Qantas and Emirates today announced a much-awaited fundamental shift in Qantas’ long-haul strategy in an attempt to return Qantas long-haul to profitability and consumer relevance. Rather than re-hash all of the details of the announcement here, which wouldn’t add anything new, I’d encourage you to read the following articles and analysis for yourselves…
- Qantas & Emirates plan main website – http://www.qantasandemirates.com/
- An FAQ [PDF] from the main announcement website
- Press releases – ‘Qantas and IAG terminate joint business’ and ‘Qantas, Emirates announce global aviation partnership’, along with the full text of Alan Joyce’s speech
- CAPA’s excellent, detailed analysis of the changes
- AusBT’s summary coverage
As I’ve said several times over the past few months, Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme was, in my opinion and experience, becoming increasingly irrelevant to the savvy Frequent Flyer. Demand for frequent flyer seats increasingly outstripped supply, given a glut of points in the market, and despite the relatively poor value of these seats in comparison to Qantas’ competitors such as Singapore Airlines Krisflyer and Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program. From a points earn and redemption perspective, it’s hard to ascertain if this is good news for the loyal Qantas member yet, as the devil will in the implementation detail of how points earning and redemption is calculated across the Emirates network.
I do remain an optimist given the following quotes by Alan Joyce from his speech -
In our discussions (Qantas and Emirates) came up with a guiding principle for this partnership: Treat each other’s customers as your own. Our two airlines will, of course, retain their distinct style and identity, but we will match key customer benefits. Where there is a difference in customer service, we’ve agreed to make the higher benefit our standard.
Together we will offer the world’s best loyalty proposition for Australian flyers. The biggest benefit, of course, will be the vastly expanded opportunities for Qantas Frequent Flyers to earn and redeem their points. Qantas and Emirates will provide reciprocal access to tier status benefits which includes end-to-end recognition of customers, lounge access, priority check-in and boarding and more.
Certainly it looks positive for Qantas Frequent Flyers with any kind of status, but especially Gold or Platinum – and even Qantas Club members – with key reciprocal benefits such as premium check-in and lounge access being confirmed. If this is truly mirrored in the points earning and redemption on offer once the new arrangement goes into effect, it will yield far more numerous and appealing options to travel using your Qantas points by taking advantage of the Emirates network, without losing any of the oneworld network benefits, for Qantas Frequent Flyers of any status level.
Interesting times ahead.