Qantas has reduced to 5000 the points needed to access mixed dollars and points frequent flyer redemptions.

Seems like a good idea, assuming the offers work for you at the time.

But is it also part of a plan to kill off traditional FFP ‘freebies’?

It does give members of the Qantas program another reason to ask the broader question, is this scheme, or any other FFP program, really worth it?

The Qantas program IS good, way better in my experience than most of the schemes described for European or US carriers. But aren’t the numbers starting to look unattractive for those who primarily accumulate points based on card spends, in that a competitive fare to Europe or the US can often be purchased for several thousand dollars or less, while its reward equivalent might involve card paid purchases of $100-200K ?

And if you gain your points mainly by flying, how much do you lose by not shopping around and experiencing other carriers, rather than locking yourself into one carrier, whether it be Qantas, Singapore Airlines or the Virgin Group?

Loyalty schemes are the natural enemy of free choice, and of shopping for the lowest price.

In framing more options to its frequent flyers to part-purchase rather than receive a ‘free’ reward Qantas is changing the language and process of its FFP from being one that dispenses ‘freebies’ to one that becomes another ‘buying opportunity’.

Do you want to be a loyal customer who receives free flights and favours from an airline that values your support, or do you want to be qualified by your points tally to spend even more money on the carrier?

This could be part of a process of ending FFP programs as we currently know them.