Qantas has revamped its frequent flyer program, giving members the opportunity to book "Any Seat" on Qantas and Jetstar flights.
Previously, frequent flyers had to compete for a limited number of seats available to them, and only on Qantas flights. These seats will still be part of the airline's frequent flyer scheme, but will now be classified under its "Classic and Partner Awards" banner.
Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon and Simon Hickey, Chief Executive of Qantas Frequent Flyer, announced the changes this afternoon.
Seats booked under the "Any Seat" scheme will include taxes and charges. These previously could not be paid with frequent flyer points on long-haul flights. More points will be required for "Any Seat" flights than "Classic" seats.
For example, a Sydney to London flight in November would cost 209,000 points under the "Any Seat" scheme. Under the "Classic" scheme the same trip would cost 128,000 points, plus $650 in taxes and charges.
Mr Hickey said flyers would now also be able to use a combination of points and credit card payments to purchase seats under the "Any Seat" scheme.
Passengers who preferred the current scheme would still be able to use it, with Mr Hickey saying that the old scheme would remain unchanged. "We're just providing more flexibility," he said.
Qantas today launched a new website detailing the changes, several hours before they were officially announced to the media. The website said the Qantas Frequent Flyer Store would include an expanded range of 700 products from travel and travel accessories to vouchers, wine, technology, home and lifestyle, entertainment and music, sports and outdoors and health and beauty products.
The website also claims frequent flyers can now earn points by making purchases with one of the airline's "credit and charge card partners", including ANZ Australia and New Zealand cards, Earth Australia, Diners Club Australia and American Express Australia.
Previously, frequent flyers could only earn points by producing a separate Qantas Frequent Flyer Card each time they made a purchase.
In November the revamped Qantas Frequent Flyer program will be the second of the airline's businesses to be broken off into separate investment vehicles.
Mr Dixon announced an $800 million merger of Qantas Holidays and Jetset Travelworld in February.
The changes to the Frequent Flyer program, to take effect from today, are seen by industry observers as an attempt to bolster the scheme before its public float.
But many of the program's new features have been available to Virgin customers since the launch of the carrier's Velocity scheme.
- with Daniel Emerson
- Sydney Morning Herald
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