Qantas expects to reveal the new rates at which members of its frequent flyer scheme will earn Qantas Points when booked on partner airlines such as Emirates, British Airways and Cathay Pacific towards the end of September.
The revised points-earning formula follows a radical and controversial revamp of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, which as of July 1st has seen travellers earning Qantas Points based on the type and cost of their ticket rather than the outright distance of the flight.
Partner airline rates for Qantas Points will follow the same matrix when they are revealed “in about a month away, potentially a little bit more than that,” Qantas Loyalty’s Chief Marketing Officer Stephanie Tully told Australian Business Traveller at the launch of the new QantasPoints.com website.
Passengers will likely earn more points for flying with partner airlines in business class and even more expensive economy tickets than the cheapest sale fares, with flights also falling into a number of geographical zones – such as Australia’s East Coast to Asia – rather than the overall distance flown.
“We’re looking at the same zonal structure, which is why it’s taken a while” Tully said.
Qantas has already slashed the number of status credits earned when flying on partner airlines, making it harder to get that prized gold or platinum Qantas card unless you fly with Qantas.
More points at the pointy end?
However, Qantas suggests the allocation of its frequent flyer points for passengers flying with Emirates and Oneworld airlines will be more balanced and in line with the current scheme for its own flights.
“In a lot of cases members will actually see improvements” Tully promised.
“A lot of partners were structuring points similar to what Qantas has moved towards, based on the value of the fare” Tully said, “so for some it’s not much change at all, just a structural change.”
Tully said the delay in rolling out the new partner earnings rates was due to integrated the routes of each partner into a zone-based table.
Complicating the process for Qantas is that the number of frequent flyer points earned on partner airlines varies widely and wildly according to which airline you fly and which cabin you’re sitting in.
For example, flying in economy on Alaska Airlines, Fiji Airways, Iberia and LAN/TAM currently rakes in one Qantas Point per mile, with a 25% bonus in business class.
But in British Airways economy class the ratio drops to 0.25 Qantas Points for every mile flown – the same amount as applies to far more expensive fares on Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways.
“We’ve obviously had to work with all of our partner airlines on this, but it will make life easier when everything is on the same structure” Tully explained.
Mapping out your earn
To help travellers determine how many points and status credits they’ll earn on any given flight, Qantas will be enhancing its new online calculator with an “interactive route map”, Tully revealed to Australian Business Traveller.
“This will enable you to see points and status credits by routes. You tap on where you’re flying from and to, and it pops up with points and status credits based on the fare type.”
“We’ve got an amazing in-house IT team who created the calculator and they’re also doing the new interactive map.”
Tully says the points calculator and map should be the first stop for travellers.
“I always say to people, forget the tables and just go straight to the calculator because it is the simplest way to see your earning proposition.”
Frequent flyers reveal their own Fairer Flying strategy
In the meantime, many savvy travellers are revising their own booking arrangements and airline preferences in light of the July 1 changes.
Some are shifting to other airlines within the Oneworld family, such as British Airways and its Avios scheme, while others are looking to build status with Virgin Australia alongside Qantas.
Read what a number of informed Qantas Frequent Flyer members revealed to Australian Business Traveller about their post-July loyalty plans in Qantas Frequent Flyer shake-up: what's your plan come July 1
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT
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.