WANT MAXIMUM POINTS? SPEND, DON'T FLY
Qantas recently announced that over the past 12 months, one member of its frequent flyer scheme earned more than 30 million Qantas Points. That's equal to 100 round the world trips in business class. But those points were earned not from flying but from spending. According to Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth: "The top 1000 points balances are held by members who have maximised their points earn on everyday spend with our partners like Woolworths and Red Energy or by using Qantas Points-earning credit cards."
While frequent flyer schemes were originally designed to ensure customer loyalty, they've become an additional revenue stream for airlines that sell their frequent flyer points to insurers, supermarkets, hotels, car-hire operations, banks and other financial institutions who use those points to reward customers. Qantas now has more than 200 partners who buy its points, and it's highly lucrative. The airline earned close to $400 million from its frequent flyer program in the year to June 30, 2018.
While there are now literally thousands of ways to boost your points account – Qantas members earned more than 120 billion points last year alone – it's getting harder to use those points for air travel. Across the board airlines have been tightening the conditions under which they will allow members of their frequent flyer schemes to pay for flights using points. While the number of frequent flyers with million-point accounts continues to bloom, the supply of seats available to them lags behind.