Qantas’ loyalty division pushes back earnings growth target by two years

FILE PHOTO: Qantas planes are seen at Kingsford Smith International Airport, following the coronavirus outbreak, in Sydney, Australia

Qantas Airways Ltd has pushed back the earnings growth target for its loyalty division by two years due to the pandemic’s impact on the business, the head of its frequent flyer business said on Wednesday.

The airline now expects to achieve its target of A$500 million ($372 million) to A$600 million of annual underlying earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) in the financial year ending June 30, 2024, Qantas Loyalty Chief Executive Olivia Wirth told a CAPA Centre for Aviation event.

Qantas Loyalty reported a 9.3% fall in underlying EBIT to A$341 million in the financial year ended June 30, making it the largest positive divisional contributor to Qantas’ earnings at a time when flying demand plunged.

It has been creating new ways for members to earn points from financial services companies and retail partners, which pay the airline to offer points to their customers. Qantas’ frequent flyer programme has 13.4 million members.

“The focus in all of this has been to rethink the way we engage our members,” Wirth said.

She said two-thirds of Qantas frequent flyer points were earned on the ground, which includes credit card spending.

Wirth said customers had been redeeming points for flights at record rates recently as the state of Queensland reopened its borders, though many also said they were hoarding points for future international trips.

Qantas last month said it would offer top-tier members of rival frequent flyer programmes a fast-track to higher status as its main domestic rival, Virgin Australia, pursues a less premium strategy under its new owner.

The move could help boost Qantas’ market share in lucrative corporate and high-end leisure travel.

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