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Qantas Rewards Program Experiences Biggest Ever Expansion with Millions of Available Seats

Qantas Rewards Program Experiences Biggest Ever Expansion with Millions of Available Seats

Qantas, Australia’s national carrier, has announced its biggest ever expansion of its Qantas Frequent Flyer program. The move comes as the airline aims to rebuild trust with its customers after facing regulatory issues. With the launch of Classic Plus Flight Rewards, Qantas will make it easier for travelers to use their points to travel to international destinations such as New York, Tokyo, London, Singapore, and more.

This expansion is seen as a positive step by investors, as Qantas shares have risen more than 5 percent on the Australian Stock Exchange since the announcement. The Classic Plus reward seats will require more points than the existing Classic reward seats but will offer wider availability and eligibility for upgrades. Qantas describes this move as one of the biggest expansions in the company’s 35-year history.

The new Classic Plus rewards flights will be available for booking from today for international flights starting from July 1, 2024. The number of points required for these reward seats will vary depending on popularity, with lower point requirements for early bookings or off-peak times. Qantas plans to invest $120 million in the program in the 2025 financial year, as part of its overall customer investment of $230 million.

Qantas Loyalty expects to see strong financial performance as a result of this expansion. The company aims to achieve underlying earnings before interest and taxes of $500 million to $525 million in the financial year and anticipates a 10 percent growth in the 2025 financial year. Additionally, Qantas plans to conduct a share market buy-back of $448 million by June 30, 2024.

Vanessa Hudson, CEO of Qantas, expressed the importance of the Frequent Flyer program in recognizing customer loyalty. She stated, “We’ve spent a lot of time listening to members about how we can better reward them.” With the addition of over 20 million new flight rewards through the Classic Plus reward seats, Qantas aims to enhance the overall customer experience.

Industry response to the expansion has been generally positive. Graham Cooke, head of consumer research at Finder, noted that while the increase in reward seats is a positive improvement, the higher point requirements may deter some customers. He compared Qantas to competitors like Singapore Airlines, stating that Qantas is now on a similar level in terms of ease of booking rewards seats, but it would have been preferable for the points cost to match the existing Classic Rewards program.

In the midst of Qantas’ expansion, Virgin Australia has also made an announcement regarding its plans to allow customers to bring pets on planes. The initiative, subject to approval within 12 months, would enable small cats and dogs to travel in the cabin on specific flights and limited rows. Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka highlighted the demand for pet-friendly travel options, with 70 percent of people surveyed expressing their desire to travel with their pets. This move by Virgin is seen as a positive step in providing a unique offering to pet owners and could potentially increase customer loyalty.

Overall, Qantas’ expansion of its rewards program is a significant move to improve customer engagement and rebuild trust. With millions of new available seats and wider availability, Qantas aims to provide greater value to its frequent flyer members. While there are concerns about the higher point requirements, this expansion brings Qantas on par with its competitors and enhances the overall travel experience for its customers. As competition heats up in the airline industry, Qantas’ strategic moves and investment in customer satisfaction will likely play a crucial role in maintaining its position as Australia’s national carrier.

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