Qantas frequent flyers can now pocket 10,000 points or 50 status credits as a reward for making eco-friendly choices as the airline launches its new Green tier for members.
The Green tier will sit alongside the existing Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One membership levels of the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme – and you’ll get a digital card within the Qantas app, rather than another piece of environmentally-evil plastic to crowd your wallet or purse.
“This new Green tier is a way of encouraging and recognising those who want to do their part by offering Qantas Points or status credits, which we know helps shape customer choices,” says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
The innovative program “makes it easier for frequent flyers to make more sustainable choices, at home and when they travel, and rewards them when they do,” explains Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth, who expects to see 100,000 of the airline’s 13 million Frequent Flyer members inducted into the green tier “in the first 12 months.”
“We know that points influence behaviour, we’ve seen that when we’ve provided points for walking and sleeping through the Wellbeing App as well as to reward those who got vaccinated. We also know that small changes by many, can have a big impact.”
Qantas already encourages travellers to buy a carbon offset for their flights, which will now be another Green goal.
The offset cost of a one-way trip from Sydney to Melbourne or Brisbane is around $1, while the longer trek to London comes in at around $25.
Qantas says that 11% of its travellers tick the carbon offset box when booking their flight, for which they earn 10 Qantas Points per dollar, with the airline matching those contributions on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
How to earn Qantas Green status
Frequent flyers can qualify for Qantas Green status and unlock those 10,000 points or 50 status credits by completing five sustainable activities across six categories in their membership year:
Flying: offset the emissions of flights through the airline’s Fly Carbon Neutral program.
Travelling: book an eco-accredited hotel through Qantas Hotels in Australia.
Sustainable purchases: choose from more than 200 sustainable wines through Qantas Wine, or make deliveries from both Qantas Wine and the Qantas Rewards Store ‘climate positive’ for just $1.
Lifestyle: install solar panels or help support “high quality and verified carbon offset projects” in Australia and around the world when offsetting home and car emissions.
Reducing impact: complete a sustainability quiz in the Qantas Wellbeing App, which is designed to help members understand how they can better reduce their impact.
Giving back: making a contribution towards organisations and projects committed to sustainability, including protecting the Great Barrier Reef and supporting sustainable initiatives developed by charity partners OzHarvest, UNICEF and Kimberley Land Council.
Qantas says it will “recognise certain sustainable actions” taken by members since the Green tier program was first announced in November 2021 to kickstart their path towards Green, such as offseting not just their flights but the carbon footprint of their home and car.
However, in lieu of those 10,000 points or 50 status credits, frequent flyers can opt to have Qantas purchase three tonnes of carbon offsets on their behalf.
As with Qantas’ longstanding Fly Carbon Neutral program, money paid towards Qantas Green offsets will fund environmentally-friendly projects designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This can include restoring or protecting forests and other ecosystems, conducting controlled back-burns, and investing in projects to develop renewable energy such as wind farms, as well as purchasing ‘carbon credits’.
“Offsetting is one of the main ways Australia can reduce its net emissions in the short to medium term until new low emission technology becomes available,” Joyce says.
Go even greener to earn bonus points
Additional Qantas Points will also be earned through avenues such as purchasing sustainable products through Qantas and its partners.
These include earning a bonus 150 points for every night stay at an eco-accredited hotel booked via Qantas Hotels – the starting roster ranges from Melbourne’s Alto on Bourke to the Crystalbrook Byron – and 250 bonus points for every case of six ‘eco-wines’ purchased through Qantas Wine (standouts include Penfolds Bin 28 Shiraz 2019 and Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2018).
Earlier this year, Etihad Airways launched its own “conscious choices” program which lets members of its Etihad Guest loyalty scheme earn miles for offsetting carbon emissions from flights, bringing less luggage on board and “making environmentally friendly choices in their everyday life.”
Towards ‘net zero’
Qantas has set a goal of achieving ‘net-zero’ by 2050, meaning that right across the company – not just on the planes it flies – the amount of CO2 emitted by the Qantas Group will be functionally zero through the use of sustainable practices, reducing waste sent to landfill, smarter flight planning, carbon trading and other efforts to reduce its overall emissions footprint.
Other airlines which have made a net-zero 2050 commitment include Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Etihad Airways and Japan’s ANA.
Many are also working on an interim target to substantially reduce their carbon emissions by 2030, including measures such as purchasing newer, more efficient planes.
In the case of Qantas, the decision to renew its domestic fleet with up to 134 modern Airbus A220 and A320neo-series jets over the coming ten years will significantly reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions compared to the current Boeing 717 and 737 aircraft, “which gets us closer to the net zero target we’ve set” says Joyce.