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Qantas overhauls Frequent Flyer program, introduces new Platinum One level

By danwarne     Filed under: qantas, frequent flyer, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Airlines, rewards, Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold, Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum, Qantas Frequent Flyer Silver, Qantas Classic Award Flights

Qantas is rolling out significant changes to its Qantas Frequent Flyer program in the face of a new frequent flyer offering from Virgin Australia due in July.

Silver and Gold members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme can now earn more status points, while the most highly-travelled Platinum members will be upgraded to a new 'super Platinum' level known as Platinum One.

The changes focus on rewarding people who fly a lot with Qantas, rather than those who accrue points via credit cards and shopping, and while largely positive in nature there are still a few downsides.

Here's our summary of today's changes.

Classic award flights cost more points

Qantas is imposing a 50% price increase on the number of points required to pay for surcharges and taxes on classic award flights. It will increase from 3,000 points to 4,500 points per segment, which Qantas blames on increased jet fuel prices.

Increased cabin class point-earning bonuses

on Qantas and eligible Jetstar tickets

  • Premium Economy: from 10% to 25%
  • Business: from 25% to 50%
  • First: from 50% to 100%

Increased status point-earning bonuses

on Qantas and eligible Jetstar tickets

  • Silver: 25% to 50%
  • Gold: 50% to 75%

More points and status with Jetstar

A new fare structure for Jetstar will see Frequent Flyer members able to earn both points and status credits in Economy and Business on any fare purchase with a “Plus or Max Bundle”.

The new “bundles” can be included on top of any fare and will provide customers with flexibility and extras depending on their needs.

Among the added benefits are making free changes to their flight, seat selection or earning Qantas Frequent Flyer points and Status credits.

Better upgrade process

While most airlines allow points-based upgrades to be locked in as surely as if you'd bought a ticket, Qantas only gives you the chance of getting an upgrade when you apply for one.

There's no guarantee of the upgrade, and even if you are upgraded you'll be notified only shortly before boarding.

Qantas says it will have an improved upgrade request and notification process planned for late 2011, including SMS confirmation prior to the day of travel.

A new "super platinum" membership level

Qantas new Platinum One tier is for travellers who have accrued 3,600 status credits in a year -- three times the number of status credits required for 'ordinary' platinum status.

The airline hasn't yet released many details on what benefits this new status level will bring, except that it will include a "dedicated team to look after your travel needs every step of the way."

Changed Loyalty bonus

Qantas is raising the 'loyalty bonus' bar, making it harder to receive those extra points while also increasing the number of points you receive.

Under the current scheme members who accrue 450 status credits will receive an extra 5,000 frequent flyer points.

From December this year the qualification limit will be 500 status credits but the bonus will be 8,000 points. Loyalty bonuses can be issued up to four times a year.

Optus points earning

Optus customers will also be able to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points, at a rate not yet revealed. Although it might be a better idea overall to switch to a telco that provides fairer global roaming prices for travellers!

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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 Shaun

For the majority domestic Platinum traveller who only travels overseas 4 times a year the difference between Gold and Platinum has now diminished again.

For practical purposes, what does Platinum give you over Gold now?

  • An extra 25% points bonus. Nothing to write home about.
  • First lounge access on International on 3/4 of those flights (on the yearly family trip in International Business we have to settle on the Business lounge otherwise we'd have to break up the group).
  • Domestic Business lounge

We all know that other so called benefits such as "priority boarding" (also promised on Gold) and "priority baggage" are a farce.

With Virgin Australia raising the bar, I've now decided that instead of sending all of my travel (2,500 status credits in CY2010 and over 2,000 of those on QF metal) to Qantas and moving forward will adopt a best flight policy once Platinum (and Velocity Gold) requalifications are safely in the bag.

On the flipside, if I was still Gold I'd be pretty happy :)

1 on 17/5/11 by danwarne

Very good point. If Virgin Australia could get priority boarding and priority baggage perfected, they'd seriously attract business travellers like ants to honey...

2 on 17/5/11 by am

Agreed, however I would comment that those people who travel enough to get to Platinum do value things like First Lounge access and the higher level priority checkin etc - especially in busier airports overseas... And these are people who aren't going to have to 'work' for their status - they get it anyway and often don't have any option regarding airlines due to corporate contracts and agreements... I'm personally interested in what this new level will involve... A family member reached 4,500 SCs last year so will be eligible :)

1 on 17/5/11 by danwarne

Wow, your family member must have practically lived 35,000 feet up (unless they were flying business/first class a lot, I guess...)

1 on 18/5/11 by am

Haha true... He heads up the Asia Pacific division of a big American company, but is based in Sydney, so does what he calls the 'quick hop' up to Hong Kong once every couple of weeks, as well as other trips to the US and Europe 3 or 4 times a year... I'm personally hoping for free platinum membership for all family members !! :) 

2 on 17/5/11 by am

QF said that they will be completely refitting 9 747s (this was supposed to happen through 2010, but was pushed back due to the GFC and they've never said anything firm about it since then). This includes A380 seats, A380 entertainment, snack bars, carpets, bathrooms, galleys etc... I'm also hoping that the 3 non-ERs will get the ERs 777 style interior...

As for these changes - very surprising... I think that the current programme is pretty decent, but changes that bring privelidges back to actual frequent flyers rather than CC earners etc are very welcome... I look forward to seeing the Jetstar scheme that they come up with - it's actually the single reason that I fly DJ when there's no QF on the route...

3 on 17/5/11 by jokiin

not surprised by these changes as they don't cost anything to implement, does little to hide the cost cutting that seems to have been happening that has brought service levels down to an all time low, improving those would get more bums on seats, more reward points for substandard service isn't particularly appealing in my view

4 on 19/6/11 by steveg

Platinums lose again. No question.

It's simple, really.

All they have to do for people who fly a lot is:

1. Give us lounge access REGARDLESS. Business in domestic and First in international is logical.

2. Let us on the plane early, although I can live without.

3. Let us check in easily and quickly. International First is a joke about half the time I'm there.

4. Look after us when it comes to frequent flyer redemption

.

600 status credits and you're gold. Double that and you're platinum.

Three times that and you're what? They won't tell us yet. Wake up Qantas, before it's too late. 

 

 

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