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.
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.