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QANTAS frequent flyer plan

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Qantas is working on an overhaul of its frequent flyer upgrades scheme, with benefits from the lowliest bronze member through to the stratospheric sphere of the Platinum One VIP level.

New technology to be introduced later this year will see Qantas Frequent Flyer members of any status level sent an SMS alert well before their flight advising that their upgrade has come through, rather than when they arrive at the airport to check in for their flight.

“At the moment you might be confirmed for an upgrade but unless you go online before the flight, you might not know until you get to the airport” says Stephanie Tully, Head of Airline Loyalty for Qantas.

“But customers shouldn’t have to do that. We want to be proactive in letting customers know, so we're going to let everyone from Bronze to Platinum One know by SMS prior.”

“It means you can think about your baggage allowance, your time in the lounge and the whole experience, rather than just finding out at check-in after you’ve stood in the economy queue” Tully tells Australian Business Traveller.

Travellers with top-tier Platinum and Platinum One status will get the best deal of all. The new upgrades system will provide several days advance notice of upgrades and can also assign upgrades shortly before a flight departs if a seat becomes available due to ‘no-shows’ at the airport and missed inbound domestic connections.

Free upgrades still on offer...

However, Tully claims this will not be at the expense of free upgrades. “We still like to surprise and delight customers occasionally. There's no reduced focus on that, we still give them out.”

“Of course you have to be really careful how you manage that. You don't want to give an upgrade to someone who might otherwise buy a business class ticket, but we want to give our loyal customers a surprise occasionally.”

... but no lock-in for international upgrades

One thing that certainly won’t change will be the request-only status of international upgrade. Unlike some other airlines which let you lock in an upgrade on an overseas flight, Qantas will not be budging from its current system where confirmations are issued only close to the date of travel.

“You can (lock in an upgrade) domestically, from the point of booking the ticket” Tully says. “Internationally, it's harder, because they are obviously a less-available asset.”

As previously reported, Tully also confirmed to Australian Business Traveller the ‘unpublished’ and hence little-known benefit for Qantas Frequent Flyers with Platinum status to request that an unsold seat on certain flights be converted into a Classic Award seat which can be purchased using a relatively low number of frequent flyer points.

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