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Qantas spends $211m to purchase TripADeal outright

written by Adam Thorn | June 13, 2024

From left: Qantas Loyalty CEO Andrew Glance with TripADeal founders Norm Black and Richard Johnston.

Qantas will spend $211 million to purchase the remaining 49 per cent of package holiday company TripADeal.

The airline confirmed the travel agent will continue to operate as an independent business, but founders Norm Black and Richard Johnston will depart.

The Flying Kangaroo obtained a majority stake in 2022 via its frequent flyer arm Qantas Loyalty and said “billions” of points have already been spent on its holidays.

“TripADeal’s success at curating on-trend and well-priced holidays, together with the reach of Qantas’ 15.8 million members, has seen sales and revenue growth exceed expectations,” the airline said on Thursday.

“Bookings have surpassed $450 million in the last twelve months, doubling pre-COVID levels.

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“TripADeal’s proven business model, strong demand for packaged holidays, as well as opportunities for further value creation under sole ownership across the airline businesses as well as Qantas Loyalty, gives the Qantas Group significant confidence this investment will deliver a strong return for shareholders.”

As part of the deal, TripADeal COO Matt Wolfenden will be promoted to become CEO and lead the 150-strong team in Byron Bay.

Qantas added that it expects “combined cost and revenue synergies” to build to at least $50 million annually across the wider group “over time”.

“With TripADeal bookings growing at 70 per cent over the last year and more opportunities to strengthen the offering and realise further synergies, this deal is great news for our customers and the Loyalty business more broadly,” said Qantas Loyalty CEO Andrew Glance.

“Norm and Richard should be congratulated for building an incredibly successful, Australian-born business, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be custodians of TripADeal moving forward.”

The news comes after Qantas unveiled a $120 million expansion of its frequent flyer program in April, which will make an extra 20 million seats available to book with points.

There will be four times as many ‘Classic Plus’ seats available compared to the existing 5 million ‘Classic Rewards’ seats, but they will often cost significantly more.

The move followed criticism that the system is challenging to use and points have effectively devalued over the years.

Under the new system, a Classic Reward economy seat between Sydney and London would cost 55,200 points plus a $251 payment, one-way.

This compares to a Classic Plus seat costing 65,800 points plus the same payment during off-peak times and 65,900 during peak times.

Classic Plus seats will also be released 353 days ahead of the travel date to all frequent flyers at the same time.

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