Representing a AUD$25 million investment, the changes will improve how members are recognised and rewarded as well as how they earn and redeem points.
The major initiatives, to be rolled out to members over the next 12 months, include:
-Adding more than 1 million extra reward seats available annually on Qantas and new partner airlines;
-Slashing carrier charges – the additional costs associated with flights booked with Points – by up to 50 per cent on international bookings, (opens in new window)saving members on average $200 per return journey;
-Changing the points required for reward seats on domestic and international flights including an up to 10 per cent reduction in the number of points required for international economy Classic Reward seats;
-Increasing the points required for upgrades and Classic Reward seats in premium cabins to better reflect the value of this premium experience;
-Creating a new tiered Points Club program to better reward members who earn most of their points through on-the-ground transactions; and
-Introducing Lifetime Platinum status (at 75,000 status credits), the ultimate recognition for the airline’s most loyal flyers.
Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said the changes are about strengthening Qantas Frequent Flyer to keep delivering for its almost 13 million members.
“The Qantas Frequent Flyer program has always been about rewarding customers for their loyalty. These changes are about making it easier for members to access those rewards and help to keep them highly engaged, which in turn is good news for our business as a whole,” he said.
“We know the majority of our members want to use their points to take a dream trip overseas, so we are adding more reward seats including First, Business and Premium Economy, to places like London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Singapore as well as slashing carrier charges.
“While the points required for business class seats on international and domestic flights will increase slightly, it is the first increase in 15 years and the product has improved a lot in that time,” he said.
The $25 million investment is comprised of making more seats available for frequent flyers as well as the reduction in carrier charges. Increased engagement in the program is expected to offset this within the first year.
Joyce said the program overhaul would ensure the national carrier’s loyalty program remained one of the most attractive and successful in the world.
“Australians love earning Qantas Points and that momentum has seen us expand our number of retail partners and extend into new areas like financial services and insurance,” he said.
“The result is that people have lots of opportunities to earn points, so this overhaul is about making sure they have more opportunities to use them.”
Since its inception in 1987, the frequent flyer program has grown from 50,000 members who could only earn points on travel to almost 13 million members who can earn points with more than 300 partners.
The majority of the points earned across the program are used on travel. Four flight redemptions are made every minute and sixty upgrades are confirmed every hour.
Qantas Loyalty CEO, Olivia Wirth, said they conducted extensive research into the habits and behaviours of frequent flyers to create a program that brings value to all types of members.
“There’s a lot about the Qantas Frequent Flyer program that our members tell us they love but there are also areas of the program that have increasingly come under pressure as a result of rapid expansion. What we’re announcing today is all about investing more into the heart of our program, the member experience,” Wirth said.
“While frequent travellers have always been at the centre of what we do, the growth of our program and its hundreds of partners has provided opportunities for many members to now earn most of their points on the ground.
“Our members are all unique in how they choose to earn and use their Qantas Points. The combination of the new Points Club, the introduction of our most elite tier in Lifetime Platinum, and the increase in seats across our network means the revamped program should offer something for everyone,” she said.
A full breakdown of the program changes, including interactive tables showing the before-and-after pricing and new reward seat options on partner airlines is available at frequentflyer.qantas.com