In a bid to maintain loyalty during one of the toughest travel droughts, Qantas extends its frequent flyer status for customers as a “retention lifeline”.
In a statement, Qantas said the extension will see members hold onto their status until at least June 2023 if customers book one eligible flight before their current membership expires.
This will be the fourth time the carrier has extended the program as international and domestic travel continues to be restrained by COVID-19.
The tier includes bronze, silver, gold, platinum and platinum one members, each unlocking different benefits through accumulating Status Credits – the more you fly, the more you earn.
The announcement impacts only the silver tier and above, and is for Australian and New Zealand members.
Qantas Loyalty chief executive Olivia Wirth said it would allow customers to retain their tier levels while domestic and international travel remains on hold.
“We know how important tier status is to our members and many of them have built it up over many years of flying with us,” she said.
“Our members have remained highly engaged with the program even in the midst of a global pandemic.”
Once the offer is activated, eligible status credits will also roll over into the new membership year, according to the airline.
Qantas is “confident” in a booking spike when travel reopens, and the carrier’s data shows 96 per cent of customers intend on travelling domestically in the next year.
“Maintaining their tier is not just about status for our highly valued Frequent Flyers, it’s about the range of benefits they enjoy when they fly with us or partner airlines,” she added.
The flag carrier made the same offer in November last year for members facing a tier downgrade.
Editor-in-chief of Executive Traveller website, David Flynn, said it was a benefit for flyers who had their “wings clipped” from the pandemic.
“That is especially true of high-flying platinum and platinum one members who typically rely on long-haul international flights to London and the US to attain their status and perks,” he said.
While this is a major benefit, this also assists Qantas in maintaining customer loyalty and increasing bookings from its highest-spending customers.
Airlines report billions of dollars in revenue from loyalty programs annually, which is especially important in the post-pandemic recovery.
Chief executive of Airline Intelligence and Research and former chief economist of Qantas, Tony Webber, previously heralded loyalty programs in 2019 to the ABC.
“The dominant reason it’s exceptionally good for the airlines’ cash flow is that they’re really getting a revenue stream for a very little cost stream,” he said.