Qantas introduces 'online mall' to frequent flyer program

Qantas Airways has launched a new website and online mall for its frequent flyer program as part of an effort to boost engagement with customers and revenue from its loyalty partners.

Qantas Loyalty's new website Qantas Points will serve as a hub for its frequent flyer program, which now has 10 million members. It will also allow members to earn points from a mix of retail partners including Apple, eBay, David Jones, Neiman Marcus, The Iconic and Selfridges.

Qantas will receive revenue from the retail partners, which buy points from the loyalty program to help attract business to their websites. David Jones and Neiman Marcus are offering five points for each $1 spent on items, but Apple and eBay are offering two points for every $1.

The loyalty division is forecast to be the airline's highest earner when its full-year results are released on August 28. CIMB expects the business to report operating earnings before interest and tax of $295 million, compared with a forecast total pre-tax loss of $770 million for Qantas.

Qantas has been examining the partial sale or de-merger of its frequent flyer program as part of a structural review, and an update to the market is expected alongside the full-year results release. Analysts value the loyalty program at more than $2 billion.

Qantas Loyalty chief executive Lesley Grant said the frequent flyer program continued to look at ways to "stay ahead of the game" and increase its engagement with members.

"The online mall, we know is going to be popular with our member base," she said on Wednesday. "We think it is going to be a very exciting customer proposition."

Over the last year, Qantas has also launched its Qantas Cash prepaid travel card, which has been activated by 300,000 members and its Aquire program for small and medium enterprises which has signed up more than 45,000 businesses to date. Last week, the airline launched a new Qantas Golf Club and received more than 30,000 pre-registrations on the first day.

Ms Grant said the airline hoped its new Qantas Points website would engage more deeply with loyalty program members that were not particularly frequent flyers.

"We have some members in the program who do very little flying or don't fly at all," she said.

The most popular options for points redemptions remain international flights and upgrades, but Ms Grant said some members used options like the Qantas Store and its epiQure wine program to redeem points as well.

Virgin Australia Holdings offers the Velocity frequent flyer program to rival its Qantas counterpart. To date, Velocity has signed up more than 4.2 million members, but it does not report its results separately from the airline like Qantas Loyalty.

Velocity has its own website and an eStore launched in 2008 offering points-earning opportunities from retailers including eBay, Apple, Net-A-Porter, The Iconic and Selfridges. 

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