Qantas announces massive changes to its Frequent Flyer program

Qantas has announced the biggest change to its Frequent Flyer program in 32 years, with its 13 million members set to pay less fees, have access to more seats and the ability to earn extra points while on the ground.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and divisional head Olivia Wirth unveiled the overhaul to their program, which will be rolled out over the next 12 months.

The biggest change will be access to more seats for passengers, with more than 1 million extra seats allocated annually to Frequent Flyers.

London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Singapore are some of the main destinations which will receive the extra seats.

Qantas will also cut the fees paid when redeeming points, which Joyce said had been a “pain point” for rewards customers.

Members will also need to hand over less points for a Classic Reward seat in economy.

Customers looking to redeem points in first class, business and premium economy will be looking at an increased fee of 15 per cent — the first time the airline has bumped required points in 15 years. An upgrade will also cost you more in the premium cabin — up to 9 per cent.

“While the points required for business class seats on international and domestic flights will increase slightly, it is the first increase in 15 years and the product has improved a lot in that time,” Joyce said.

A new ‘Points Club’ program will include two tiers with entry gained based on a member passing an annual criteria.

Once in the club, flight and travel benefits for non-flying members will include lounge access and bonus status credit as well as offers and discounts across their “partner” network.

The airline is also introducing Lifetime Platinum status, an exclusive club of members Wirth said would be “in many ways, even more exclusive than the Chairman’s Lounge”.

“There’s a lot about the Qantas Frequent Flyer program that our members tell us they love but there are also areas of the program that have increasingly come under pressure as a result of rapid expansion,” Wirth said.

“What we’re announcing today is all about investing more into the heart of our program, the member experience.

“The combination of the new Points Club, the introduction of our most elite tier in Lifetime Platinum, and the increase in seats across our network means the revamped program should offer something for everyone.”