Qantas continues the evolution of its frequent flyer program into an increasingly mainstream and self-sufficient rewards scheme with this week’s launch of a dedicated Qantas Points website.
QantasPoints.com acts as a hub for the program itself, which now counts over 10 million members on its books – many of whom earn and burn points without ever setting foot onto a Qantas plane.
A new Online Mall broadens that earning capability to a score of big brand retailers including Apple, eBay, David Jones, The Iconic, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Selfridges.
Several of these retailers were previously exclusive to the Velocity eStore of competitor Virgin Australia, so you’ve now got a choice between hoovering up Qantas Points or Velocity Points as you fill your shopping cart.
“We’re constantly looking at ways that we can stay ahead of the game and continue to create a world-leading program for our members” said Qantas Loyalty CEO Lesley Grant at this week’s launch of the new website.
Grant added that the frequent flyer scheme has “some members in the program who do very little flying or don’t fly at all” – one reason why Qantas has taken to de-emphasising the ‘flying’ aspect of the program and promoting the currency and now the brand simply as Qantas Points.
Frequent shoppers, not just frequent flyers
“About half of all our new members are coming in through Woolworths” Qantas Loyalty’s Chief Marketing Officer Stephanie Tully told Australian Business Traveller.
“A lot of members, particular the regular shopping members, don’t often earn points flying, although most members still have the aspiration to use their points for flying” Tully said.
“What started as the Qantas Frequent Flyer program has grown significantly in the past few years, to include a lot of new ways to earn points and entirely new programs like Qantas Cash, Qantas Golf, aQuire, and Qantas epiQure” Grant explained.
“QantasPoints.com is designed to help members navigate what’s on offer so that they can get the most out of it.”
However, while members can earn points while shop online via the site’s integrated Online Mall, using those points to book flights, hotels, holiday packages and buy wine through the airline’s epiQure wine program relies on clicking links through to each specific program.
For the most part QantasPoints exists to promote the scheme and its manifold methods of earning and burning, which is certain to spur speculation that the lucrative rewards program will be at least partially sold or spun out as Qantas seeks to redress its financial woes.
The airline is expected to report a 2013-2014 loss in the vicinity of $750 million at the end of this month, although the Qantas Loyalty arm generally pours some $250 million of annual earnings into its parent’s coffers.
Recent forays beyond the domain of airline-based loyalty include the prepaid Qantas Cash travel money card, of which Grant said “over 300,000 cards have been activated”.
The cards now allow faster cash loading with last month’s introduction of electronic bank transfers, and supports ten foreign currencies with the Thai Baht and UAE Dirham added earlier this year.
Grant also revealed that the just-announced Qantas Golf Club is off to a solid start.
“Within the first 24 hours we had 30,000 members pre-register” Grant said. “We knew we’d have a high level of interest among our members but we were blown away.”
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT