The federal government is looking to rein in the travel costs of around 100,000 government workers by using airline frequent flyer points to book their travel.
Complementing the already-discounted fares available to government departments, the idea could see any frequent flyer points earned by public servants on official travel pooled to a master government account.
The government would then use these points to book flights for its travellers, rather than paying cash for every journey.
It's estimated that such a measure could slash upwards of $50 million in costs from the federal government's annual $377 million flight budget by making around 180,000 flights near-free.
Government travel and frequent flyer points
Passengers booked on government-funded flights are currently prohibited from earning frequent flyer points of their own, and also can't share these with the government if points were to be awarded under the existing system.
Travellers on 'Whole of Australian Government' (WoAG) fares may attach their frequent flyer number when they travel, but airlines are required to ensure that points aren't awarded on these tickets.
When given in error, airlines must also invalidate points given to government travellers: although earning status credits is deemed fair game.
That's because status credits allow travellers to earn free lounge access by reaching the Gold, Platinum and Platinum One tiers – keeping those otherwise-expensive lounge memberships off the government’s balance sheet.
However, the nation's public servants would stand to earn fewer status credits each year by flying on tickets booked using frequent flyer points, rather than cash, making the optimal solution a delicate balancing act.
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT