I must admit, I am somewhat protective of my “status” with Qantas and Virgin Australia. I like my perks of lounge access, express check in and other bonuses.
So any change an airline makes to how status credits are earned, what they mean and what benefits I receive, piques my interest.
For example, from tomorrow, Qantas is changing how you get their “Loyalty Bonus” For every 500 status credits earned, Qantas currently will reward passengers with an 8000 point “loyalty bonus”. 500 status credits is equal to 50 flights between Sydney and Melbourne in Discount Economy or just under three Business Class flights between Sydney and Los Angeles.
From July 1, that Loyalty Bonus will only be awarded only on the Status Credits gained on flights with a Qantas (QF) flight number. On one measure, that is fair enough-it shows true Qantas loyalty!
Qantas, however, have reduced the number of destinations they offer. Frankfurt is gone, for example. Hong Kong to London is no more. This means to fly to these places means there is no choice but to fly with a different airline. Even though, these airlines will be a One World Airline or Qantas partner Emirates, passengers will miss out on earning the higher level of points, as well as status credits and that magic loyalty bonus.
This means two passengers can travel on the same plane on the same flight and earn vastly different points and status credits.
For example, lets say I fly from Sydney to Dubai on a flight operated by Emirates but I have booked under a Qantas flight number. As a Gold Frequent flyer if I was sitting in Discount Economy, I would earn 26,208 points and be rewarded 90 status credits which will build toward my Qantas loyalty. The passenger sitting next to me also a Qantas Gold frequent flyer but on an Emirates ticket would only get 7 468 points. Their 90 status credits would not count to their loyalty bonus. The contrast in Business is starker. I would get 33,696 points and 360 status credits -75% of the way toward that bonus 8,000 points. Effectively the value of that flight is almost 40,000 points to me. My neighbour gets 14,976 points. Their status credits earn them zilch toward the loyalty bonus!
If the Emirates partnership and the One World alliance are meant to provide “the highest level of service and convenience to frequent international travellers“, why “punish” flyers with significantly different earning criteria?
Jetstar fares are ineligible to earn the Qantas points be used to build toward that Loyalty Bonus. Melbourne to Christchurch used to be a Qantas service but is now Jetstar. Passengers on this sector have no choice.
So the motto of the story? Book flights with Qantas flight numbers or accept lower earning rates. Saving a few hundred dollars may not be worth it.