Qantas has announced an overhaul of its Frequent Flyers loyalty programme that will see members pay less fees for international reward flights and have access to more seats.

Representing a AUD$25 million investment, Qantas says the changes will improve how members are recognised and rewarded, as well as how they earn and redeem points.

The initiatives, due to be rolled out over the next 12 months, include cutting carrier charges by up to 50 per cent on international bookings. Qantas claims this can save members an average $200 per return journey.

In addition, the airline will add more than 1 million extra reward seats annually on both its own flights and with partner carriers for flights to destinations such as London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Singapore.

The number of points required for reward seats on both domestic and international flights will change, including up to a 10 per cent reduction in the number of points needed for international economy Classic Reward seats.

However, the number of points needed for upgrades and Classic Reward seats in premium cabins will be increased “to better reflect the value” of the product, according to Qantas.

A new tiered Points Club programme will offer better rewards for members who earn most of their points through on-the-ground transactions, while a Lifetime Platinum status will be introduced to recognise “the most loyal flyers”.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the loyalty updates are designed to strengthen the airline’s Frequent Flyer programme, adding: “The Qantas Frequent Flyer programme has always been about rewarding customers for the loyalty. These changes are about making it easier for members to access those rewards and help to keep them highly engaged, which in turn is good news for our business as a whole.”

Commenting on the increase in the points required for business class seats, Joyce said “it is the first increase in 15 years and the product has improved a lot in that time”.

Olivia Wirth, CEO of Qantas Loyalty, added: “There’s a lot about the Qantas Frequent Flyer programme that our members tell us they love but there are also areas of the programme that have increasingly come under pressure as a result of rapid expansion. What we’re announcing today is all about investing more into the heart of our programme – the member experience.”

A full breakdown of the programme changes, including before-and-after pricing and new reward seat options on partner airlines, is available at frequentflyer.qantas.com

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