Does Rex have a frequent flyer program?

Regional Express will tackle Qantas and Virgin on the popular Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane routes, but without a rewards program.

By David Flynn, February 26 2021
Does Rex have a frequent flyer program?

Regional Express is gearing up to challenge Qantas and Virgin Australia on the popular and profitable 'triangle' between Australia's three east coast capitals.

It's got the planes – a small fleet of Boeing 737s, formerly leased to Virgin – with business and economy class seating. And it's got sharp airfares to help cut its own slice out of this already-competitive market.

One thing Rex doesn't have, at least for now, is a frequent flyer program to compete against the loyalty schemes of Qantas and Virgin.

However, the airline plans to resurrect its old Rex Flyer rewards program potentially in 2022, while also refreshing its current Rex Business Flyer program aimed at businesses.

Rex Flyer

The airline used to offer a loyalty program called Rex Flyer, which operated along very simple and straight-forward lines: take nine paid flights and get one flight for free.

That may have worked for the airline's regional routes, but Rex reckons it can do better – even if it takes time to get the new Rex Flyer in place.

"We'll look at developing our own multi-faceted frequent flyer program in the future, but at this stage, we're just focusing on getting the airline up and running," Regional Express Deputy Chairman John Sharp told Executive Traveller in the lead-up to Rex's Sydney-Melbourne launch.

While the frequent flyer program was listed as a 'strategic milestone' in a mid-2020 presentation prepared by Rex for investors and sighted by Executive Traveller, it wasn't slated to debut until at least a year after the capital city flights take off, in what the airline called 'Phase Four' of its expansion beginning in March 2022.

It's been speculated that the rebooted Rex Flyer will skew towards the more conventional points-based system, with travellers earning Rex Points according to the type of ticket they buy.

Whether this would also include some form of status credits, which in turn would deliver selected perks to the airline's most frequent flyers, remains to be seen.

Sharp is willing to gamble that, in at least the short term, the lure of Rex's low fares will outweigh collecting points and status credits on Qantas or Virgin.

Rex Business Flyer

Regional Express is still offering its Business Flyer program, which is aimed at travellers who belong to a business with an ABN (and carries a $99 two-year membership fee).

The business owner and employees can attach their Rex Business Flyer membership number to a Regional Express booking.

For every sector flown under the membership number, the business receives one point.

Earning 18 points within two years sees the business given two Reward Flights: these are valid for any seat on any Rex flight within the following six months, and can be booked for anybody, not just the business owner or staff.

"When you think about it, that’s a better deal than most, because the two tickets that you get after the 18 are treated as fully-paid ticket, so there's no limit on the number of seats available," Sharp tells Executive Traveller, "and you've got full flexibility in terms of changing the time of flying or the date of flying."

Also read: The Rex Boeing 737 business class guide


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

yes Rex have it right & can keep any frequent flyer programme simple. qantas programme is so complicated & getting worse.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

I tend to agree with @regular flyer here.

  • Rex will not have an extensive list of code-share / alliance partners within the next few years. It might have 1 or 2.
  • Whilst the 'buy 9, get 1 free' model is pretty basic, it is still a valid and effective proposition
  • Will Rex offer toasters, electronics and all the associated guff that others offer? Probably not. Who wants a warehouse full of this stuff to maintain?
  • Frequent Flyer programs should not require a college degree to work effectively - either for the airline or for it's customers. Look at Southwest and JetBlue for great examples.
  • The need is generally to provide a) a path to reward travel -primarily on your own network and b) a path to upgrade between classes.


re your comment

"Rex will not have an extensive list of code-share / alliance partners within the next few years. It might have 1 or 2"

Am sure if Rex tried, they could get as many partners as they wanted. Almost every travel business around the world wants to get business anyway they can. It would be good if they could tie into eg. any major U.S. carrier, but not essential.

The question is do they need or want to ? Creates a whole new workforce requirement & imagine many would be quite ok to use any ff pts on Rex network, which will surely expand fast, with jets.

The old keep it simple stupid philosophy works well.

Most people I know earn far more frequent flyer points through credit cards, than actually flying, however the cash economy is booming with covid. Need a traddie ? Many have 2 prices off the bat, cash or card & sometimes 20 or 30% difference. Doesn't make sense to pay more, a lot more, to earn a few ff pts. One traddie even said to us the other day, he has to take cash, so he can keep getting jobkeeper by showing his turnover has dropped 30%.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

Frequent Flyer partners - yes, in terms of merchandisers ie: credit card, goods purveyors, credit cards, telcos etc they could have as many as they want.

What I referred to was code share / alliance partners ie: airline partners.

Rex is not currently a member of any major alliance (oneworld, Star, Skyteam, AirAsia BIG, Etihad etc)  and I would doubt that such a move would be initially on any list for the first 3 years. Code-share partners may well emerge earlier though, which is why I suggested 1-2. 

I would be very, very, very surprised to see QF or VA be a partner LOL - but would not put it beyond NZ or SQ if Rex shows a tiny modicum or success. Take that as you wish :-)

As said, I think Rex will keep it simple, relevant and in the front of everyone's mind. Warehouses full of retail fluff require lots of investment, lots of cash and lots of shipping. The more you can pare this, the better.

I think Rex would take the path of their rewards program being a critical, low cost adjunct to their flying business, not a factor that elaborately defines their business. 

airline doesn't need to be a member of any alliance to offer frequent flyer seats on other airlines.

eg. we've used qantas pts on Air Pacific/Fiji air for years, well before they were associated with one world.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

You do realise that Air Pacific / Fiji Airways has had QF as a 47% equity ownership partner for quite a considerable number of years?

Over the years, QF have had code-share partnerships with carriers such as El Al, United, Continental, Alitalia, Air Tahiti Niu, China Southern, Air New Zealand and a mile of others who are not members of oneworld. And on each of these coseshare partnerships, you've generally been able to earn and spend frequent flyer points for travel. 

The difference that the  oneworld partnership makes is that oneworld carriers are all in the same unified alliance and that you earn status credits as well as points. The only QF non-oneworld partnership that I can recall where status credits are earned are on Emirates, where your flight with Emirates must be booked under the relevant QF codeshare flight number (and not the Emirates flight number).

as stated, airlines don't need to be an alliance to be able to offer ff tix on other airlines.

We think Qantas owns 46% of FJ. Fiji govt 50.1% (has to for traffic rights reasons) All Bleck air owns ~3.8% & tiny pacific nations own very small shareholdings.

You can often get frequent flyer seats on FJ, eg. SYD/LAX direct on brand new A350s, when can't get them on nonstop Qantas or AA flights.

Think FJ is far superior to both Qantas or AA, but that wouldn't be hard.

Business class on the A350s must be best across the Pacific.


re your comment

"Warehouses full of retail fluff require lots of investment, lots of cash and lots of shipping."

No airline stores any goods, they are all drop-shipped directly from a supplier.

04 Jun 2018

Total posts 25

Do rewards flights on Rex’s existing business points programme accrue further points at the rate of 1 per sector? I imply so...

Etihad - Etihad Guest

19 Mar 2018

Total posts 72

I think that Brazil's airlines' programs is something that Australian airlines need to learn from. As it stands, Velocity and QFF are valueless because they're all about partner airlines. The program needs to stand on its own, like GOL's Smiles. Or what TudoAzul, LATAM Pass Brasil are evolving into. A lifestyle program thats usefull first, for Australians.  It needs to become a circular ecosystem.

26 Jun 2020

Total posts 8

Please tell me you're seriously not giving an example from a domestic market of 215 Million people.. In a 25 million populated country, a domestic carrier fighting with 2 large and 1 low cost carrier is destined for doom. They can have the most fabulous FF program in the world, including offering SPA services in your own home; but that won't change the fact that once things get slightly better and international travel is in the horizon, QF and VA will eat them alive.. Like without even leaving a trace of Rex kinda destroy.. 

Rex's lower costs will make it hard for qantas/virgin to make previous profits on the golden triangle. Everytime qantas tries to reduce costs, the stupid unions want to fight them every step. qantas int won't be making any money for years, so how is qantas dom going to make money ? Economy about to fall off a cliff end of next month & many rusted on qantas fliers, may look at cheaper options or not fly at all.

26 Jun 2020

Total posts 8

Qantas dom doesn't have to make much money, that was my point - they can make money from overseas+ int to dom connections+ FFers who collect points to use on international flights (those who perefer expensive dom flights for points) That's why I said 'once things get slighlty better' or in other terms, once more than 75% pop is vaccinated and people can make plans for international holidays late this year for northern summer 2022 or winter 2022, then they are doomed. VA is already matching cab fare tix prices btw, and big guys have the power to sustain low prices longer. At some stage money will drain.. 

has qantas int ever made any money ? Doubt if they will in next 3 or 4 years. The money is all in the golden triangle & qantas are stuck between a rock & a hard place.

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