The way Qantas passengers use their points will change when the biggest overhaul in the history of the Qantas frequent flyer program takes effect tomorrow.
From September 18, it will cost up to 18 per cent more in Qantas points to redeem points for flights in premium economy, business and first class, with the increases varying depending on cabin and route.
Tomorrow’s change is the biggest revamp of the frequent flyer program in its 32-year history and will affect 12.7 million members.
It was also met with a mixed response from passengers when it was announced in June, with many Qantas members fearing they’d be worse off.
A major revamp of the Qantas frequent flyer program takes effect on Wednesday. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
While the airline said it would allocate an extra one million seats per year for frequent flyer members to redeem, and slash the carrier charges passengers pay when redeeming points, the number of points needed to redeem seats was on the rise.
These are the changes we will see from tomorrow.
MORE SEATS TO REDEEM WITH POINTS
Qantas will allocate more than one million extra seats to frequent flyers. These include flights on popular routes, such as London, Los Angeles, Singapore and Tokyo, and during peak travel periods, like Christmas and school holidays.
“This is what our customers have been asking for: more seats, at better times, on the most popular routes,” Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce said when unveiling the changes in June.
There will also be a 30 per cent increase in premium seats available on Qantas international flights. Agreements with partner airlines would make it easier to access seats on flights in places such as New Zealand and South-East Asia, Mr Joyce said.
Before the changes, there were five million seats available to frequent flyers each year.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce announced the changes in June. Picture: AAP/Dan HimbrechtsSource:AAP
CARRIER CHARGES SLASHED
Qantas will also reduce the carrier charges or fees you have to pay when redeeming points.
Mr Joyce said carrier charges had been a “pain point” for rewards customers.
Previously, an economy flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles cost $513 in fees. That has dropped to $393.
The reduction in carrier charges is being introduced across all cabin classes.
PREMIUM CABINS WILL COST MORE IN POINTS
This is where some members may feel they’re worse off: Points on cabins are increasing.
If you’re happy to travel in economy overseas, the changes to the program means a member will need to hand over less points for a classic reward seat.
However, if you’re looking to redeem points in first class, business and premium economy, members will be looking at an increased fee of 15 per cent. An upgrade will also cost you more in the premium cabin — up to 9 per cent.
For example, that Melbourne to LA flight in premium economy used to cost 144,000 points and now costs 162,600 points.
In business class, it will go from 192,000 to 216,000 points and in first class, from 288,000 to 325,600 points.
Mr Joyce denied people would be annoyed by the points cost hikes.
“There are more points, but the product has dramatically improved,” he said in June.
“We think it represents the value people are getting out there, it represents the investment we’re making in products, and it represents what people are calling for — more seats.”
Other changes that are part of Qantas’ $25 million frequent flyer overhaul include a new points club program, which will reward members who don’t necessarily earn points in the sky, and a new lifetime platinum membership status, which the airline said would be “even more exclusive” than its legendary Chairman’s Lounge.
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