Few points as bonus deal ends

Bonus frequent flyer points for American Express cardholders are about to be axed. From next month, people buying Qantas flights will get the standard one point instead of two points for every dollar spent. Qantas customers will have to spend twice as much to earn the same Qantas flight rewards.

The bonus point deal was introduced five years ago. AMEX spokeswoman Suzie York denies that customers have been misled, saying that the deal with Qantas was marketed as a promotional offer and not a permanent arrangement. AMEX has over 500,000 charge and credit cardholders in Australia but declines to say how many of these are rewards scheme members. AMEX loyalty program members can opt to exchange points for flights, hotel accommodation, car rental and a host of other products and services. AMEX pays companies, including Qantas, when points are redeemed.

Frequentflyer.com.au's loyalty program analyst Clifford Reichlin warns that Ansett's collapse and Qantas's dominance will steadily shrink consumer reward value for money.