Qantas upgrades frequent flyer program

The entrance of Virgin Blue and Impulse Airlines to the airline industry has not only brought with it cheaper airfares but also competition on frequent flyer programs.

Qantas has announced a revision of its Frequent Flyer program which will make it more attractive some travellers and less attractive for others.

Overall, the changes mean it will now require more points to be accumulated to earn a free flight on some routes, but on others less points will be required. People who make frequent shorter trips will generally be better off whereas travellers on international or longer domestic sectors will generally need more points. This change in emphasis appears to be a move to counter Impulse's frequent flyer offer of one free ticket after 10 full economy tickets have been purchased. Here is a summary of the changes:

  • No expiry of points for active members
  • No account service fee – these are penalties for things like loss of ticket or changing ticket, not the annual membership fee which still applies.

(effective 15 March 2001)

  • Upgrades now possible on both international and domestic flights using Frequent Flyer points
  • Points will be earned on miles, not kilometres
  • Minimum 1,000 points earned per flight
  • New Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum membership tiers with revamped benefits

(effective 15 September 2001)

Under the new program, Qantas will no longer offer free stopovers which means the end of some of the airline's more attractive frequent domestic. For example, the 30,000 points round-Australia ticket with 10 stopovers is no longer available. Ansett withdrew its identical offer last year.

See the Qantas website for full details