Qantas is piling on the 'personal touch' perks at the new Platinum One status level of its Qantas Frequent Flyer program.
The freshly-minted 'VIP' grade boasts:
• A dedicated contact number to link members to the Platinum One Special Service Team, which will monitor, support and enhance their travel experience every step of the way
• Complimentary exit row seating (where available) on selected Qantas-operated International flights – and when you're slumming it in economy, access to more seating options in the first few rows of the cattle-class cabin
• Access to extra Qantas Classic Award and Flight Upgrade Award seating on domestic and international Qantas operated flights (with a Qantas flight number on their ticket), without award booking fees for making a telephone booking
• Confirmation of successful upgrade requests as early as seven days prior to departure (for Qantas operated services with a Qantas flight number on their ticket)
• Priority over other Frequent Flyers for International upgrades requests right up until flight departure
• Complimentary membership of epiQure by Qantas Frequent Flyer, the recently launched premium food and wine club
• Personalised gifts and experiences, from tickets to Qantas-sponsored events, to an experience inside a Qantas flight simulator and more.
How to qualify for Platinum One
Only the busiest of business travellers will qualify for Platinum One, which requires 3,600 'status credits' to join (by comparison, 'standard' Platinum requires 1,400 status credits).
That's equivalent to five first-class return flights between Australia and London per year – or, perhaps more realistically, twenty-three business class flights between Melbourne and Auckland.
And you'll want the bulk of those trips to be on Qantas aircraft or QF codeshare flights with oneworld partners such as BA – because 2,700 of your qualifying status credits must be made on what the airline calls 'Qantas marketed flights'.
The status credits you earn while jetting about on any old oneworld airline won't count towards Platinum One (although it will of course count towards Platinum as well as lifetime status up to Gold).
Invitations will wing their way to qualifying members this week, with inaugural Platinum One members being notified of their inclusion in the program by 7 November 2011.
Each inaugural member will qualify for the exclusive new tier status based on flight activity throughout the year prior to 1 November 2011. After that date, Platinum One membership will be assessed based on flight activity during their membership year.
Platinum One: fab or fizzer?
So what's your opinion on the Platinum One proposition? Has Qantas rolled out enough 'hard benefits' to sit alongside the more personal 'soft benefits', or does Platinum One fall short of what a Very Frequent Flyer would expect in return for their loyalty?