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Qantas expects to sign up the 10 millionth member of its frequent flyer scheme in the coming months as the airline's loyalty program continues to expand its reach into the spending habits of everyday Australians.
Next week will see the official launch of the Qantas Restaurants service, which lets frequent flyers browse and book a table at over 2,500 restaurants and earn 100 Qantas Points for each diner on top of however many points they'd earn by paying with their credit card or Qantas Cash debit card.
100 points isn't a huge serve by any measure but it's on a per-diner basis, so a table for four will earn you 400 Qantas Points – and if you were already intending to eat at a Qantas Restaurants partner then you've lost nothing and picked up a fistful more points into the process.
The Qantas Restaurants booking site is powered by Australian restaurants review and booking service Dimmi and is already live.
Earlier this month the Flying Kangaroo dipped its paw into the rapidly-growing cruise market, with the Qantas Cruises website offering bookings on over 10,000 cruise itineraries through a partnership with online specialist Cruise Guru.
Qantas Frequent Flyer members will earn one point for every dollar spent on their cruise booking, although there's not yet the ability to book flights and cruises as part of a single itinerary.
Perhaps the biggest feather in the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme's cap has been the launch of the Qantas Cash debit card.
Although marketed primarily as a 'load and go' travel money card it's seeing exceptionally activity in Australia, where users earn one point for every $2 spent (compared to one point per dollar overseas).
Qantas reports a 61 per cent spike on money loaded onto the cards and a 250 per cent increase on card-based spending in December compared to the previous month.
Qantas is also powering ahead with its Aquire small business rewards scheme and will next month reveal the program's launch partners for the program ahead of its official debut in March.
"We want Aquire to be as important to businesses as the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is for consumers" says Stephanie Tully, Chief Marketing Officer for Qantas Loyalty.
Any business with an Australian Business Number (ABN) can register for the small business loyalty scheme and earn Aquire points as well as Qantas Frequent Flyer points.
... and selling out?
Rumours of a partial sell-off of the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme continue to rumble as the airline looks to pare back an estimated loss of up to $300 million over the July-December 2013 period and shape up for the tougher times that are expected to follow, in response to what the airline described as "fundamentally changed market conditions".
Qantas is believed to be laying the groundwork to sell up to 49% of its frequent flyer scheme, which could yield between $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion for the beleaguered airline.
Macquarie and Citigroup are believed to be on the cards to manage the float of the lucrative loyalty program, which took a record $1.2 billion in billings across the 2013 financial year to contribute $260 million (before interest and tax) to Qantas.
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