If you’ve been reading Point Hacks for a while, you’ll be very familiar with Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer. But Australia now has a third domestic airline frequent flyer program. That’s Rex Flyer – the new loyalty program of Rex Airlines.

Much as with Qantas and Velocity, Rex Flyer members can earn points on flights. And very shortly, there’ll be status benefits to enjoy with Rex as well – along with the ability to redeem points on Rex.

By chance, I need to book a Rex flight with just five hours’ notice due to the sudden cancellation of my original booking on a competing airline. This gives me the perfect excuse to join the airline’s frequent flyer program and take it for a spin.

What my Rex experience is like

I’m frantically booking my unexpected Rex flight in the middle of the night to depart in just a few short hours. But first, I take a moment to join the airline’s frequent flyer program. It’s free to sign up, and you get 5,000 points just for joining. These points credit instantly – we’re off to a good start.

I enter my frequent flyer number when booking the ticket – all going smoothly so far. I have the option of using a check-in kiosk to print my baggage tag, but I opt for old-fashioned service. The queue for the counter has only one person in front of me. My bag is quickly tagged, my boarding pass is in hand, and I’m off to security.

Once on board Rex, my $367 Flex fare qualifies me for free ‘up front’ seating. I’m able to grab an aisle seat in row 4, which even comes with extra legroom. We’re still going well. I land in Sydney, and my bag makes it, too.

Rex Boeing 737 Economy Class legroom
I have a seat on a plane that runs on-time, and with extra legroom to boot. Rex wins the day.

Ultimately, airlines can have fancy frequent flyer programs and lounges. But when I fly, actually getting to my destination is the most important thing. On this front, Rex delivers today – and wins some serious goodwill at a time when one of its major competitors completely drops the ball.

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Earning frequent flyer points on Rex

Having status elsewhere is certainly a reason I’ve not prioritised flying Rex in the past. But another big reason was the lack of a frequent flyer program. I fly a lot, and I want to be recognised for all that spend – and for my loyalty. Fast-forward to today, though, and Rex’s frequent flyer program is beginning to take off.

It’s fair to point out Rex doesn’t currently have any credit card points-earning arrangements. Nor does it have any airline loyalty partners. There is an ‘interline’ partnership with Delta, but it’s mainly about being able to book Delta and Rex on a single ticket. But you can now earn points on Rex flights.

On this jaunt with Rex, I pull off something of a hat trick. Here’s my total haul, just from signing up and taking my first flight.

  • 5,000 points, just for signing up to Rex Flyer. These land in my account instantly.
  • 2,513 points, as the Flex fare I’ve booked earns seven points per dollar spent. I see this is calculated on the base fare price of the ticket ($359), but not the booking and payment surcharges (the reason my total paid is $367).
  • Another 2,513 points, as Rex is offering double points on all flights taken until 2 January 2024.
Frequent flyer points earned with Rex
Points from my flight aren’t there immediately upon landing, but they arrive when I check again the next day.

All up, I blag 10,026 points. And all I’ve done so far is join the program and take one 90-minute flight. I’m also one-fifth of the way to earning elite status. I’m quite happy about that.

Rex Flyer membership page
If your travels with Rex also involve buying last minute Flex fares, you’ll be similarly rewarded.

How can I spend points with Regional Express?

It’s fair to acknowledge that Rex is still getting part of its frequent flyer program all setup. I get the sense that Rex decided it may as well let people start earning points now, even if spending them happens a little later once the IT setup is in place.

In fact, parts of Rex’s website list ‘mid-November’ as the start date for points redemptions. It’s almost December, and they’re not yet online. But they’re coming, and the rates are already published.

Depending on demand, this same Brisbane-Sydney hop would cost either 7,400 or 9,600 points to book as a reward seat. There’s also the option of spending 29,900 points to secure any Economy seat on the plane. But that’s more akin to an ‘any seat’ reward.

Rex points will also be redeemable for flight upgrades. And if I find myself on a Flex fare again on the same route, just 4,300 points could land me that bump-up. Alternatively, it’s 8,700 points to upgrade from a Saver fare or 13,000 from a Promo ticket. You’ll also be able to book Business Class as an outright award. That’s either 17,400 or 22,600 points for a reward seat or 32,400 points to book any available seat.

The number of points needed varies between specific routes – not just by distance, as with Qantas and Velocity. You can check the Rex website for the full rundown. But by signing up to Rex Flyer and taking just one flight, I already have enough points to book a reward seat in the same cabin on the same route. In other words, by buying one flight, I can actually take two.

No doubt, there’ll be modest amounts to pay for the taxes, fees and charges when booking a reward seat. But not only did Rex get me to where I need to be – and on time – but I’m now motivated to fly with Rex again. Not just to use the points I’ve accrued but to continue earning more. And that’s exactly what rewards programs are designed to do – bring more revenue through the door.

Summing up

Rex clearly isn’t for everyone. The airline doesn’t currently have a huge network of lounges, frequent flyer partners or co-brand credit cards. The Rex Flyer status benefits also aren’t yet in effect. But I tell you what. When Rex gets me to my destination – and to my gala event – when its competitor fails to deliver, that’s already a winner. And when you add points into the equation, things look even better.

On a day when my original airline’s flight operations were simply unacceptable, Rex was there to save the day. Lounge or no lounge, when you’re flying for an event, getting there on time matters more than anything else. And with a much smaller number of flights to run each day, Rex seems to do a better job at keeping things running to schedule. Mental note for next time.

Here’s a tip to keep in your pocket. Getting lounge access with Rex doesn’t even require a Business Class ticket or frequent flyer status. A simple Priority Pass card gets you into the airline’s lounges across Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. That’s even possible if you’re flying on another airline. So, if you just want to dip your toes into Rex’s waters, it’s a great place to start. Some credit cards and charge cards also include complimentary Priority Pass membership, such as the Amex Platinum Card.

The lounges are basic, but I find they’re usually a good place for getting work done with refreshments, power and Wi-Fi. On board, you even get a complimentary snack on board in Economy. And for that matter, every Rex fare includes checked luggage.

The only thing I don’t like about Rex is its hefty booking surcharges. To book through the website and pay with Mastercard or Visa costs an extra 2.365% in total (GST included). To book online and pay by Amex costs a sizeable 4.697% in total (again including GST). Rex’s competitors charge just a fraction of that. But today, Rex still wins the day.

Competition surely is a wonderful thing for travellers. And if Australia’s other major airlines don’t up their game, well, their loss is already becoming Rex’s gain.

Also read: Rex Boeing 737 Business Class review (Brisbane – Melbourne)

Feature image courtesy of Rex. Other photos and screenshots taken by Chris Chamberlin, who travelled Rex at his own expense.

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Rex Flyer road test: my experience with Australia’s newest loyalty program was last modified: November 30th, 2023 by Chris Chamberlin