Frequent flyer programs under scrutiny

Air travellers should investigate non-Australian frequent flyer programs as an alternative to the Qantas Frequent Flyer and Ansett Global Reward programs, according to an Australian analyst of the reward schemes.

Frequentflyer.com.au says consumers should consider joining a non-Australian frequent flyer program. With Qantas and Ansett partnering such overseas airlines, domestic travel will still earn points that can be redeemed for local or overseas flights.

The recommendation comes as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission pressures Qantas and Ansett to publish ready-reckoners on the number of frequent-flyer seats available on all flights.

It also wants the airlines to introduce minimum service standards and better complaints procedures.

This is in answer to the question asked by 5.5 million frequent flyers – why is it so difficult to get seats on some flights?
Other issues are which routes have no frequent-flyer seats, which are the heavily-booked routes and what times points flights are difficult to obtain.

The ACCC will also analyse codes of conduct used by international carriers to see if they should be introduced in Australia.

Qantas has already made big changes to its frequent-flyer program after consulting the commission and Ansett will be revealing its new program soon.

The year-long enquiry is being extended by three months as there is still a lot of confusion about these prgrams and a high degree of frustation from consumers.

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