A business that used to offers its customers Qantas Business Rewards points has slammed the loyalty program for small-to-medium businesses. It says Qantas Business Rewards has made “drastic” changes to its business model which now encourages “churn-and-burn and large upfront payments” over long-term loyalty.
Two years ago, Switch Telecom launched a partnership with Qantas Business Rewards. Switch customers were offered 5 Qantas points per $1 spent on eligible products. There were also special promotions where generous amounts of bonus points were offered to new customers that signed up for eligible plans.
Initially, Switch Telecom says that Qantas Business Rewards was the “perfect fit”, offering a compelling loyalty proposition for customers and values that aligned with the business itself. But that relationship soured earlier this year.
None of the Qantas staff that Switch initially dealt with still works for the airline. And the conditions presented to Switch when it was time to renew its contract this year were totally different to those just two years ago.
There is now a message about the end of the partnership on the Switch Telecom website, which reads:
Over the last 24 months, we were afforded the privilege of a partnership with QANTAS, a truly iconic Australian brand.
Upon an in-depth reflection of the path Switch Telecom is on – and wants to continue to pursue – we realised in early 2020 that our interests don’t align with Qantas Business Rewards’ (QBR) strategy anymore. We have therefore decided to terminate the partnership and only do what we do best…
We are thankful to QANTAS for the incredible experience, and will hopefully continue to enjoy their superior service for many years to come.
In a longer email sent to customers in late June, Switch Telecom expanded on the reasons for terminating its Qantas partnership. Here’s an extract of the email which was posted by kyanar on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum:
When we first initiated discussions with QANTAS to join their Business Rewards (QBR) program, it was a perfect fit: Their goals and values really lined up with what we at Switch Telecom aim to provide to our customers. There was a clear focus on a long-term relationship, encouraging customer loyalty by issuing generous amounts of points for ongoing spend.
Unfortunately, as our initial contract term was nearing completion and we started discussions to extend the partnership, it became apparent that the focus had changed. Whether this was due to the current economic circumstances or other reasons we’re unaware of, we do not know – but none of the people we had started this mutually beneficial relationship with are still working at QANTAS, and the conditions we were presented in order to continue the partnership looked drastically different than what we initially signed up for, encouraging the (sadly) telco-typical model of churn-and-burn and large upfront payments.
Switch subsequently terminated its partnership with Qantas Business Rewards on 30 June 2020. At the time of writing, the Qantas website had not been updated and continues to advertise opportunities to earn points with Switch Telecom with no mention of an end date.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Qantas Loyalty has been one of the airline’s only divisions to continue to make a profit. If Qantas would like to keep it this way, it seems the airline may need to work a little harder to keep some of the third parties that buy its points happy.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Switch Telecom dumps QBR