Qantas’ latest raft of revamps to its frequent flyer scheme come as quite a mixed bag for travellers with a boost on flights to Vancouver, Dallas and between Asia and Europe, while other routes such as Sydney-Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne-Doha have their earning pared back.
We've crunched the numbers to reveal the top-line changes for your Qantas Frequent Flyer points and status credits.
Status credits increase between Asia and Europe
Travellers en route to Europe but who prefer an Asian stopover in the likes of Singapore, Hong Kong or Tokyo rather than Dubai will reel in a higher number of status credits on the Asia-Europe leg than they do today.
On a one-way British Airways Singapore-London flight, a Cathay Pacific Hong Kong-Frankfurt service or even a Japan Airlines Tokyo-Paris leg in business class, that represents a 50% boost from 80 status credits today to an improved 120.
Sydney-Vancouver, Sydney-Dallas flights get fairer
An anomaly of the initial sweeping changes made to Qantas Frequent Flyer was that Sydney-Vancouver flights were longer in distance than Sydney-Los Angeles yet earned fewer points and status credits, while Sydney-Dallas was longer again but earned the same as Sydney-LA.
These refinements however see the ‘West Coast USA’ earning category amended to ‘West Coast USA/Canada’ to include Vancouver, serving to increase your tally from 24,000 points and 320 status credits to 27,000 points and 360 status credits on a Canadian business class round trip.
Similarly, Sydney-Dallas return in business class bumps up from 27,000 points and 360 status credits to 29,400 points and 400 status credits in a new category of its own.
Qantas/AA Dallas flight connections get a boost
Joining those improvements to the Sydney-Dallas leg, tweaks are also being made to onward flights from American Airlines’ home hub, generally increasing your haul on the shorter hops too.
Fly from Dallas to New York in American Airlines first class on an AA flight number and your earnings rise to 2,250 points and 120 status credits – up from 2,085 points and 90 status credits today – while Dallas-Washington also serves up a higher 1,760 points against the previous 1,650.
Qatar Airways: first class is business class, business class is economy
Take a business class flight from Australia to Doha with Qatar Airways – or indeed fly business class on any Qatar flight – and you’ll now earn at the ‘flexible economy’ rate, being 7,400 points and 40 status credits against the current 5,579 points and 80 status credits.
First class, which is available only on selected Qatar routes such as its A380s between Doha and London, are downgraded to earn at Qantas' business class rates.
Alaska Airlines, Iberia: economy takes a hit
Today, both Alaska Airlines and Iberia award one Qantas Point per mile flown in economy, but this changes from December 1 with fares broken down into ‘discount economy’, ‘economy’ and ‘flexible economy’.
On the cheapest tickets, an Iberia round trip between London and Barcelona decreases from 1,426 points and 20 status credits to just 340 points with the same 20 status credits, while a return Alaska Airlines journey between Los Angeles and Seattle on the lowest fares earns 550 points: down from 1,908.
Adelaide-Hong Kong flights earn more
No longer will Adelaide be roped in with the likes of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane as an 'east coast' city: instead, it gets its own category and means you'll earn more points and status credits on Cathay Pacific flights.
In business class, that's an increase from 5,335 points and 60 status credits to 5,400 and a noticeable 100 status credits in each direction, while in premium economy it's a similar improvement from 4,695 points and 30 status credits to 4,750 points and 50 status credits.
Japan Airlines Class J drops to ‘premium economy’
A favourite trick of Tokyo-bound business travellers is to upgrade from an often-cheap economy fare to ‘Class J’ business class on Japan Airlines’ onward domestic flights, with a mere ¥1,000 (A$11.50) payment awarding both points and status credits at the full business class rates.
That loophole is reined in with Japanese domestic flights in Class J topping out at ‘premium economy’ under the newly-revised scheme, halving your status credits from 40 to 20 on a one-way Tokyo-Osaka flight, for example.
Malaysia Airlines: business class, first class are ‘flexible economy’
Malaysia Airlines flights between Australia/New Zealand and either Malaysia, the UK or Europe; or between Malaysia and the UK, Europe or the Middle East have always earned at reduced rates via Qantas Frequent Flyer, yet business class and first class fares are now treated as ‘flexible economy’.
On a Sydney-Kuala Lumpur-London return, that represents a drop from 280 status credits to just 180, although there's a boost from 16,010 points to 21,000.
Ironically, full fare Y-class economy continues to earn as mere ‘discount economy’ on these routes, although elsewhere across Malaysia Airlines’ network business class and first class tickets earn as per their names, and full Y-fare economy earns as true flexible economy.
British Airways premium economy drops to ‘flexible economy’
With daily flights from Sydney to Singapore and London Heathrow, British Airways’ World Traveller Plus premium economy passengers will earn no more status credits than guests seated in economy with all premium economy fares categorised as ‘flexible economy’.
[Click the table above to enlarge it: fare types E, T and W represent premium economy.]
However, this change is more by name than nature for status earners: today’s premium economy flights notch up 21,172 points and 140 status credits on a return London trip, while the same after December 1 totals 21,000 points and the same 140 status credits.
Also read: Qantas continues frequent flyer rejig
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