Qantas revamps website: better bookings, fewer frequent flyer seats

By David Flynn, June 26 2013

Qantas has upgraded its website with a fresh design to streamline flight searches, although it seems that no amount of searching will reveal the full array of award seats available to Qantas Frequent Flyers.

As part of the refresh, the airline has pulled several of the most appealing Any Seat Award packages from online availability and restricted them to telephone sales – and hinted that they may eventually be axed altogether.

It's one of the few downsides to the overnight overhaul of Qantas.com.au, which delivers a cleaner look which the airline says is also ‘optimised to work better on tablets’.

Qantas has also reduced the cost of paying for online or telephone bookings with your credit card, and introduced a seven-day 'no fee' period for debit cards.

Read: Qantas cuts credit card fees, adds fee-free booking option

The buffed-up booking engine

After searching for a flight – either as a paid or points-based booking – travellers see an improved layout that’s easier to read, although the larger fonts and increased white space may also make for more scrolling when it comes to putting your itinerary together.

Frequent flyers can instantly switch between cash and Any Seat Award fares, with Jetstar flights more prominently flagged on the schedule – although there’s no way to remove them from the search results page.

According to Qantas, the ‘Points Plus Pay’ option can now be used for any cash or Any Seat Award booking. A large pop-up window reminds you if the booking session will soon time out and makes it easy to keep browsing with the click of an oversized button.

Classic Award options can be displayed by selecting a checkbox on the search pane, although Qantas says that integrating these into the website’s ‘commercial engine’ – so they can be booked alongside flights sold for cash – will follow later this year.

But back to that wrinkle among the shiny-shiny: some of the better-value Any Seat Awards can no longer be booked online.

'Marginal' Any Seat Awards – going, going, gone?

Qantas has removed what it classifies as ‘marginal Any Seat Award’ – these being Any Seat Award bookings which can be purchased at the same rate as Classic Award seats – from the website.

The ASA seats provide benefits such as frequent flyer points and status credits which are not available under Classic Award deals.

While Qantas hasn’t specified which types of seats fall into that category, pundits suggest they include first class and business class Any Seat Awards.

Those award seats can still be purchased, but only by contacting the Qantas call centre, albeit without attracting the standard telephone booking feee.

The reason for this? Qantas says those specific classes of Any Seat Awards are being “reviewed”, so the decision was made not to build them into what it calls Phase 1 of the new website due to their "uncertain future".

Whether they exist at all when Phase 2 rolls around in three months remains to be seen...

"With careful planning and research, Any Seat Award flights in business and first class can be booked at a cost that was very near to the Classic award levels" explains Nick La Galle, from The Frequent Flyer. "It's a very clever way to gain or retain status on Qantas."

Clifford Reichlin, from the Australian Frequent Flyer community, agrees.

"ASA seats in business and first class can deliver a relatively low cost per status credit" Reichlin told Australian Business Traveller.

"It looks to me like this is the first step in eliminating these ASAs completely."

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

David
David

David Flynn

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.

tmsmile

tmsmile

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 105

Qantas - the airline who keeps on gifting passengers to others

gippsflyer

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

You said it tmsmile, Qantas rarely misses an opportunity to devalue its Frequent Flyer scheme.

Qantas recently offered me double status credits to tempt me back, but really there just isn't enough to entice me to take up the offer. Even the Qantas First Lounge doesn't seem as special as it used to be, so I think my Red Roo days are over.

JBH

JBH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2012

Total posts 118

'marginal ASA's', 'being reviewed', 'uncertain future'. from such language it pretty clear what's going to happen.

11sjw

11sjw

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 289

The only thing missing is the word 'enhancement.'  

Serg

Serg

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

I tried new website and could not do any booking - it says "This itinerary can only be booked using Classic Awards" regarding of destination and dated.

gazzman

gazzman

04 Sep 2012

Total posts 32

I have the same issue   - wants me to make nothing but redemption bookings

TheRealBabushka

TheRealBabushka

21 Apr 2012

Total posts 3034

People need to actively consider their frequent flyer membership to ensure continued value. Residency is but one approach in selecting a frequent flyer programme. Think outside the box!

Markets will not work efficiently if people behave like lemmings!

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

One of the nice perks of QFF is the ASA option, as mentioned, great way to earn SC's. If this goes it would definitely be a blow to the program IMHO. I agree you need to actively consider your FF program, but residency is a major factor if you ask me especially if you are topping off your FF account with a local credit card. Ofcourse there is the option of switching to CX (OW) or Krisflyer (Star and status is recognised on VA) and I know they also offer credit card earning options, but I feel in general you get the best treatment when belonging to a FF program belonging to an airline from your residency country.

Anyway, all is not lost....as yet......

Chrisor

Chrisor

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Apr 2013

Total posts 146

There goes the benefits of QFF membership, it will be a matter now to see what other airlines have to offer.  Loyalty to one airline hasn't paid off for me, I was searching for Any Seat Awards for a flight in September, what to do now?  

11sjw

11sjw

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 289

You've still got 3 months and can do it over the phone without the "Phone Booking Fee."  After that it seems as though it will be tough.

sdwylie

sdwylie

Qantas - Platinum

18 Jan 2011

Total posts 84

How awful...

This was the main way I derrived value from the Qantas FF program.

And to make it worse, the new design of the website makes it incredibly difficult to see all available fares for a given day without having to scroll, which just doesn't make any sense...

gumshoe

gumshoe

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 216

Its the worst makeover I've ever seen of a web site, hard to use now and difficult to navigate, seat awards a mess and type so big can see it from 2m, come on QF you've made a major blunder. Other Airline site forum members are simply outraged being treated like this.

walshy002000

walshy002000

26 Jun 2013

Total posts 1

The site doesn't even work for Internet Explorer. Guess they really are pushing me towards someone else.

PLATY

PLATY

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Well the removal of ASA access to classic award fare buckets (U class, etc) will be the biggest blow to QFF that I can recall in 20 plus years of flying QF.

One assumes also a stupid business decision in removing THE point of differentiation with Velocity.

I guess in the meantime it's a case of look for the classic awards and then call QF to see if that can be scooped up at a reasonable point rate.

Looks like we're heading back to AA mileage runs to maintain Platinum rather than using ASA for credit top ups.

I spoke to someone on the PlatinumOne hot line (I actually got a real person rather than a voicemail service) and the attitude was, well put something in writing if you don't like it...

 

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

Question is, should we do those AA mileage runs after we have asked AAdvantage for a status match challenge and ensure we obtain EXP Plat with AA whilst doing the runs? Redemptions are much better than QF with AA and combined with the 8 SWU you get a year (redeemable on any fare bucket for upgrades) it seems a pretty good deal!

One thing I am wonderingis whether it would be relatively more difficult to qualify for EXp Plat on AA obtaining 100K miles a year as opposed to obtaining 1200 SC a year. I have been wondering this for a while, same question would go for CX (you need 120K miles or 80 sectors for Marco Polo Diamond, which is OW Emerald).

paa

paa

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 62

Looks like testing was not a priority at QF. Tried using the Book Award Flight screen for a classic award and I cannot see many major cities in the destination field... Canberra, Melbourne, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles etc. are missing.

PLATY

PLATY

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Have you selected the region from the elft hand side?

PLATY

PLATY

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

There's also a little check box on the top right you need to select - show all classic award destinations

AlG

AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

I'm not a web designer or a webmaster but I know how to manage rolling out a project and I simply cannot understand how so many airlines launch these new websites when they have so many flaws.

Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia and now Qantas, have they no concept of testing and re-testing the platform thoroughly and using a wide variety of people - maybe through a closed invitation-only sample - to ensure that every bug is out, or at least all the BIG bugs are out, before they put it live?

What is the obsession with rolling out a new website when a few hours of use by the public so easily shows that it's clearly not ready?

TheRealBabushka

TheRealBabushka

21 Apr 2012

Total posts 3034

Hear hear!

dibs

dibs

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Dec 2012

Total posts 20

You guys have it pretty good, if you want a REAL taste of the other end - I'd suggest Skywards.

Chrisor

Chrisor

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Apr 2013

Total posts 146

Recently completed a JASA SYD-ADL-SYD for 69008 points, booked in April and travelled in June, today same flight over next few months is 149400 points. More than double the amount of points needed before yesterdays changes.

It will be a lot more difficult now to obtain or retain status.

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

Whilst I am not sure if we can judge wether ASA awards have significantly devaluated on the one flight example (keep in mind cyclical factors) I too do have the feeling ASA are harder to get by. The SYD-HKG, SYD-CGK or SYD-PVG route always had availability for ASA at classic redemption rates, all of it has vanished now. I think time will tell when more people have search for ASA and are not able to book at reasonable cost.

One has to wonder the reasoning of QF behind this change. The QF FF program is a big money maker, but devaluating the program and taking away the one unique differentiator bewteen QFF and other schemes seems odd. People for sure will evaluate other options. Problem is that we do not have an other domestic carrier wwhich is part of a global alliance. If only VA would join star it would be great. I like OW for many reasons and if i would abandon QF, what is the other option? I would like to stay with OW due t my travel pattern. CX or AA seem the obvious ones, BA is an alternative (though redemption is very costly).

I guess QFF wants to further maximise their profits from thier FF program. Although they have a lot of members i doubt that the members are actually flying that much, my guess is they have a lot of household accounts who earn points by shopping or credit card spend (and maybe occaisionally fly). For the real savy travellers, who thankfully made use of getting "cheap" SC's via ASA, they are making the program way less attractive. Then again, the active FF are probably travelling per corporate policy, so QF would get the revenue in any case and making redemption more expensive adds to QF's bottomline.

I have written QF asking what the reasoning is behind their new booking engine, explaining my disappointment in both lay out as availability. let's see what they come back with.

Besides all the negativity around QF, I must say I do enjoy the fact that you can now redeem for EK flights, a very welcome change and something you are not able to do when a member of another OW FF program. AA does have a partnership with EY which enables you to redeem tickets.

FQ ALL THE WAY

FQ ALL THE WAY

23 Jul 2014

Total posts 1

Just tried the new website!

As hopeless as the old one!

1. Too much advertising so desperately slow

2. Tried to cancel intl online but had to call qantas! 20 minutes on the line and still waiting!

3. Tried to change a flight and downgraded a class which resulted in a credit! System refused to accept!

4. I had more than 2 mill points! Down to 600k can't wait to forget QF forever!

5. QF makes state rail seem super efficient!

6. CX, SING, UA, THAI, AIR CHINA  all beat QF  hands down in every area!

7. Such a sad sad sad situation! Used to be a great airline!!

8. Maybe FQ is a better call sign!

9. Still on the phone waiting.... 40 minutes and counting

 

 

 


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas revamps website: better bookings, fewer frequent flyer seats