Abandoning Qantas LoyaltyMany Australian frequent flyers are happily loyal Qantas customers. But is there anything to be gained by abandoning Qantas loyalty and switching to another airline?

This week a happy Qantas customer would like to know why frequent flyers would make the switch away from the flying kangaroo. This Platinum member enjoys the Qantas First Class lounges, likes the ability to upgrade with Qantas points and appreciates the Oneworld benefits that come with Qantas status.

Many other AFF members are equally happy with the Qantas service. Most agree that Qantas offers a superior service on Australian domestic flights, with more lounges, routes and better in-flight meals than its competitors. If you’re based in Australia, it’s also much easier to earn Qantas points than it is to earn points with overseas airlines. Others enjoy the Australian service and appreciate Qantas’ excellent safety record.

But there are many reasons that some frequent flyers have abandoned their loyalty to Qantas – especially for international travel where there are many choices. One reason is the superior schedules of other airlines. For example, Singapore Airlines flies five times per day from Singapore to Sydney, and Cathay Pacific flies 4x daily from Sydney to Hong Kong.

Being able to fly out of AU at 7am, 11am, 2pm, 10pm or other variation to EU is increasingly useful to me depending on the required arrival time. QF have on flight a day out of SYD, CX have 4 times as many with connections all over EU. My next flight will be a 10pm option, arriving in London in the late afternoon, and only a few hours to fill in until hitting the sack.

For others, it simply comes down to other airlines having a better product at a lower price. Many frequent flyers feel that Qantas’ current Boeing 747 and A380 Business Class is outdated and overpriced. (Qantas will refurbish its A380s from next year.) Meanwhile, some members point to ongoing devaluations of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program as reasons for leaving.

One member speculates that many who travel frequently with Qantas on domestic flights feel locked into using the airline when flying overseas. As they have status with Qantas, they don’t consider other airlines.

I’ve often been stumped at the level of QFA loyalty here, but quickly came to the realisation it was mostly due to people gaining status from flying domestically, then feel ‘locked in’ flying QFA internationally (a big win for QFA – QFF actually works for them). While I can concur that QFA is king domestically, there are so many better options flying internationally.

Some flyers keep their Qantas loyalty as they are working towards lifetime Silver or Gold status. But with no Qantas lifetime Platinum tier to aim for, many start looking elsewhere after reaching lifetime Gold status.

I am shying away from QF at the moment as have LTG and thus there is no SC benefit anymore, but that again is a personal situation thing. I think many jump ship in a blazing and outspoken way when they get peeved at something, but I suspect many drift back quietly once they realize all airlines have imperfections (yes, I do not like the Qantas website, but it is stellar compared to many)

Often, frequent flyers decide to switch airlines after a bad experience as they think the grass will be greener on the other side. Sometimes the grass really is greener. But every airline has its problems, and this is not always the case.

We’ll give the final word of this debate to Flying mermaid

We are now flying whatever we think is best for the route and don’t worry about sticking to any alliance. We only fly F or J which means we get lounges anyway even with no status (although we have LTG). I still like Qantas staff, but it is stupid to pay for an inferior product…..

Are you a loyal Qantas customer? Why or why not? Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: What takes people from Qantas?

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]