Qantas axes 'marginal' Any Seat Awards for business, first class

By David Flynn, March 27 2014
Qantas axes 'marginal' Any Seat Awards for business, first class

Qantas has quietly axed some of its most sought-after frequent flyer seats in a sudden overhaul of its loyalty scheme, citing financial pressures as the airline struggles to turn back a rising tide of red ink.

Frequent flyers have long been able to exploit a loophole in the Qantas booking system which let them trade their points on premium seats – typically in business and first class – via an Any Seat Award booking made at the same rate as the cheaper Classic Award seats.

However, those bookings provided benefits such as frequent flyer points and status credits which were not available under Classic Award deals.

This proved especially popular with savvy flyers who used those relatively low-cost seats to gain sufficient status credits to gain or retain Gold or Platinum membership in the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme.

Qantas will close that loophole from July 1, removing what it terms as ‘Marginal Any Seat Awards’ from the system.

A Qantas spokesperson said that these award seats "represent a short cut to tier status and add a significant cost without the revenue in return," adding that "the financial realities of our business have been well publicised."

"The option to book Any Seat Awards in Classic Award fare classes (X, Z, U and P) will be removed from 1 July 2014."

Qantas last year removed the ability to book these special seats online, so that they could be booked only over the telephone by through the Qantas call centre.

This move was widely interpreted as the beginning of the end for MASA seats, with Qantas at the time confirming those specific award classes were being reviewed.

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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.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1501

Personally I never found any seats award attractive, though as usual YMMV

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2207

The MASAs could be pretty good, though. I think they were at one point a favourite for status running - I read at least one report where ASAs were used on the BNE-GLT-ROK-MKY-TSV-CNS milk run to rack up status credits.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 32

Should probably modify the article title to reflect more accurately that all "marginal" Any Seat Awards are being axed, not just those in Business and First class.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 699

Some people have made much over the point that the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme will no longer reward "frequent" travel alone. When such frequent travel was on marginal revenue fares (meaning Qantas didn't really make much money off you, even if you did fly frequently), these changes seem understandable.

Qantas is a business and it has to make money, and handing out free premium champagne and other expensive perks to those who never really contributed to your profit margin never made much business sense.

The writing was always on the wall for mASA and other cheap ways to obtain uber status.

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