Qantas is readying a change of rules on how many frequent flyer points you’ll earn when travelling on airlines such as Emirates, British Airways and Cathay Pacific – although the process itself is proving harder than expected.
A revamp of the points-earning chart for partner airlines was first flagged in mid-2014 as part of a dramatic overhaul of the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme.
This included slashing 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.
An adjustment to how many points that same trip would earn was due to follow as the final piece of a ‘Fairer Flying’ overhaul of Qantas’ loyalty program, which in the July-December 2014 period tipped a record $160 million of pretax profit into the Flying Kangaroo’s pouch.
Qantas predicted the changes would be rolled out by September 2014 – but that never happened, leaving frequent flyers still earning the same relatively generous servings of points as they’ve done for years.
Change on the way…
But the revamp remains on the table, a Qantas spokeswoman confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.
“As flagged when we announced changes to Frequent Flyer earn rates in 2014, there will be changes made to the earn rates on Qantas’ partner airlines.”
“Changing those earn rates requires working with each partner individually and that’s a process that takes time given the number of partners.”
The spokesperson added that “like any change to the program we will provide appropriate notice ahead of any change taking place.”
What to watch for
The airline has previously suggested that the revised partner points-earning formula would take its cue from Qantas’ own system, which as of July 2014 has seen travellers earning Qantas Points based on the type and cost of their ticket rather than the outright distance of the flight.
That means 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.
Flights could also fall into a number of geographical zones – such as Australia’s East Coast to Asia – rather than have their points calculated based on the overall distance flown.
Harder than it looks
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.
Australian Business Traveller