How Qantas Is Slashing The Frequent Flyer Points You Can Earn

Ugh. From 1 July, Qantas is changing the way customers earn frequent flyer points. In simple terms? If you buy a discounted and non-flexible fare, you'll earn fewer points than before, especially on longer flights.

Here's how Qantas explained the changes in an email to frequent flyers:

Effective for travel from 1 July 2014, the number of Qantas Points and Status credits you earn will change when you fly with Qantas and Jetstar Airlines. Put simply, these changes will mean that you'll earn more Qantas Points and Status credits when you choose more flexible fares. At the same time, we're reducing the Qantas Points you'll earn on our lower fares to reflect your spend.

Existing bookings made prior to 27 March that date aren't affected and will earn points at the old rate (though these may take up to four weeks to appear). The number of points you need to redeem flights hasn't changed; nor has the number of status credits you need to earn to qualify to move to a higher tier. But you will have to spend far more money to earn the same number of points in many instances.

I'm going to focus the discussion on changes on what happens if you buy discount economy fares, since those are the cheapest options and the ones we'll tend to aim for, especially when paying for ourselves.

Lower minimum points Previously, Qantas guaranteed a minimum earn of 1000 points for any fare on any Qantas flight. That has now been reduced to 800 points. Customers on flexible economy or premium economy fares now are guaranteed a minimum of 1200 (up from 1000), while business flights are guaranteed 1400 (up from 1250).

A new set of fares and earning rates Qantas is now grouping its fares into eight tiers, ranked in order of expensiveness: Discount Economy, Economy, Flexible Economy, Premium Economy, Flexible Premium Economy, Business, Flexible Business, First. The category your ticket is in will determine the number of points and status credits you can earn.

For discount economy flights, here are the number of points and status credits you'll earn on various typical journeys, before and after the change. This doesn't include any bonuses you earn as a higher-status flyer. Qantas' full table is here, but only shows the new rates. There are some big shrinkages in the number of points you earn for some longer routes:

Flight Old points Old status New points New status
Short domestic (e.g. SYD-MEL) 1000 10 800 10
Medium domestic (e.g. SYD-ADL) 1000 15 800 15
Long domestic (e.g. SYD-PER) 2041 20 1450 20
Australia-US West Coast or Dubai 7491 45 4500 45
Australia-UK/Europe 10586 60 6200 70

Changes to status credits As you can see in the table above, you can actually earn status credits slightly faster with the new scheme on really long flights, while our other examples haven't changed. In a few cases, however, Qantas says status credit totals will be lower. On more expensive fares, the number of status credits has generally gone up.

Qantas says the scheme is "fairer"; despite the changes to status credits, we say it's stingier.

The change comes a few days before Qantas launches its new Aqire scheme for businesses to earn points on business expenditure. We had expected some changes as a result of this.

Given Qantas' recent financial woes and slashing of flights, this isn't altogether surprising. For people with big business expense accounts — the most profitable customers — it won't make much difference. For the rest of us hoping to fly as cheaply as possible, it makes life a little tougher.

Qantas


Comments

    I like how the headline of the email says "Higher rewards on more flexible fares" which basically says that you're getting less if you're a normal pleb who always buys the cheapest tickets they can.

    As you say, it's possibly better for business flyers (who probably don't have to pay for their flights out of their own pocket anyway - that's what the company pays for) but for those of us who have to buy our own flights, we now get less.

    I guess in the long run it doesn't really matter, but it does make it seem pointless having a Frequent Flyer membership if you don't get flown around the country/world as part of your job.

    I think that anyone who actually shelled out the $80 fee for their membership (regardless of how long ago that was) has the right to be royally PO'd about this..
    Anyone who got it for free, somewhat less so..

    Another Qantas 'Enhancement'.
    Devaluation of Points. Its the worst type of investment!

    Never make your decision of what to pay for your airfares based on Points or Status you might earn. Need a flexible ticket? Buy one. Happy to go with fixed dates on a cheap ticket? Do that.

    If you fly a lot you'll get plenty of Status anyway, and points are never worth chasing; you're just spending dollars to get back cents.

    Last edited 28/03/14 10:17 am

      The Checkout had a good segment on this the other week. Basically saying that making decisions based upon the amount of Frequent Flyer points you earn is almost never going to work out in your favour.

    Unless you fly regularly for business purposes then the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme is pretty useless.
    If Virgin was smart it would offer people who switched to their scheme a point for point bonus.
    Then watch people leave Qantas in droves.
    Most people I know are switching to Virgin if available or just getting the cheapest fare on Jetstar or Tiger.

    Nobody has mentioned in the media that Qantas also in the past few months increased by 20% the points required for an upgrade from discounted fares - so it's a double whammy for those who purchase discounted tickets.

    What do you expect from a 3rd rate airline?

    We also have to bear in mind that you are getting less status and points when flying with other oneworld members.
    As the overseas Qantas network has shrunk over the years to a bear minimum and the recent changes in the frequent flyer product, it is not a sort of a good product anymore at all.
    It might be best to join a different frequent flyer programme from another oneworld member for free.

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