Qantas Loyalty: In it for the long term?

Qantas Loyalty: In it for the long term?With 28,000 status credits under their belt, Ruth Bayley has earned more than double the status credits needed to achieve lifetime Gold status with Qantas Frequent Flyer. This member has been a Platinum frequent flyer with Qantas for 13 years and a top-tier Platinum One customer for 3 years. But, due to unfortunate circumstances, this member has had to fly less this year and will drop back to Gold status for the first time in 15 years.

Given the tremendous loyalty shown to Qantas by Ruth Bayley over a very long period of time, some might expect the airline to show a little compassion. But this has not been the case.

I’ve had to cancel 2 trips that would have retained status due to my father’s illness and ultimately his death. Similar thing happened to my husband last year (although he just flew less) after a slightly shorter run of Platinum. People tell me I may be comped or possibly offered a status challenge, but hubby was not.

I feel rather disrespected. I’ve shown a lot of loyalty to this airline (more than double the status credits required to achieve LTG) for no further recognition. Plus my hubby’s similar long term loyalty. To Qantas, loyalty appears to be annualised and transactional only. Bit of a mistake on their part as we are about to become semi-retirees, spending the kids’ inheritance on travel!

This raises a few interesting points. Firstly, does Qantas actually care about long-term customer loyalty? The fact they even offer lifetime Silver and lifetime Gold status would indicate that they do. But not everyone is convinced…

You are only a valued customer as far as your next revenue flight. Look on the bright side: the sooner you break the bonds of Qantas ‘loyalty’, the sooner you’ll start enjoying the freedom of a better choice of airline offerings and cheaper fares.

There have been numerous discussions on AFF in the past about the possibility of introducing lifetime Qantas Platinum status. This would better reward long-term Qantas loyalty and provide an incentive for frequent flyers to continue flying Qantas after reaching lifetime Gold. But some believe the current system works exactly as it was designed…

I think however your statement that LTG is not enough to keep you rusted onto Qantas is why they don’t have [Lifetime Platinum]. The continual attraction of Platinum has kept you loyal for the last few years

The second issue is this: Given the circumstances, should Qantas offer to renew Ruth Bayley‘s Platinum status for another year as a gesture of goodwill?

Qantas used to offer complimentary status renewal to customers that fell a little short of the required status credits but had been loyal over several years prior. But this doesn’t seem to happen anymore. Recently, Qantas has instead been offering members at risk of losing their status the option to “purchase” a status renewal using frequent flyer points. As recently as August last year, the asking price was 120,000 Qantas points to renew Platinum status (in lieu of the usual requalification criteria). It is not clear if this is still being routinely offered, as it seemed to annoy quite a number of loyal Qantas customers.

Qantas does offer a “parental pause” for new parents that take a break from flying after giving birth. But this is specifically only offered to new parents and the benefit is not extended to frequent flyers that face a temporary slump in travel for other reasons, such as undergoing surgery or a death in the family.

Some members argue that a little more leniency and compassion should be shown to loyal customers. But others believe that Qantas is well within their rights not to grant any exceptions to members that don’t meet the published status retention criteria.

Not sure how enforcing some fairly well known and detailed rules can make you feel disrespected.

Join the lively discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Rewarding Long Term Frequent Flyer Loyalty

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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]