Airline and supermarket combine for new Australian programme
Qantas Airways is starting a loyalty partnership scheme with Australia’s largest supermarket chain, Woolworths.
The Qantas frequent flyer programme is the biggest in Australia with 5.6 million members and the Woolworths scheme has three million participants.
The companies are both looking to increase their market share and Qantas said that from June 22 customers may earn one frequent flyer point for every Australian dollar spent above A$30 in a single transaction at Woolworths supermarket and liquor outlets. The deal represents a chance for Woolworths to take business off its main rivals Coles, Target and Kmart through the lure of the Qantas scheme.
The new programme will be progressively rolled out across Woolworths’ other brands including its Big W discount department store chain from July 16, and other liquor, petrol and retail outlets in coming months.
Customers using a credit card which earns Qantas frequent flyer points in transactions at Woolworths will earn points under both schemes. Beyond reward flights, the Qantas programme offers more than 1,000 products or services against which points can be redeemed.
The partnership was first announced in December 2008 and forms part of a broader restructure of the Qantas loyalty scheme.
The airline’s frequent flyer chief executive Simon Hickey declined to comment on whether the partnership would help in a long-rumoured float of the frequent flyer business.
“That’s really a question for (CEO) Alan Joyce and the board to ponder. I’m not spending any time on looking on that,” Hickey said in a media conference call.
He confirmed shoppers at Big W, Woolworths branded petrol stations, Dick Smith Electronics and Woolworths Liquor would also be able to take advantage of the new partnership.
Woolworth’s has been looking to improve its loyalty programme and Richard Umbers, its general manager for customer engagement, was poached from Aldi in the UK to help drive the scheme as a mechanism for understanding and responding better to customers.