New Qantas Green frequent flyer tier adds more points, status credits

The airline wants millions of its frequent flyers to ‘go green’ on the ground as well as in the air.

By David Flynn, November 26 2021
New Qantas Green frequent flyer tier adds more points, status credits

Qantas is adding a new Green tier to its frequent flyer scheme, with the promise that ‘green flyers’ can earn extra points and status credits as a reward for taking eco-friendly steps on the ground as well as in the air.

As part of a company-wide sustainability push, the airline will leverage the influence of its juggernaut loyalty program by using Australians’ love of frequent flyer points as an incentive to think and act green. 

“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 approach, believed to be a world first, is “designed to educate, encourage and reward the airline’s 13 million frequent flyers for everything from offsetting their flights, staying in eco-hotels, walking to work and installing solar panels at home.”

“This isn’t the first time we’ve used points to reward members for taking positive action in their own lives,” Joyce reflects.

The power of points

“We’ve seen it work when we’ve provided points for walking through our wellbeing app, while the vaccination reward has been taken up by more than 600,000 members already.”

Germany’s Lufthansa is also working on its own green rewards plan to launch in 2022. 

“We do think the eco-conscious traveller wants people to know that they’re an eco-conscious traveler,” Chief Customer Officer Christina Foerster remarked in an interview earlier this month. “It needs to be chic to show off you’re flying green.”

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.

How the new Qantas Green tier will work

To be launched in February 2022, the Green tier will sit alongside the exiting Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One membership levels in the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme (and you’ll get a digital card, not another piece of environmentally-evil plastic to crowd your wallet or purse).

It will also come with its own serve of bonus Qantas Points and status credits, which will be activated after members complete five sustainable activities per year across six categories: flying, travel, lifestyle, sustainable purchases, reducing impact and 'giving back’.

These benefits will be in addition to the rewards they get under their existing flying status or as part of the Qantas Points Club.

Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth expects to see 100,000 of the airline’s 13 million Frequent Flyer members inducted into the green tier “in the first 12 months.”

After unlocking Green status, members can choose between an initial reward of Qantas Points or status credits, the amount of which are yet to be revealed.

Additional points will be earned through avenues such as purchasing sustainable products through partners, while members will also receive invitations to special “sustainability events and experiences”.

Going green: Qantas execs Alan Joyce and Olivia Wirth.
Going green: Qantas execs Alan Joyce and Olivia Wirth.

As a first step to Green status, and ahead of the tier’s official launch next year, frequent flyers will from today be able to offset not only their flights but the carbon footprint of their home and car.

A calculator on the Qantas Frequent Flyer website will estimate those core ‘lifestyle’ emissions and let members offset them for a year at a time.

The airline estimates that the average annual cost to offset home energy for a family of four with two cars would be approximately $200, with members earning 10 Qantas Points per $1 spent on home or car offsets; Qantas Points can also be used to pay for those offsets.

Installing solar panels or “making a contribution towards protecting the Great Barrier Reef” will also count towards meeting a personal “sustainability target” and attaining Green status.

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.

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, including Qantas, are also working on an interim target to substantially reduce their carbon emissions by 2030, including measures such as purchasing newer, more efficient planes.

Qantas will next month reveal the shape of its future domestic fleet, with Airbus, Boeing and Brazil’s Embraer having submitted final bids as the airline looks to purchase over 100 new aircraft for delivery from 2023 to 2034.

“All of the next-generation aircraft we’re considering have the potential to drive big improvements in trip cost and overall efficiency, and they’re great platforms for delivering a better premium service to our customers,” Joyce has said.

“Not only will these aircraft deliver a step change in reducing fuel burn and carbon emissions by up to around 15 per cent, we’re talking to each of the manufacturers about how we can accelerate the development and use of sustainable aviation fuels for our domestic flying.”

David

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.

Good for Qantas.

Airlines are honorific contributors, so any bit helps.

Pretty ironic that it's corporations leading the charge on this whilst the government sits on it's bottom. Just goes to show that the majority of consumers do care, and Qantas need to show they do to maintain profits and revenue.

what a joke. All this green washing is one big con for idiots. Want to reduce pollution, stop driving your car. The cars is million times bigger polluter than airlines.

05 May 2016

Total posts 635

If QF really believed in all this they'd pay for it themselves rather than expecting customers to shell out extra.

I'd only consider going for the "Green status" if the offer of status credits is significant enough and counts to Lifetime Status.

Have to agree, based on the article's listing of the Sydney-Melbourne carbon offset being $1 and London being $25, airlines need to stop relying on passengers to pay and make these carbon offsets part of the fare. The Government should just make this mandatory for all airlines, domestic and international, so there is a 'level playing field'.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 107

The sentiment is right, but I'll wait to see how this latest scheme with all its details will pan out for both me and the environment. I've seen and experienced too much 'greenwashing' in business at all levels (e.g. starting with my local swimming pool supply store, all the way to my building society, which is now a bank). Yes, 'greenwashing' is very real and it pays to be open-minded and a little sceptical if you feel strongly about the environment, or any other issue that businesses could manipulate to keep or gain your patronage.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jul 2019

Total posts 4

@ George Lucas

The article stated that 11% of travellers tick the carbon offset box on their flight booking. This is far from a majority.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 74

Exactly what I thought

For a website call executive traveller a lot of people here sure don't understand business very well.

This, greenwashing or not, is a clear demonstration that the customer base is conscious of these issues. Otherwise qantas would simply not bother with the initiative.

You can already see the (sad) backlash in these comments.

The fact that they are launching this, and I'll trust the millions of dollars and hours that qantas spend to understand their customer better over comments here, shows it's a factor in consumer purchasing decisions.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 107

@George Lucas. Hi there. Coca-Cola also thought 'New Coke' was a great idea. Microsoft thought Windows 8 O/S was a great idea. Amazon thought their 'Fire' phone was a great idea. Now QANTAS thinks a 'Green' FF tier is a great idea. My point is no matter how good a big business thinks their product is, it is ultimately we - their customers - who decide. And we are not immature, ignorant trolls bagging QANTAS' latest scheme just for the sake of it! We are serious business and leisure travellers who, I would guess, probably fly more than the average person. I think our opinions do matter a great deal. Keep well and safe travels to you.

basically the average consumer is dumb & easily conned by such rubbish. It won't make any difference. Stop buying 4wds & make all public transport free(costs more to collect fares, than the fares collected) & stop buying rubbish from China.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 74

Wouldn't use it on principle.

26 Nov 2021

Total posts 1

another meaningless wokeness from the people who have converted QFF to a Ponzy scheme with no relationship to their core business of transporting people on planes & encouraging repeat business. They simply do not care about Actual Frequent Flyers.

Nonsense, try earning enough status credits for Gold or Platinum without flying, good luck to you. And what benefits do Golds or Platinums get on the ground, instead of flying? Pretty much none.

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 71

Are points gong to be awarded for not owning a car at all?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 363

Yeah, thanks but no thanks.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 508

In general, I hate unnecessary plastic cards, but my Qantas FF card is always treasured, whatever “evil” that plastic card is (it can be recycled plaice for all I care), but the cash card is still a good option, rather than to rely on a fancy phone with NFC.

More people waste resources through plastic bottles and takeaways tubs without trying to reuse them, then to worry about a measly card. 

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 223

I think the writer's reference to the Qantas Green card not being "evil" plastic was tongue in cheek!

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 36

realistically, this will be a success if the cost of 'buying' green status credits provides a reasonable way to get a meaningful number of credits to acquire a set of tastefully designed and TSA approved QF monogrammed golden handcuffs for each membership year. If it's futzing around the edges on the credit numbers then it'll still be those 11% who do it because they care. Hopefully they've done the numbers right to matter to the rest of who care about the environment in a no cost way... but REALLY care about lounges in a real and visceral way.

(what would be interesting and make a difference to the amount of carbon spewed out by the avgas guzzling tubes was if mileage runners were allowed to craft their mileage marathon, and still collect the points even if not physically flown. So I get my status points from that SYD-CBR-BNE-MEL-SYD all in one day, and QF get my money and don't have to spend so much on fuel)

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 223

I don't quite understand seeing so many comments against this, not as much here but on ET's Facebook page. Maybe it's just the people who are 'triggered' by this because they don't like Joyce or Qantas, are skeptical of climate change or don't like companies having a 'social voice' who respond, while the people who don't have an issue with this and do generally practice 'green' habits even in recycling etc just take this as is and don't respond.

I mean, if someone doesn't don't like this idea for whatever reason it's not as if this is going to cost them anything. If you have green habits or want to adopt them and get 'rewards' of extra points, SCs etc then go for it, if you don't want to then you don't have to and you it doesn't cost you anything.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2014

Total posts 217

Well said. The vitriol from the ET community is a little bit baffling and sad. I don’t recall seeing this kind of acerbic commentary when Qantas established other non-flight bolt ons to its QFF program, such as Points Club. If this initiative changes some peoples consumer behaviours to be more sustainable, what’s the harm? If you don’t want to participate, don’t? Typical of this community, the comments here are a cesspool of unnecessary grouchiness. 

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 223

I wouldn't say it's the whole 'ET community' doing the 'vitriol' here, just a few more vocal members of it. Not all the comments are anti, and also look at the upvotes and downvotes as a reflection of what the 'silent majority' feel. I agree there is a bit too much whinging and "unnecessary grouchiness" more generally speaking in comments etc but I think that's also just a few loudmouths who love the sound of their own voice and think that having an opinion means it must be heard, eg people who just claim "woke!" here rather than put forward a decent argument for their case. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

It genuinely amazes me the lengths that Qantas will go to in order to bastardize their 'Frequent Flyer' program (which now has virtually no relevance to 'frequent flying' but has everything to do with a promoted 'lifestyle club').

One good thing that presumably we won't see is Qantas pushing incentives for buying or transacting in Bitcoin or similar crypto currencies, given the wasteful amount of energy involved in mining and farming of these coins. 

One has to wonder if part of QF's 'green' credentials will be to terminate business agreements with banks and credit providers who choose to deal in such? That will make an interesting question and observation of commitment.

I personally would have a fundamental objection to 'green' costs being built in to a ticket price. As this is a business cost / expense, it should be approached as such. If you, as CEO, make a public commitment to some type of achievable target, then pay for it - as a company - as many businesses do. 

Simply passing the cost off to your customers is irresponsible (you, as CEO, made the commitment, not your customers) and does nothing to teach the organisation about global conservation. 

By all means, commit your company to purchasing / developing / inventing or partnering in more sustainable modes of transport (more efficient engines, different 'fuel' types such as bio-diesel, hydrogen etc. and alternative energy plants such as 'electric' or battery etc). Passing the cost to your customers and saying 'well, we've done our job' is disingenuous and borders on the morally fraudulent, IMHO. 

Perhaps Qantas might want to re-examine and improve upon their partnership with Red Energy? Just a suggestion.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2020

Total posts 7

@kimshep's comment about "alternative energy plants such as 'electric' or battery etc" gave me a fleeting image of battery powered flights crossed with the #rangeAnxiety that so many people have with regard to electric vehicles ... 

Then my mind jumped to free onboard Wi-Fi and I'm left wondering what the carbon footprint (and economic cost) of that is, if people actually download/stream content inflight?

As for the "green tier" - if it 'sits alongside' the other tiers, then it's not a tier - at best it's a flag or a status - but not a status tier.
Definitions of tier:
"one of several layers or levels"
"one of two or more rows, levels, or ranks arranged one above another"

And as for the expected take-up or achievement of this 'tier':
"Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth expects to see 100,000 of the airline’s 13 million Frequent Flyer members inducted into the green tier 'in the first 12 months'. "

That's one in 130 customers (or roughly an amazing three-quarters of one percent ~0.77%), which is a far cry from the reported "11% of its travellers tick the carbon offset box".


17 Jun 2020

Total posts 251

Like many have said, this is laughable token corporate wokeism.

Pretending to be a green airline but then bringing back the four engine A380 and flying the Fokker. 

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 33

Qantas should eliminate all environmental challenges on their own! If they can't do that, then they shouldn't try!

06 Dec 2018

Total posts 11

I’ve read all the comments and agree with most. And for those of you who question why some maybe skeptical in this venture, I believe it comes down to experience. Qantas is an airline, with a massive client base sitting with millions of unspent, but valuable points. Everyone is concerned about the environment, and I have no doubt Qantas is as well. But it’s a business and needs to wrest maximum spend from its customers… in this venture, it’s easy… clients turn their points into environment saviours, Qantas gets its cash. 

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1409

I’m very interested in how many brownie (sorry green) points I get for having an electric car. It’s a great idea but as with these things the devil is in the detail.


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