Friday, 28 March 2014

Qantas is now firing its Frequent Flyers

In one of the biggest overhauls of its frequent flyer scheme in years, Qantas punishes people who try and find the cheapest fare booking with either Qantas itself, but especially with its One World parners. Here's the Qantas 'simpler and fairer' sales pitch.

Earning Miles
Remember that 1,000 point guarantee - gone! Now your earn is more related to your spend.  So if you buy discount economy - your going down. In most other categories - you stay the same, or improve.

Status Credits
Not much of an apparent change here - except if you travel with partner airlines where your earings will be roughly halved. For instance if you travel World Traveller Plus (business class) on British Airways - Sydney to London via Bangkok (as I did last year) your status point earn is halved from 240 to 120 points

Status Bonus
You used to get a percentage increase in the points you earned according to your FF status - now, not so much - unless you are high status, travelling at the pointy end - the rest will loose.

FF Tricks to cheaply increase or retain your high status
There used to be a trick where you would get an any seat reward - for nearly the same number of points as a classic award, but still earn status credits and FF points. Obsessed frequent flyers used to use such tricks to do 'status runs' to top up their status credits to retain or attain their FF Status. Its been an open secret, even if increasingly harder to find. OK it was an anomaly - but one that i think very few new about, and even fewer used. It was also a kind of nice 'those in the know' secret. Well its gone.

How it affects me
Ok - I fly about once or twice a month - usually domestically, about half for business and half for pleasure. Twice, and sometimes three times a year I do some long-haul about half in business, and half in economy. And I always search for the best deal, balancing cost, convenience and quality of service/airline. Last year, I blagged my way to gold status with Qantas, on the grounds I was nearly there, and if I had received one of their 'twofer' offers on status credits (offered to my partner, but not to me), I'd have qualified.  I've since enjoyed the free access to the club - treating my 89 year old mother to the quiet space and snacks in the lounge, and seem to have successfully booked exit row seats on virtually every flight.  Those seats were always blocked off on line when I was a mere Silver FF.

Well - I'm most pissed off at the downgrading of status credits on partner airlines. For me it was useful to find the cheapest fare on a one world member, and still earn status credits with Qantas. I value FF points, but not as much as I value the perks of seating selection, prompt counter service, and access to Qantas and partner lounges that Gold and Platinum status brings.

Ok - so I might not see the Qantas lounge in Sydney for too much longer - but when I move to Virgin - as I surely will, at least I'll be able to drown my lack of status sorrows with a nice glass of something and some bocadillos or raciones at the bar of Movida @ The Airport.

Further Reading
as usual, Australian Business Traveller covers all these aspects extensively, with news stories at the SMH, or you can see over at Crikey if you agree with Plane Talking that 'Australia’s frequent flyers get kicked into the real world'

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Malaysian Airlines Plane missing between KL and Beijing

Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 is currently missing somewhere between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. The Boeing 777 was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew. It was traveling at 35,000 feet when it disappeared from radar screens. Although nothing is confirmed, it appears the flight is lost. Rumours that it made an emergency landing elsewhere in China have now been denied. Majority of passengers were from mainland China.

Malaysian Airlines Statement
Live Coverage at The Guardian Australian Edition

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Qantas to dump CEO Joyce ?

According to the Australian Financial Review, the Chairman of Qantas, Leigh Clifford - formally one of the CEO's greatest supporters prevaricated when asked about Alan Joyce's future. In the midst of awful news for the company including record losses, and intentions to slash more than 10% of staff, Clifford apparently failed to support Joyce's future saying 'I'm not willing to engage in that debate at the moment. At some later date, I may be willing to talk on those matters'.

If you can't get your chairman to make an unqualified statement of support for you as CEO in the midst of a crisis - then it might be time to make sure your bags are packed for a quick exit.