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Qantas: Status Credit outrage

Qantas: Status Credit outrage

I spent some time today looking at some flight availabilities in early 2021 between Sydney and Adelaide. I was comparing prices and flight times between Qantas and Virgin Australia (VA). I’d received a marketing email from VA which is offering some ‘Cheers to 20 years sale‘ specials through until 27 October. (too late!)

What’s going on?

I had also read over at ET of some changes in the way Qantas was classifying some fare buckets. I couldn’t quite see the impact of the changes, but now I can.

You will get fewer Status Credits for Flex fares!

The ET article had explained that the ‘M’ fare bucket was being moved over to the Red e-Deal sale class – a re-arrangement that wouldn’t have much impact on most of us and could be viewed positively because it added another price category to those Red e-Deal discount fares, or as everyone else except business travellers thinks of them as – standard fares.

However my experience indicates that this might be indicative of a change that affects the points and status credits that you earn for ‘Flex’ fares.

Let me illustrate this by example.

This is what a flight looks like prior to 4 November 2020 – concentrate on the number of Points and Status Credits you get for a ‘Flex’ fare.

a screenshot of a web page

See, you get 10 status credits & 800 points for Red e-Deal, 20 & 1,200 for flex, and 40 & 1,400 for business. That is for a booking in late October 2020.

Contrast that with what you get for a booking in March 2021:

a screenshot of a web page

Can you see it? Suddenly you are getting 10 status credits & only 800 points for your flex fare, instead of 20 & 1,200. The same as if you had paid AU$357 less and bought a Red e-Deal. That’s half the status credits and one-third reduction on points from 1,200 to 800!


a counter with food items on it

Qantas fare bucket changes is just another devaluation

Basically, we can look forward to status credit reduction similar to the above for domestic bookings made after 4 November. Now I know this is a little thing compared to the risk of Donald Trump being elected President again on the 2nd but for us AvGeeks, it’s important.

Let me backtrack a little. ET wrote an article about changes to Qantas points and status credit earnings, and upgrade redemptions.

The ‘M’ class fare bucket – previously part of the ‘Flex’ set of buckets which give you trip flexibility and higher points and status credits is now being re-assigned to the ‘Discount-Economy’ bucket group according to Executive Traveller. Well, that may be so, but what I’m seeing is the effective devaluation of the ‘Flex’ category.

Apparently, the new lead-in bucket for the ‘Flex’ category will now be a ‘K’ class ticket, and it looks like this has the reduced points and status credit earning capacity. This completely contradicts a statement from a Qantas spokesman quoted in the Executive Traveller piece:

“Passengers who book a flexible ticket will still earn the same amount of status credits and points and will not require more points to upgrade to Business.”

Not what I am seeing. The example above contains a definite reduction in both status credits and points.

Upgrading with points will also cost more than double

With the movement of the ‘M’ bucket to discount economy, expect to spend double the points you used to for an upgrade to Business. Here are some examples:

  • Sydney to Melbourne – was 5,400, after 4 November – 10,900
  • Brisbane to Cairns – was 8.100, after 4 November – 19,000
  • Sydney to Perth – was 10,900, after 4 November – 27,200

So, that’s a little COVID-19 gift to frequent flyers lovingly provided by Qantas.

an office with desks and chairs

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

I know things are tough for Qantas, and I don’t resent the higher prices they are charging for fares at the moment. I understand the need and I’m happy to pay and keep as many Qantas staff employed as possible. But this is just turning the knife, Qantas.

. . . and I’m still waiting, close to 4 months later for my fare refund that was promised inside of 10 to 12 weeks.

Siri? Add ‘phone Qantas FF’ to my ‘to-do’ list.

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