Qantas will speed up the process of loading money onto its prepaid Qantas Cash card as the airline gears up for what it says is the busiest time of the year for travel money cards.
The new ‘fast load’ system will cut the current three-day period between Australian dollars being transferred to the card’s account and then being available to convert into one of 10 foreign currencies.
“We plan to introduce a much faster load time in the next few weeks” says Stephanie Tulley, Chief Marketing Officer for Qantas Loyalty, who described the existing waiting time as “a pain point for members.”
“We’ve come up with a solution which we’ll launch imminently, which should make [load times] considerably faster than three days” Tulley tells Australian Business Traveller.
Qantas introduced its prepaid travel money card, which recently was awarded Best Co-branded Card at the 2012 Smartcard Asia industry awards, in September 2013, following Virgin Australia’s launch of its competing Global Wallet.
Both pieces of plastic double as a membership card to each airline’s frequent flyer program.
A quarter of a million Qantas frequent flyers have activated their Qantas Cash card since its launch some eight months ago, up from 200,000 in January – although with almost 10 million members in the airline’s loyalty program there’s still a long way to go.
That said, not all Qantas frequent flyers receive the Qantas Cash card.
Tulley says that members living overseas and members who are “not actively earning or using their points” receive only a standard Qantas frequent flyer membership card without the prepaid MasterCard facility which powers Qantas Cash.
It’s also not send to members under the age of 18, unless they are over 16 years and specifically requested the Qantas Cash card.
“There’s a lot of children in the program and lots of overseas residents too” Tulley says, although she reveals that Qantas has its eye on offering the Qantas Cash card to international members in due course.
“It’s still very early days but we would like to expand out of Australia, with New Zealand probably being next, that’s definitely part of our pipeline.”
Additional currencies for the card’s ‘virtual wallets’ are also on the way, with the UAE’s Dirham added only last month.
“That made complete sense, given the Qantas-Emirates alliance and the number of Australians visiting Dubai” Tulley says, “and of course we have plans to add more currencies.”
“The great thing is that we can see where people are using their Qantas Cash card in countries where we don’t support the local currency, so that gives us some guidance as to demand and helps us to prioritise those new currencies.”
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