Qantas says it won't scrap chauffeur service for points-based bookings

Qantas says it won't scrap chauffeur service for points-based bookings

Qantas says it will continue to offer its chauffeur drive service for business class or first class travellers who book their trip with frequent flyer points, despite a decision by partner Emirates to restrict chauffeur rides to paying customers.

A spokeswoman for Qantas tells Australian Business Traveller that "Qantas Frequent Flyer members will continue to have access to the chauffeur service for eligible reward bookings on Qantas operated services and enjoy the same experience as customers who have made commercial bookings."

Qantas introduced its chauffeur service in April 2013 to match the same offering from Emirates as part of the newly-minted Qantas/Emirates alliance, with a free ride offered to premium cabin customers bound for London, Dubai and the USA.

However, over subsequent years this has been scaled back to include only flights to and from London. 

Relatively few international airlines offer a complimentary chauffeur service. While Emirates set the benchmark, competitor Etihad Airways scrapped its own service in July 2017.

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.
 

26 comments

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    15 Jan, 2019 08:15 am

    Kudos for Qantas for keeping this open to award bookings and upgrades, they are now among the very few airlines in the world to offer a chauffeur service without those exemptions.
    No member give thanks

  • Mal

    Mal

    15 Jan, 2019 08:21 am

    Well this is a bit of a surprise, I would have put money on Qantas following in Emirates' footsteps, very pleased to hear they are going to be treating their loyal frequent flyers the same as those making a normal paid booking.
    No member give thanks

  • Aidan

    Aidan

    15 Jan, 2019 08:53 am

    Glad to hear this. When flying first by points or cash it should be the same. The experience at the pointy end is everything, to get people back.
    It’s not like if you use points for a hotel suite they turn off the hot water... yet.
    Good move Qantas
    Member who gave thanks

    RosBL

  • russell

    russell

    15 Jan, 2019 09:11 am

    ....and its not like the huge fuel fines and charges both Qantas and Emirates charge on award bookings couldn't cover it.
    No member give thanks

  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    15 Jan, 2019 09:24 am

    What about EK flights booked with QF points?
    No member give thanks

  • russell

    russell

    15 Jan, 2019 10:08 am

    You will find that is covered under the Emirates announcement.....no longer after March 1st.
    No member give thanks

  • Adam T

    AT

    15 Jan, 2019 03:17 pm

    I'm booked on EK flights using QF points in Biz/First combo to Europe for travel in May and I still have chauffeur drive confirmed and I'm still able to add/remove them on the EK website. I haven't received any notification from EK that I no longer qualify.
    No member give thanks

  • THR

    THR

    15 Jan, 2019 04:35 pm

    It's for new bookings from March 1st.
    No member give thanks

  • AsiaBizTraveller

    AsiaBizTraveller

    15 Jan, 2019 04:55 pm

    Yes, as you have an existing booking you'll be right. Only new bookings post-March 1 are affected by this.
    No member give thanks

  • Joe

    Joe

    15 Jan, 2019 11:43 am

    Would never have expected such a positive pax friendly announcement such as this from Qantas in all honesty. Well done Qantas for being customer and not bean counter centric.
    No member give thanks

  • Dean

    deanr

    15 Jan, 2019 11:56 am

    To be fair though, Qantas FF levies some of the highest carrier charges on reward bookings compared to most other airlines, pushing the price to around $1,000 for one return business or first class trip to London per passenger (aside the points used), with free transfers only available on London flights and no other routes, despite those hefty fees going right across the Qantas flight network, and couples travelling together most often sharing a car together (so that's $2,000 in fees paid to get a few airport transfers). The bean counters have still won if you ask me!
    No member give thanks

  • born2fish

    born2fish

    15 Jan, 2019 05:18 pm

    On 3 separate First classic rewards points redemptions in the last 12 months, I have been charged the following fees (return):
    MEL-DXB-LHR = $1,500 for each of 2 pax.
    MEL-DXB-GLA (Glasgow) = $1,565
    SYD-DFW = $865
    Given the cost recovery from these fees, and the considerable amount of paid First flying I do to generate the FF points in the first instance, I think QF and EK are still well ahead. Good on QF for recognising the bigger picture here.
    Member who gave thanks

    Krishaal

  • DY

    DY

    15 Jan, 2019 10:32 pm

    I give it 3 months before they realise they're doing something better than someone else and pull the pin
    No member give thanks

  • Timothy Hegarty

    TLH1964

    16 Jan, 2019 03:18 pm

    Nice to know QF are looking after their Business & First Class passengers to/from London, but why not elsewhere?! I'm flying with QF in Business Class this weekend from MEL to LA (and then onto Miami with AA), a complimentary car to the airport would have been very handy indeed. I fly twice a year to NCE with Emirates in Business Class (paid flights, not points) and having that complimentary chauffeur service at both ends is truly fabulous! I certainly hope Emirates never scraps it!
    No member give thanks

  • born2fish

    born2fish

    16 Jan, 2019 04:16 pm

    LAX chauffer drive was short lived due in part to:
    (a) Low usage to/from LAX, compared to LHR and DXB, although to/from MEL & SYD bookings were apparently strong.
    (b) Many pax ex-Aust were connecting to other onward flights in LAX, and those who terminated in LAX often rented cars themselves anyway.
    (c) No competing carrier offered the service on the LAX route.
    (d) Given the geographic spread of the LA area, the mileage restrictions and added costs with local chauffer drivers made it either costly for the airline to subsidise, or too expensive for the pax to pay the mileage overage surcharge. The 50 mile limit excluded places out east like San Bernadino and Riverside, or down south to Laguna Beach.
    No member give thanks

  • Dean

    deanr

    16 Jan, 2019 04:22 pm

    (c) No competing carrier offered the service on the LAX route.

    Actually, Virgin Australia has long offered this on flights to and from LAX, albeit on specific (and paid) business class fares.
    No member give thanks

  • Timothy Hegarty

    TLH1964

    16 Jan, 2019 04:30 pm

    Thanks born2fish - that all makes perfect sense. It's still annoying though! I think what's key in all of this is your point: No competing carrier offered the service on the LAX route. And if bookings to LAX are strong from MEL/SYD then I guess they figure why bother?! We're still filling aircraft without the expense of offering a free chauffeur service! I know for a fact that J class on my flight to LAX this Saturday is practically fully booked. The only J seats left are those they block off - I guess for QF staff and last minute VIP's?
    No member give thanks

  • MarkFranzmann

    MarkFranzmann

    16 Jan, 2019 03:45 pm

    I had an F seat booked for 4/6 using QFF points. As soon as I received the text, I cancelled and purchased J with SQ.
    Coming from BNE it is more convenient, and SQ J on the 350 is superior in my opinion.

    No member give thanks

  • George McLaughlin

    GeorgeMM

    16 Jan, 2019 04:05 pm

    Perhaps I’m just unlucky, but over the last 2 years I’ve never found a business or first award flight on QF metal to London (only partner airlines like Emirates or Cathay) so “retaining” this benefit seems a moot point. Is anyone seeing business or first award availability to London on QF metal? Or maybe it’s because I’m only Gold level?
    No member give thanks

  • born2fish

    born2fish

    16 Jan, 2019 04:35 pm

    Only being Gold might not be helping you with LHR seat availability, especially given Plat and above get earlier access, and now only 1 flight up to LHR on QF metal.
    Unless you really want to stick on QF metal, there are often seats on EK (via DXB) / BA (via SIN) / CX (via HKG) or even MU (via PVG).
    With a bit of flexibility, you can also often get availability to another secondary UK airport instead of LHR, especially on EK.
    No member give thanks

  • George McLaughlin

    GeorgeMM

    16 Jan, 2019 05:13 pm

    Thanks born2fish - yes, usually get F or J to/from LGW - but the point is that Qantas “retaining” the chauffeur service on Qantas metal for award bookings (now that EK have withdrawn this) doesn’t help if there are no available eligible seats on QF metal - so very few will be able to take advantage of this it seems.
    No member give thanks

  • athols

    athols

    16 Jan, 2019 05:36 pm

    Has NY chauffeur been dropped? I flew on J on EK metal on QF points to JFK in Oct and received home pick up and destination drop off service. Is it now only London?

    Returned via Melbourne to Perth on pts J class but no Chauffeur service on QF metal on return. Thought that a bit strange.

    No member give thanks

  • THR

    THR

    16 Jan, 2019 05:45 pm

    Not really that strange. You’re comparing two different operating carriers.

    EK had a wider range of routes they provided chauffeur drive on (which is being discontinued for award flights from 1 March).

    QF only has London.

    It always depended on the metal, not the points source.
    No member give thanks

  • Alex_upgrade

    alex_upgrade77

    18 Jan, 2019 05:03 am

    Given the yield QF make on F and J tickets to London, it's a no brainer if they want to maintain a premium branding. Even for FF passengers who are also some of their most loyal and valuable.
    No member give thanks

  • Mark Nabbs

    Eagles94

    18 Jan, 2019 06:57 pm

    Booked EK Business seats in JFK to DXB and DXB to PER using QF Points , and have been given option to book chauffeur via Qantas site . Trip is in July . So pre-March 1st seems to still be available .
    No member give thanks

  • THR

    THR

    18 Jan, 2019 07:03 pm

    Obviously.
    No member give thanks

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20 May, 2019 01:37 pm

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