Qantas Unveils Classic Plus Flight Rewards, Expanding Access to 20 Million Seats

By Ivan PetrenkoApr 9, 2024 06:30 AMNews
Grayscale photography of man standing in front of plane
Grayscale photography of man standing in front of plane. Source: unsplash

In a significant enhancement to its Frequent Flyer program, Qantas has introduced the Classic Plus Flight Rewards, adding an unprecedented 20 million new reward seats. This initiative, heralding a new era under CEO Vanessa Hudson, aims to revitalize the airline's loyalty program, addressing past criticisms regarding the scheme's transparency and availability, particularly during peak travel periods.

Previously criticized for its opaque frequent flyer program and scarcity of redeemable seats, Qantas has taken a bold step forward. The move is part of a broader strategy to rebuild its public image and operational performance, which has seen significant improvements, including a return to pre-pandemic levels of on-time flights and reduced cancellations, contributing to rising customer satisfaction.

The introduction of Classic Plus Flight Rewards marks a pivotal expansion in the 35-year history of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. Bridging the gap between the existing Classic Flight Rewards and Points Plus Pay, Classic Plus aims to alleviate the frustrations associated with limited seat availability. With an allocation of 20 million seats annually, compared to the 5 million offered by Classic rewards, Classic Plus offers a dynamic points requirement, mirroring the fluctuating nature of airfare pricing. This means points needed will be lower during off-peak times or when bookings are made early, and higher during peak travel periods.

Classic Plus rewards, exclusively available on Qantas marketed and operated flights, offer the flexibility of variable points redemption, access to premium economy and business class upgrades, and the upcoming option for first-class upgrades. This contrasts with the fixed-point redemption and broader airline accessibility of Classic rewards, though the latter remains a highly sought-after option for its value.

Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson emphasized the significance of the Classic Plus launch, highlighting it as a response to the growing points balances of frequent flyers and the demand for more flexible redemption options. Hudson's vision reflects a commitment to enhancing the value of the Qantas Loyalty program for its members, recognizing their loyalty and engagement as key drivers of the program's success.

With an investment of AU$60 million in the current financial year to boost flight rewards, including 6,000 new premium Classic reward seats to Europe, and a projected AU$120 million investment in Classic Plus in FY25, Qantas is significantly increasing the rewards available to frequent flyers. Starting from July 1, 2024, Classic Plus reward seats will be bookable for international flights departing from Australia, with plans to extend the offering across the entire Qantas network by the end of 2024.

As Qantas continues to offer over 5 million Classic reward seats without altering the points required since 2019, the Classic Plus Flight Rewards represent a strategic move to further cater to the diverse needs and preferences of its loyal customer base, ensuring a more inclusive and rewarding flying experience.

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