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Tech & Science Qantas, Virgin tighten loyalty points spending

06:10  07 april  2020
06:10  07 april  2020 Source:   smh.com.au

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Govt rules out nationalising Qantas , Virgin Australia. View All Virgin Australia Guides. You may have hundreds of thousands of Qantas Frequent Flyer points , or you may have just a handful, but To put it another way: you could spend almost the same number of Qantas Frequent Flyer points on

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Qantas and Virgin Australia are restricting how frequent flyers can use their loyalty points, amid concerns a "run" on points could be a drain on their cash reserves during an unprecedented shutdown of the aviation industry.

Virgin last week suspended the transfer of points from its Velocity loyalty scheme to partner Singapore Airline's KrisFlyer scheme and has also limited the purchase of retail gift cards using points to one per day.

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Earn Qantas Points on our huge range of accommodation options worldwide. Earn up to 13 points per spent at over 250 of your favourite stores at Qantas Shopping. Bonus Status Credits will not contribute towards any Platinum or Platinum One Bonus Rewards, Loyalty Bonuses, Lifetime status

A note on Virgin's website says the points transfer suspension is "temporary" and that it looks forward to "providing you with this program feature once flight schedules return to normal", while the gift card limit was "due to high demand".

Meanwhile, Qantas has limited purchases through its loyalty store to two items of each product every day in response to "high retail demand".

The airline has told members the limit was to "ensure the continued availability of products to as many members as possible".

Both airlines are desperately trying to cut costs while most of their planes remain grounded due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Together they have stood down around 28,000 workers.

Market analysts have highlighted how loyalty members rushing to use their points could be a drain on the airlines' cash flow, which have virtually no new revenue coming in.

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Qantas Frequent Flyer is, fairly obviously, the biggest travel loyalty program in Australia, with somewhere between 25% and 50% of the Australian population as members, and the most common way in which we engage in earning frequent flyer points . This is the full list of Point Hacks guides

Qantas features its flagship First Class product to its Asian stopover focus city of Singapore on the way from Sydney and Melbourne to London. Here is a comprehensive list of all of our Best Uses of Points guides. There may be some overlap but each guide has Loyalty programs: Qantas Frequent Flyer.

The issue is particularly important for Virgin, which analysts have estimated will use up its remaining liquidity in three to six months.

Qantas is expected to be able to last closer to a year.

Virgin has asked for a $1.4 billion government loan and is also seeking to recapitalise its business to ensure it can make it through the pandemic.

Credit Suisse analyst Paul Butler said in a research last month that there was a risk that loyalty members redeeming points at a higher level than normal could "significantly reduce Virgin's unearned revenue related to loyalty points and be a drag on cash flow".

A Virgin spokeswoman said that with travel restrictions in place, members had shifted their points spending towards goods, gift cards, wine, electronics and merchandise.

"This demonstrates the benefits of a diversified rewards program which enables members to continue to earn and redeem points across a range of categories," she said.

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Earning Qantas Points from credit card spend is one of the key ways that many Qantas Frequent Flyer members earn their points . If you happen to put a lot of your day-to-day spend on any of American Express, Visa or MasterCard, there are some high points earning options out there.

Given airfare and hotel spend are fairly likely to be larger transactions than average, gaining extra points for them can be lucrative, and there are a few credit cards on the market that will offer you bonus Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer Points for spending specifically with Virgin – outlined below.

A Qantas spokeswoman said there had not been a significant increase in points redemption, with most members continuing to save up their points "over long periods of time to take a big dream trip".

However like most retailers, it was seeing people buy more gadgets online, she said.

a propeller plane sitting on top of a runway: Corona Virus. COVID 19 . Qantas and Jetstar planes parked at Avalon Airport after many have been grounded due the Corona Virus affect on the travel industry.  Photo by Jason South. 27th March 2020 © Jason South Corona Virus. COVID 19 . Qantas and Jetstar planes parked at Avalon Airport after many have been grounded due the Corona Virus affect on the travel industry. Photo by Jason South. 27th March 2020

Airlines earn revenue when they sell loyalty points to credit card providers or retailers, with the cash sitting on their accounts as "unearned revenue" until members use their points to either book flights or trade them in for products.

Qantas had $2.4 billion in unredeemed frequent flyer revenue in its accounts at the end of last financial year, according to its annual report, while Virgin had $497 million liability for unredeemed loyalty revenue.

Qantas' loyalty business is the group's second most profitable division, behind only its domestic airline operations, earning $374 million last financial year.

Virgin's Velocity program made $122 million last year while the airline group itself ran at a $315 million loss. Virgin paid $700 million last year to take back full ownership of the program after selling a 35 per cent stake to private equity firm Affinity Partners for $336 million in 2014.

Government talking with Qantas and Virgin Australia about subsidising coronavirus-hit city flights .
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says he is talking with the major airlines about ensuring flights between the capital cities keep operating during the coronavirus pandemic.Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack told the ABC he spent the weekend speaking with the bosses of both airlines, in the wake of Virgin Australia's decision to suspend all domestic flights except a daily return service between Sydney and Melbourne.

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