Which finance products will Qantas launch next?
Qantas credit cards are booming, so the airline wants to expand its points portfolio.
The biggest news for passengers from yesterday's Qantas annual results was the announcement of plans to upgrade half-a-dozen lounges in 2019. But there's also something else we can look forward to: a wider range of Qantas-branded finance products.
As I've noted before, loyalty schemes are big business for airlines; not just a means of locking in customers, but a source of revenue in their own right. Qantas' numbers this week reinforce that. Qantas Loyalty (which runs Qantas Frequent Flyer) made $372 million, a record figure.
Much of that came from credit cards which earn Qantas Points. While credit card sign-ups overall were down 4% in Australia during the 2017-2018 financial year, Qantas-earning cards grew by 7%. That year also saw Qantas launch its own branded credit card and health insurance.
So it's no surprise that Qantas is now planning to launch more money-related products. "We've planned further expansion into financial services for FY19," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
What areas might it explore? It's a no-brainer that more credit cards, and perhaps some form of debit card offering, will be part of the mix. For points hunters, any card that can offer the ability to earn points on everyday spending will always be attractive.
A further expansion into insurance also seems probable. Qantas already offers health insurance, travel insurance and life insurance, but there are other markets it could tap into, such as car and home insurance. And what about some kangaroo-themed pet insurance? As long as there are bonus points on offer, I imagine there will be customers.
Some areas seem less likely. Post royal commission, who would want to risk their brand with financial advisory services? Basic savings accounts also don't offer much in the way of profit potential. And it would seem a stretch to launch into a Qantas-branded Afterpay-like service, though it's possible to imagine Qantas might start offering Afterpay or one of its rivals as a payment option for bookings. Its low-cost sibling Jetstar already has that, and rival Virgin is now finalising similar plans.
Just because Qantas offers a service doesn't mean you should sign up for it purely for the points, of course. Dedicated points stashers will still compare carefully to maximise their earnings. But it's always handy to have more options to drive competition.
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.com.au.