Roy Morgan: Which frequent flyer schemes do Australians use most?
And what does that mean when you want a reward seat?
I'm always curious about which frequent flyer schemes have the most members. Obviously, we'd expect Qantas and Velocity to have the highest numbers, but who gets first place, and who else is a contender?
Earlier this year, we noted some figures from Budget Direct about which schemes are most popular. And now we have some newer data from Roy Morgan, drawn from its State of the Nation Tourism report.
There are two clear things we can see from this chart:
- Over the past decade, there has been major growth in frequent flyer schemes. Qantas and Virgin have been the biggest beneficiaries of this. Qantas has a higher percentage of Australian households as members (29%), but Virgin has been growing more quickly.
- The only other local scheme with a really notable membership base is Air New Zealand's Airpoints.
What does this mean for your frequent flyer strategy? Qantas has the most members, so competition for reward seats is likely to be tougher than with other players. That's somewhat offset by the fact that Qantas operates on more routes and also by its recent pledge to offer more reward seats.
And whatever your preference, planning pays off. If you want a business class reward seat, you'll need to start looking around a year in advance (exactly how far ahead depends on the airline). Yes, that requires a little patience. But I'm always willing to be patient if I can score a flight that would normally cost thousands of dollars.
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.
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