Qantas results: Three things frequent flyers should know
Flights to Asia cut, rewards seats booming and a hot double Status Credits offer.
Qantas's latest financial results saw Australia's largest airline turn a $771 million profit – impressive given the challenges the travel industry is facing right now. I'm not interested in the minutiae of Qantas's finances, but the results did reveal three things that anyone planning to use their Qantas Points for a reward flight soon should take note of.
Rewards flights are more popular than ever. Qantas made some big tweaks to its Frequent Flyer scheme in June last year, offering more seats but also increasing the number of Qantas Points needed for Premium Economy, Business and First rewards. Those changes have driven even more people to redeem flight rewards.
According to Qantas, award redemptions in premium cabins have gone up by 22%, and 400,000 people who had not booked a reward flight in the past 18 months have now booked one. The total number of points earned by members also hit an (unspecified) record high. One big factor there? Higher earn rates from Woolworths Rewards.
It's good that people are spending their points on flights because that offers the best bang for buck. But it does mean the competition for premium seats is bigger than ever. Scoring the seat you want will require planning and persistence.
Flights to Asia are being cut. Like airlines the world over, Qantas is adjusting its schedules to reflect reduced demand for travel following the coronavirus crisis. Having already dumped direct flights to Shanghai, it is now cutting the number of flights to Hong Kong, using smaller aircraft for its Melbourne-Singapore service and trimming some services to New Zealand. (At least it isn't dumping Hong Kong flights altogether, unlike Virgin Australia.)
These are the main changes, including some Jetstar international services:
- Sydney-Hong Kong cut from 14 return flights a week to 7
- Brisbane-Hong Kong cut from 7 return flights a week to 4
- Melbourne-Hong Kong cut from 7 return flights a week to 5
- Melbourne-Singapore to use Boeing 787s rather than Airbus A380s, meaning about 250 fewer passengers per flight
- A 6% reduction in New Zealand services, with Sydney-Auckland, Melbourne-Auckland and Brisbane-Christchurch all seeing cuts.
- Cuts to Jetstar services to Tokyo and Phuket
Again, this means it's going to be tougher to get reward redemptions on those routes in the near future.
A double Status Credits offer It has been a year since Qantas last had a double Status Credits offer that was open to everyone (rather than targeted). I don't think it's a coincidence that this launched the same day as the results: it's a way of keeping members loyal when the number of flights is going down. I'll certainly be taking advantage of it!
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.
Picture: Angus Kidman