

PREVIOUS | Qantas’ most frequent flyers are set to be spoiled like never before when the airline’s new Platinum One loyalty level launches later this year.

In an exclusive interview with Australian Business Traveller, Qantas revealed the first hints of the benefits to be enjoyed by people “who are virtually living on aircraft”.

More upgrades with earlier notice

Top-tier travellers can look forward to more upgrades, with greater advance notice of international upgrades as well as the facility for last-minute upgrades to fill vacant seats in the last few hours before departure.

“One of the things Platinums Ones want is as-early-as-possible confirmation of upgrades” explains Stephanie Tully, Head of Airline Loyalty at Qantas, who is leading the team developing Platinum One.

“You can now go online to check your upgrade request about seven hours before the flight, but we're looking at giving days of notice of upgrade confirmation” Tully says, with those alerts being issued by SMS.

At the same time, Platinum One flyers will have access to last-minute upgrades where seats become available due to ‘no-shows’ at the airport and missed inbound domestic connections.

“The other thing we are going to try to do with upgrades is run them as close as possible to departure. At the moment, the last run is about 10 hours before departure.”

This leads to the annoying situation of walking on board to see empty seats in business and first – seats which Qantas will now seek to fill with its highest-value passengers.

And while Platinum One will be a very different proposition to the exclusive invitation-only Qantas Chairman’s Lounge, Tully says that “some of the benefits might be aligned.”

Benefits still shaping up

Precisely what those benefits will be is still taking shape, and Tully says that her team studied our suggested 10 benefits that Qantas should offer to Platinum One frequent flyers with great interest.

But she is quick to pour cold water on the return of ‘anytime access’ – the privilege to use a Qantas lounge even when flying with a competing airline – even for these super frequent flyers.

“We want to make sure that our lounges are occupied and enjoyed by the people that are actually flying Qantas or our oneworld or codeshare partner airlines.”

Everything else is still in play. Even the Platinum One membership card is “still in final stages of design” says Tully, along with the actual amount of status credits needed to quality for Platinum One.

"We're looking at 3,600 status credits, that's yet to be finalised but it will be around that. I've got a dedicated team working on Platinum One and we’ve got more meetings in the next few weeks to flesh it all out.”

The personal touch

Top most on the list is what Tully calls “high touch” benefits.

“People who are flying this much are almost living on aircraft, so what can we do to make sure that those people feel totally appreciated every step of the way? A lot of it is about high-touch recognition and service.”

“I'd like to offer them a phone number they can call to do anything they want -- a one-stop shop. And that we’re looking after them particularly when things go wrong, because one of the key drivers is ‘look after me really well in a disruption’.”

Australian Business Traveller will cover more of Qantas’ plans for its frequent flyer program over the coming days.

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

 

Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 30/6/11 by chandi

“People who are flying this much are almost living on aircraft, so what can we do to make sure that those people feel totally appreciated every step of the way? A lot of it is about high-touch recognition and service.”

This will be a change.  I am at 4000+ SC this year with still 4 months to go and have been waiting for more than 8 weeks for a reply to I am email about baggage issues.

2 on 1/7/11 by mrmaxwell

But she is quick to pour cold water on the return of ‘anytime access’...“We want to make sure that our lounges are occupied and enjoyed by the people that are actually flying Qantas or our oneworld or codeshare partner airlines.”

I think PAX with 3600+ SC's at any given time are flying Qantas/OneWorld on a regular basis...stupid comment.

 

 

3 on 1/7/11 by am

I wonder how many people this tier is actually going to cover. Has QF actually said anything about the number of people who earn 3600+ SCs a year??

And their reasoning with Anytime Access is a bit ridiculous - I will try to fly QF/OW as much as I can, but they don't fly everywhere... I only use other airlines when QF can't get me there easily (and I imagine most other FFs do the same) and yet I can't use their lounges in those cicumstances, even though it's their fault I can't fly them... I'm not flying QF any more/less as a result of them cancelling Anytime Access, it's just changed my perception of the company and their attitude towards my loyalty/decisions (so I'm more willing to try out alternatives, which I usually better than I expect).

Anyway, this is getting exciting :)

1 on 1/7/11 by David

Qantas hasn't revealed how many people on its books are eligible for Platinum One, but from our chats with them it's clear this is quite a large number – some are qualifying for P1 based just on trans-Tasman or east-west flights – and also clear that they see this number will grow as more and more people fly, hence the driver to create a super-Platinum tier (we've got more on this for Monday).

4 on 29/9/11 by radiant

Interesting article. I've spent the last 4 years at Platinum, and then had a contract which required very little travel and lost it. I'll reclaim it again this month. What's interesting is the serious lack of service when you drop from Platinum to Gold... little bit dissapointing for an airline that I've spent well over $200k on in the last few years. A few years back (07?) I got sent a magazine/book that Qantas released especially for its "top 1%" of FF... I imagine there would have been a few thousand maybe?.. perhaps not that many, but that was the last I heard about a top tier member benefit. P1 is a good concept, but I'd just like less 'mystery' about the whole process, upgrades etc etc... 

5 on 20/10/11 by PLA

What does status credits earned on QF marketed fights only mean? Does it mean of my 4,600+ points over the past year, the 1,500 earned on other One World airlines where QF doesn't fly (and that's most places these days) don't don't count? Their email of the other day suggests this. If so, that will be a deal breaker for me. Please take up this issue aviation journos.

1 on 20/10/11 by PLA

When I say points above, I mean 4,600 status credits and 3,200 status credits of course, not FF points!

2 on 20/10/11 by David

'QF marketed flights' are flights with a QF flight number - which means either Qantas' own flights or a codeshare which opereated under a QF number as well as that of its parent airline (BA flights are a good example).

So even if you fly on another oneworld airline, such as CX from HK to London, as this isn't a Qantas codeshare and doesn't carry a QF flight number then any status credits you earn on that won't 'count' towards gaining/keeping P1, only Platinum.

6 on 29/1/12 by traveller90

After studying Qantas's newly launched Platinum One program, Qantas has done nothing more than sell itself short on delivering a diluted service which could have made a massive impact in its market share and has fallen short of expectations. For all the hipe advertised for Platinum Onel being introduced to reward brand loyalty and to attract new commers to the brand, the offerings were embarrassing. For a traveller notching up the 3600+ status credits pa, to achieve this level the average expenditure would begin between 60 to 100K plus pa. Inclusions of memberships into culinary and wine clubs, free exit row seating in economy (many of whom do not even fly in this class) and easing the requirements for upgrading for those already flying in premium classes, is so outside of the focus and useless to most. Yes Platinum One will attract standard Platinum FF's to fly more and will no doubt dilute the standard Platinum level, but Platinum One will not reward or attract the customers it is designed to. Most travellers who quality for the new Platinum One level already fly in the premium classes - therefor little need for upgrades and definately no need for free exit rows in economy, and definately do not requrie complimentary membership to a wine club - where is the corporate focus. It QF focused on rewarding rather then shallow selling then it may start heading in the right direction. What could be offered - eg: upgraded complimentary limo transfers on all flights both domestic and international, greatly increased baggage allowance on top of standard Platinum, complimentary upgrades from business to first for international flights if space allows, complimentary upgrades from economy to business on domestic flights if space allows, complimentary one to two night 5 start hotel stopovers on long haul flights eg: SYD to LHR via BBK if passenger wishes to break the flight with limo service provided, just to name a few. Yes these inclusions cost but so do the premium fares charged by QF, but when premium service levels of QF are compared to EK and SQ (just to name 2) some of these are already included in the airfare and are not an extra Status perk. QF should look at its position and reward constructively rather then with gimmicks which Plantinum One does. QF could simply provide loyalty rewards of substance to those who deserve them. No gimmicks, not freebees treats, just simply quality service levels, effeciency and appointments which will make the brand stand out and have customers saying, yes QF is a definate consideration. Feedback welcome.

 

7 on 18/7/12 by Stugs123

I have been racking up more than enough ff each year to obtain P1 status so was somewhat excited that I didn't have to watch my credit status expire to nothing when they announced P1. Just something else to look for when you already reached the other benefits and still have to fly.

Anyway, i noticed that because I flew other one world carriers, I was a return trip short of status credit to attain P1. Mind you I had to fly the next few weeks anyway, so I called QF FF and asked if they would be willing to extend my anniversary date by a month, so I could reach P1...seems a waste that  I was so close and even had a flight booked.

I was told 'no' and that one had to earn the status and fly on a QF flight. I told the rep that I understood what he was saying but surely he could see from my flight history and present bookings with QF that i was one loyal customer. I told him i really have nothing more to gain apart from points given I already attained life time gold status. 

The QF rep stood his ground and said that there was nothing he could do and clearly no point for me to keep talking to him as he clearly does not understand proper customer service. There are other ways to explain policies to a customer to at least make them feel good.

To cut to the chase, I was a bit disappointed at just missing out on obtaining P1 status, but at least Im now free to fly other airlines because there really is no point in trying to reach it.

Also, I thought that Qantas customer service and how they treat their loyal  ff have really gone to the dogs. So for that I have chosen my Dog Hollie to be the recipient of the free Gold FF membership that Qantas have given me for obtaining 2400 status credits.

So there you go, my little fluffy four legged child is probably the first dog to obtain Qantas Gold FF status! Thanks for the card and Q tags Qantas..Woof! Woof!

 

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