Qantas is ramping up its points game with the launch of an own-branded credit card but the head of the airline's frequent flyer arm says there are no plans to make status credits available at the supermarket.
"The way I think about it is that status credits are about recognition for your loyalty, while points are about rewarding (your loyalty)" says Lesley Grant, CEO of Qantas Loyalty. "Status credits need to be protected because they are recognising somebody's repeat business with Qantas."
"From our perspective we think it's not appropriate to link status credits with everyday spend such as supermarkets," Grant expands, with clear reference to challenger Virgin Australia's partnership with Coles Flybuys which allows Velocity Frequent Flyer members to pick up 120 status credits each year at the checkout.
"For us, status credits will always be in some way linked to flying and that will protect and recognise our tiered flyers in the program."
Grant's position could split frequent flyers – some of whom want a way to top up their status credit balance to bridge the gap between tiers such as Gold and Platinum, while others would rather keep status as a travel-only privilege.
Qantas has recently trialled promotions with American Express and ANZ to earn a side serve of 75 status credits on the ground, but those credits could be won only by using either card to pay for a Qantas flight.
"As a trial that was interesting for us, but it was still linked to flying... we will continue to protect the recognition of our tiered flyers and ensure that status credits truly recognise that ongoing loyalty."
Does Grant then see a potential for status credits to be earned when booking a flight with the new Qantas Premier credit card?
"I'm not going to commit to what any future campaigns might look like," she parries, "but status credits will always be associated with flights and they will always be linked to loyalty to Qantas."