AAdvantage to Form Closer Link with Qantas

16th Nov 2015

American Airlines frequent flyer program, AAdvantage, is seeking a way to build a better relationship with Qantas and its frequent flyer scheme. This could lead to mutual benefits for both airlines.

AAdvantage President Suzanne Rubin was at a meeting with Qantas Loyalty chief executive Lesley Grant last week. She said the following about the possibility of a tie-up with Qantas:

"It is certainly a topic for conversation. It remains to be seen."

At the moment, AAdvantage has over 100 million members, 100,000 of which in Australia alone, even though American Airlines hasn't flown there since 1992. On the other side, Qantas frequent flyer program numbers 11+ million members, most of which reside in Australia or New Zealand.

Ms. Rubin also said:

"Any time we enter a market, we look to see our program gain more traction. We have a very active and engaged customer base in Australia. We are looking at re-energizing that. But when you enter a market with a partner you are also looking at how we best work together."

She continued:

"Depending on your specific travel needs, depending on what you value most as a frequent flyer member whether it is access to redemption seats or the status, it is important to understand both programs and how each one may best serve your needs."

Ms. Rubin also mentioned possible shared benefits. For example, she said that Qantas flyer members could upgrade on American Airlines flights using points and that this could work the other way as well.

As a part of its partnership with Qantas Airways, American Airlines will commence a new service between Sydney and Los Angeles on 19th December using Boeing 777-300ER planes.

Qantas already has a frequent flyer program based on ticket revenue, instead of mileage, while American Airlines is now working on such a program for itself.