Rex intends to launch a frequent flyer program within weeks to compete with Qantas and Virgin, Australian Aviation can reveal.
In the investor briefing for its full-year results, the carrier cited the introduction of a frequent flyer scheme as one reason for an expected lift in revenue in 2024. The scheme is planned to launch in the first quarter of the 2024 financial year, meaning it should be revealed by the end of September.
Rex has indicated plans to launch a loyalty program before, and its website has included greyed-out links for ‘Rex Flyer’ for years. The company already has a ‘Rex Business Flyer’ scheme for corporate travel, which allows businesses to earn two reward seats for every 18 eligible sectors flown.
Rex Business Flyer membership applications have currently been suspended, however, with a banner on the website saying a “new and improved Business Flyer program is coming soon”.
Rex Flyer would be the third entrant into what is often a cutthroat frequent flyer market, with Velocity and Qantas Frequent Flyer frequently attempting to outdo each other and poach members.
Virgin Australia earlier this month attempted to entice Qantas Frequent Flyer members with a trial status-matching offer for those who have achieved Gold status or above in “other Australian airline loyalty programs”.
Virgin and Qantas’s respective loyalty programs have been at war for years, with Virgin last year launching a similar “Switch-a-Roo” scheme to lure the Flying Kangaroo’s frequent flyer customers over to Velocity.
At the time, Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Nick Rohrlach – who had sensationally “defected” from Qantas Frequent Flyer in 2021, provoking a protracted court battle – called the scheme another example of Virgin’s “playful” nature.
“On average, one person in every Australian household now has a Velocity Frequent Flyer membership, which shows the depth, breadth and importance of the program to Australian consumers,” he said.
The battle for frequent flyers became particularly divisive after Virgin’s collapse into administration supposedly led to 25 corporate accounts switching to the Flying Kangaroo from Virgin.
Qantas took advantage by launching multiple switching programs targeting both Virgin and Air New Zealand customers in the aftermath.