Qantas Frequent Flyer is making several changes to the program including adding a new top tier status and increasing class-of-service flight bonuses, among other changes.
Currently, the elite program is comprised of Silver (obtained at 300 status credits), Gold (obtained at 700 status credits) and Platinum (obtained at 1,400 status credits). As of the fourth quarter of 2011, there will be a new Platinum One status offered to those flyers who earn 3,600 status credits in a year. Qantas has not released full information about what the new top tier will offer but did say it will include a “dedicated team to look after your travel needs every step of the way.” Another change is regarding the bonus points members earn when crossing a status points threshold. Currently, you get 5,000 bonus points when you earn 500 status credits; from December, you’ll get 8,000 bonus points when you’ve earned 450 status credits.
Silver and Gold status members will now get more status points on flights–Silver members earn a 50 percent status points bonus, up from 25 percent and Gold members earn a 75 percent bonus, up from 50 percent. Platinum members will continue to earn a 100 percent status points bonus on flights.
Those who choose to purchase premium economy flights will earn a 25 percent bonus, up from 10 percent; business class flights will earn a 50 percent bonus, up from 25 percent and first class passengers will earn a 100 percent bonus, up from 50 percent.
Frequent Flyer members can now choose to earn points and status credits when flying Jetstar. You still cannot earn with the cheapest fares, but you can opt to earn points and status credits by paying a fee that varies depending on the route you’re flying. For example, on an AUD$59 Sydney to Melbourne flight in May, the cost of adding points and status credits was AUD$25. When you pay to earn points, you also gain flexibility on the fare–there are no change penalty fees and you can select your seat for free (it’s normally AUD$3).
Another change announced was a new partnership with Optus where customers can earn Frequent Flyer points on services such as your home phone, mobile and broadband.
Not so good news is that the cost in points to pay for surcharges and taxes on Classic award flights is increasing by 50 percent–4,500 points instead of the current 3,000 points. To keep up with all of the changes, visit http://www.qantas.com.au
Bottom line: Most travelers seem to think that the changes are being made to discourage elite-level Qantas Frequent Flyer members from moving their business to the newly revamped Virgin Australia. Qantas Frequent Flyer has an estimated 7.8 million members and Virgin Australia has just 2.7 million but Virgin Australia is seeking to even up those numbers.