Qantas has announced major improvements to its Frequent Flyer program, with a host of new features that Australian-based members can unlock with a new chip-enabled card.
The next generation Qantas Frequent Flyer member card will have in-built prepaid functionality, called Qantas Cash™, which will enable members to transfer money onto the card and use it for shopping at 35 million locations where MasterCard is accepted. Members will also have the opportunity to earn points on eligible transactions.
Doubling as a travel card, members will be able to withdraw cash and foreign currency from over 2.1 million ATMs in Australia and overseas, in addition to existing functions of the current Frequent Flyer card, such as faster, smarter check-in at airports and serving as a boarding pass.
The new cards will be available to Australian-based members from the third quarter of 2013.
Qantas Loyalty CEO Lesley Grant said the Qantas Cash™ feature would make the new generation card indispensable for many people.
“There are more than nine million Qantas Frequent Flyer members and we are investing in making their membership card even more valuable,” said Ms Grant.
“The Qantas Cash feature will tap into the rapidly expanding area of electronic payments as people shift from cash to cards, and let members earn points from these transactions.”
“This new generation card will open the door to a lot of other uses through smart chip technology and the ability to integrate it with mobiles, meaning the sky really is the limit,” said Ms Grant.
Key features of the card will be:
– Single card for multiple purposes: loyalty membership, airline check-in and boarding, everyday purchases, travel money card.
– Load up to nine different currencies on the card, lock in exchange rates, and use it for in-store transactions when travelling overseas, to withdraw foreign currency from ATMs internationally or to purchase online.
– Earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points for making eligible purchases on the card.
– The ability for Bronze Frequent Flyers to use their card to check-in at airports and as their boarding pass (currently only available to Silver, Gold and Platinum card holders).
– Several layers of security, including chip, PIN and signature to authorise transactions and ongoing fraud protection provided by MasterCard’s Zero Liability.
Ms Grant said the new features announced today represented one of the biggest leaps in innovation for the Qantas Frequent Flyer program since it started in 1987.
“Frequent Flyer is one of the core strengths of the Qantas Group portfolio, and it has succeeded because its members are passionately involved in the program,” she said.
“It’s not just another card in your wallet – it is a passport to a family holiday, or an upgrade to Business Class or a new appliance.”
“By diversifying the uses of the card and creating a new way to earn Frequent Flyer points, we are increasing engagement levels of our members and the value of the program to our partners,” added Ms Grant.
Qantas will join with MasterCard and other financial service providers that will deliver the electronic payment function and hold funds loaded on the card.
MasterCard Australasia Division President, Eddie Grobler, said the new multi-purpose card announcement is a game changer.
“We’re proud to partner with Qantas and bring our expertise in payment technology to drive an Australian-first. The new card combines everyday spend and travel, which allows users to speed through the airport check-in the same way they do when buying their groceries with PayPass technology,” said Mr Grobler.
“We are witnessing a growing trend in Australia, with consumers actively moving away from using cash in favour of electronic payments and card products.”
“The new generation Frequent Flyer card featuring Qantas Cash directly appeals to those who prefer the convenience and security of a payment card over handling cash,” Mr Grobler added.
A detailed Product Disclosure Statement will be made available closer to the time of launch.