Qantas will unveil “the biggest overhaul to the airline’s loyalty program in its 32 year history” tomorrow. Be very afraid. A frequent flyer program that already lacks value will likely become even less valuable.
Forgive my cynicism, but when was the last time airlines actually made positive changes to their loyalty program? The best we can ever hope for, in the evolution of a frequent flyer program, is “not too bad” of a change.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Loyalty Chief Olivia Wirth will announce the changes at a formal press conference in Sydney at 10:30 AM local time.
On the one hand, Qantas Frequent Flyer (as the program is called) has interesting partners and at least relatively good deal on short-haul flights and some partner flights like EL-AL. On the other hand, fees are high and longhaul flights are often a very poor value.
Perhaps the one hope we have is that Qantas must be careful not kill its cash cow. As the Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Qantas’ loyalty division made a $372 million profit last year, which is close to half what it made from its entire domestic airline business.
And not said, but the $175MN profit in the Qantas loyalty program was more than TWICE the combined profit of all Qantas’ international routes.
Now if Qantas just announced more “frequent-flyer only” flights and some additional new ways to spend your points, then fine. But that doesn’t sound like “the biggest overhaul to the airline’s loyalty program in its 32 year history.” My guess is the end of fixed-price awards and a move to dynamic pricing, following a long line of global competitors.
I don’t recommend taking advantage of the current American Express transfer bonus to Qantas Frequent Flyer unless you have an immediate booking you will make. Any major changes will likely not take
What do you think Qantas will announce tomorrow?