UPDATE | Qantas has now launched its Platinum One frequent flyer level, and we've got all the details...
PREVIOUS | Thousands of Australia's most frequent flyers will quality for Qantas' new elite 'Platinum One' level, even with its lofty requirement of 3600 'status credits' – equivalent to five first-class return flights between Australia and London.
But so far the only benefit of belonging to this top tier for business travellers is access to what Qantas loosely calls "a dedicated contact team".
Qantas is no doubt crunching numbers, finessing deals and signing contracts for a raft of other trimmings yet to be announced. In the meantime – and maybe even in the hope that we can inspire them - here's a list of 10 benefits we'd like to see Qantas offer to its Platinum One frequent flyers.
1. Complimentary Platinum Frequent Flyer status for your partner
Platinums who rack up enough travel in a year can give a Gold Frequent Flyer card to a family member or friend. Time to up the ante and let the partner of a Platinum One automatically receive a Platinum card.
2. Guaranteed upgrades
On many international airlines, when you use your points for an upgrade it's treated as if you're paid with the folding stuff – your upgraded seat is locked in.
Not so with Qantas, which treats your upgrade as a 'request' based on availability and will advise if you've gotten the bump-up only on the morning of your flight.
Time for a change. The Red Roo says that Platinum One is all about recognising and rewardingloyalty, so let's start with guaranteeing any points-based upgrade as soon as the booking is made.
3. Automatic upgrades
If Qantas isn't too keen on giving away seats which it still has time to sell, how about automatic upgrades based on availability at check-in or even boarding?
If you're booked in premium economy and there's a spare bench in business class, that seat becomes yours. Travel in business class and you've got first dibs on an empty first class seat.
4. Frequent flyer points 'overdraft'
We pinched this idea from Lufthansa's Miles & More programme, but of course Qantas will also have studied what its partners and competitors are doing.
We hope they've taken note of Lufthansa's "mileage overdraft" facility, which applies the bank overdraft principle to points. You can count an unearned 100,000 miles when making a Lufthansa award booking, because the airline knows from your status level that you'll soon enough be flying again to make up those miles.
5. Extra availability of award seats
While we're on the topic, how about letting Platinum One members book an 'Anytime Award' seat using the same number of points as the cheaper but limited 'Classic Award' seats?
6. Free valet parking
We're not talking about all-year-round access to Qantas' valet parking service, as nice as that would be. Just a few freebies per year would be welcome. We'd call them 'vouchers', Qantas would call them 'personal invitations to the Qantas valet experience', but free VIP parking by any name still smells as sweet.
7. Limousine transfers to and from the airport
It doesn't have to be every airport and it doesn't even have to be every flight. But for Qantas' major destinations, and maybe using vouchers for between 2-4 flights per year, this would be a world-class perk.
Of course, members who attain twice the number of status credits in a year needed to attain Platinum can already get three free valet parking or chauffeured transfer vouchers, so the platinum one perks would have to outdo that.
8. The return of Anytime Access
Platinums used to be able to use a Qantas lounge – even Sydney's luxurious International First lounge – without travelling on a Qantas or Oneworld partner flight. Anytime Access was removed earlier this year, causing much angst among the Platinums. How about bringing it back for the Platinum One set?
After all, while it might mean they will use the lounge while not flying Qantas, it still means they're spending enough with Qantas to qualify for a massive 3,600 status credits.
9. Increased guest capacity
Platinum frequent flyers are currently allowed to sign two guests into a Qantas business lounge and one into Qantas First. Why not double that for the Platinum One elite?
10. Priority boarding on domestic flights
This should already be on the menu for plain old Platinum members, and maybe even for Golds (after Platinums are called, of course). It can't be that big a deal to introduce.