Qantas frequent flyer move causes Twitter storm
Struggling airline invokes customer ire with changes
The decision by Qantas to reward customers more for their class of ticket than distance flown has led to a storm of protest on Twitter.
The airline is reflecting a growing worldwide trend, started by carriers such as Delta Airlines in the US, to reward frequent flyer scheme members for the amount of money they spend on tickets rather than number of miles flown.
Qantas sent an email to its Frequent Flyer members stating that the changes will create a fairer, more simplified programme which more accurately reflects the value of fares. Flyers will earn more rewards and status credits for choosing more expensive flexible fares and less for cheaper fares, starting from July 1.
The claims didn’t find much favour on social media among its nine million frequent flyers. One Twitter user posted: “Good old Qantas has just devalued its frequent flyer program again. Loyalty programs do not engender loyalty anymore.”
Another posting said: “Just checked out the email from #Qantas on changes to Frequent Flyers- feel quite insulted after 21 years loyalty.”
The changes will also cut the number of status credits that discount customers earn with partner airlines, meaning it is more difficult for them to attain the programme’s silver, gold, or platinum levels.
The airline is reducing the minimum points guarantee for members flying on economy and discount economy fares from 1,000 to 800.
In February Qantas announced a six-month loss of A$252m and said it would be laying off 5,000 employees, in addition to cutting back on routes and new aircraft purchases. It denies the frequent flyer changes are related to this announcement.