Qantas Makes Earning Frequent Flyer Points Complicated

22nd Sep 2014

Did Qantas fail in switching to revenue-based awards system from the erstwhile mileage-based scheme for its frequent flyer program?

According to an American consulting firm, IdeaWorks Company, the new point system adopted by the airline seems to have countered its goal of attracting customers.

To recall, Qantas changed its rewards system in March this year to increase revenue for the financially-troubled carrier. The recent change is a departure from the previous scheme which is universally adopted by most airlines around the world?that is, based on miles flown.

Starting July 1 this year, customers will earn points based on the ticket price booked for a particular trip. The more expensive ticket a customer will purchase, the more points he will get to earn. Therefore, if he books a first class ticket on a trip, he will earn more points than when he books any other class tickets lower than that.

Qantas took a cue from two US carriers, Delta Air and United Airlines, who made similar moves earlier this year.

When the frequent flyer program started to be a common product for most airlines to award their loyal patrons, points are awarded based on mileage customers have flown for each trip.

In recent years, however, when government started to deregulate their respective aviation industry, airlines have begun to adopt a more radical approach in increasing their revenue to sustain their operations and that includes their frequent flyer program.

The only difference between Qantas and its US counterparts, the consulting firm, said is the manner by which the airlines imposed the new policy.

The two US airlines gave their customers ample time to 'adjust' to the new awards system whereas Qantas made an abrupt notice.

Delta will start to implement the new policy on January 2015 yet while policy changes for United will start on a later date, in March 2015.

In contrast, Qantas drastically implemented its own policy changes in July 1, barely two months after it announced the changes.

Under the new system, points are awarded to customers only after he satisfies the requisites laid out by Qantas such as the travel regions and fare categories his trip falls into. Needless to say, customers won't earn points automatically which runs counter to the program's 'simpler, fairer' tag.