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Classic Plus: Qantas’ Expanded Rewards Offering

Qantas has unveiled a massive expansion of its frequent flyer scheme, offering members access to more than 20 million extra seats to try to quell anger about limited availability.

In an announcement on Monday, the national carrier said its new “Classic Plus Flight Rewards” would make it easier for frequent flyers to redeem points for local and overseas flights to destinations such as London, New York and Singapore.

The feature will also allow flyers to take advantage of off-peak bookings or airfare discounts, reducing the number of points they’ll need to book a flight, though it will “usually” require more points than existing Classic reward seats, Qantas said.

“The widespread availability of Classic Plus means that frequent flyers have more options to fly where they want, when they want and more often, using their points,” Qantas loyalty boss Andrew Glance said.

“The new type of reward seat will usually require more points than the highly sought after existing Classic seats, and will be available to all destinations on the Qantas international and domestic network, across first, business, premium economy and economy cabins.”

The changes have come after an extensive internal review of Qantas’ loyalty program under new chief executive Vanessa Hudson. She took the reins at the national carrier last year promising to draw a line under several tumultuous years of public rage about poor service standards.

One of those consumer gripes has been poor availability of frequent flyer reward seats, with a swelling number of members increasingly fighting over point flights.

How Classic Plus works

In some cases, Classic Plus will even offer better value for points than traditional redemptions.

This is particularly the case for sale fares, with Qantas saying that a Classic Plus redemption for a discounted flight from Melbourne to Auckland will cost 63,400 plus points, compared to 83,000 under the traditional program.

In another example, an off-peak booking from Sydney to Fiji will cost 34,800 Plus points, compared to 36,000 otherwise.

The new reward seats would be available for booking on flights that have the applicable fare classes, the airline said, but only on Qantas flights and not across Jetstar like the classic option.

The new seats will also be upgradeable, meaning that frequent flyers can move from economy to business – or even from business to first class (from May 2024), something that isn’t possible on traditional reward seats.

Qantas said the best value for the new points would be in business and first class seats.

The new seats have already been made available to book for travel from July 2024 onwards. They will be fully rolled out across the entire Qantas network by the end of the year, the airline said.

Expansion costs Qantas

Qantas has trimmed its earnings forecast for its loyalty division on the back of the expansion, telling investors on Monday that it would spend $120 million on the new product in 2024-25.

That includes the “value of displaced seat revenue” and also a non-cash cost to the value of future point sales across the airline’s loyalty division.

Qantas said it expected the scheme to drive higher profits over the longer term, however. Customer investments are tipped to deliver hundreds of millions in new earnings by the end of 2030.

This article was originally published by The New Daily on 9 April 2024. View original.

Photo by Troy Mortier on Unsplash.

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