REX AIRLINES: Addictively bidding for business, winning awards, and expanding
Rex Airlines has largely escaped the bad press of Qantas and to some extent Virgin at the moment. In fact, they have had the opposite experience, being top of the list for reliability in August 2022, reaching new enterprise agreements with its flight attendants and engineers, purchasing National Jet Express, and being named ‘Airline of the Year’ at the inaugural Australian Aviation Awards 2022.
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Bid for business upgrades
Now the airline is offering passengers the option to bid for upgrades to its business class. Yes, it differs from the schemes of Qantas and Virgin, in that you can bid dollars and not frequent flyer points (since they don’t really have those at the moment) for an upgrade, with the outcome being announced 3 hours before your scheduled flight.
How it will work
It sounds to me a bit cumbersome. If you are booked in Economy you will receive an emailed invitation to bid for an upgrade to business up to 7 days prior to your flight. A link will take you to their bid page: rex.com.au/rexbidup. But you don’t bid and gorget – it’s a live bid process, so you will be told if your bid has been outbid by another, and you can up your bid. However, it’s not a completely open process, apparently, although you will be able to see the current highest bid. Oh, and there will be a range offered for your particular flight.
In the name of gamification
Apparently, REX wants this system to be seen as the same as addictively playing the pokies, by invoking (but possibly not understanding) the buzzword ‘gamification’.
“All passengers love an upgrade. This new element of gamification in the bidding process will be a fun and economical way for our economy passengers to experience our amazing business class product and service,”Michael Venus, Rex’s Director of Media and External Relations
While I applaud this move by REX, it looks like it is designed to encourage bids to the max range. Whether that is better than a system like that of Qantas, where the bidding process is more opaque is a good question. However, Qantas does offer the option of points upgrades, where you place in the queue is determined by your frequent flyer status.
Now, I like that system, and use it regularly, but that’s because I’m Platinum/Emerald with Qantas, so only have to compete with Platinum One’s and Chairman’s club members ahead of me. Having said that, on several recent flights, it looked like quite a few Gold members had been awarded upgrades.
I have yet to fly with REX, but I might try this bid system then, to see how it works.