Qantas will downgrade British Airways' status for redeeming frequent flyer points on free award flights from September 1st.
BA flights between Sydney and Singapore and Sydney-London via Singapore – along with BA flights between London and Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo – will shift from Qantas' own Classic Award rates to being listed as Partner Classic Awards, which requires more Qantas points to snare a seat on BA flights.
Under the Qantas Classic Award table travellers would need 64,000 points to claim an economy award seat from Sydney to London, with 128,000 for business class and 192,000 for first class.
The Partner Classic Award table sets higher rates of 75,000 points for economy, 139,000 for business class and 203,000 for first class.
That's a rise of 11,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points across all travel classes, although the step is naturally steeper if you're seeking a seat in economy than at the pointy end of the plane.
The changes will impact Classic Award trips taken only on those BA routes listed above, as all other BA flights already use the Partner Classic Awards table for determining frequent flyer redemption rates.
Click here for a full breakdown of the changes.
The move follows Qantas' decision earlier this year to axe the ‘status bonus’ on BA flights – a prized perk which delivers a second helping of points based on your status in the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme.
At the same time, Qantas slashed the earning rate of BA's cheapest discount economy tickets from Australia to Singapore, London and Frankfurt from the standard 'one point per mile' to a mere 0.25 points per mile.
Savvy frequent flyers dodge fuel tax
But it's not all downside for Qantas Frequent Flyers – a loophole in the current Qantas-Emirates partnership allows travellers to sidestep hefty fuel surcharges by redeeming their frequent flyer points on Emirates flights rather than Qantas.
The savings can be as high as $610 for a flight from Australia to London, although as The Sydney Morning Herald reports this wrinkle is set to be ironed out as Qantas and Emirates executives bed down the final details in their alliance, having up to now concentrated on 'big ticket' items.
"A possible resolution could be for Qantas to lower its fuel surcharges to better match Emirates" writes SMH aviation correspondent Matt O'Sullivan.
"But a reduction would mean that Qantas would take a hit to its revenue. Conversely, any increase in charges by Emirates is likely to face a consumer backlash."
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