CEO Blog

15 June 2020

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in Archives

The relationship between the joint venture partners Emirates and Qantas might not always have been as smooth as one could have expected. Competition between both airlines remains fierce – and even more so the fight for customer ownership in the loyalty programs. When Qantas changed the award levels in its Frequent Flyer last year (decrease in Economy Class, increase in Business Class), Skywards was quick to mirror the decrease in its own program for award flights on Qantas – but maintained the (significantly) lower award levels for travel in Business Class, making the program the more rewarding option for Qantas redemption flights than Qantas’ own program. Now Emirates took a lead by taking out any fuel surcharges on award flights, increasing dramatically the value since surcharges were previously extremely high. The change does not only apply to Skywards members, but also to members of any partner programs – such as Qantas – redeeming their points on Emirates. Qantas has now responded by the announcement to move Emirates as of 01 September from the cheaper Qantas award table to the more expensive partner award table in its program. This equals an increase in the mileage price of some 20% in Economy Class and some 10% in Business Class. Such unfriendly moves should also be expected in other JVs as airlines will have to strenghten efforts to fill their own planes first before thinking of any partners in the current environment.