Many people who travel love using their hard earned points on flight award redemptions. With so many ways to earn points these days, frequent flyers often have a large balance banked, all of which is a liability for the airlines.

Award availability can be quite restricted, especially during busy periods of the year. This makes getting seats a frustrating experience, with people having to have deep knowledge of when airlines release new seats in order to snag the ones they want.

All Seats For Award Redemptions

Australia’s Qantas has just announced some major changes to their frequent flyer programme. They have introduced what they call “Classic Plus” awards, which essentially allows someone to redeem their points on any flight for sale at 1.5c per point.

Historically the airline offered classic awards – what you see at all airlines, points for award redemptions usually based on the flight distance – and points plus pay. The latter has been gaining traction around the world and is especially helpful for those with small balances, to use their miles to reduce the cost of flights.

Being able to make award redemptions on every seat based on commercial availability could well be a game changer. This allows people with large enough balances to book the exact flights they want to take. No staying up until midnight waiting for award seats to be released.

The airline, on the other hand, gets to reduce their points liability. Probably a good thing for the accountants! Mainly this is a benefit to the customer though, removing a long standing bugbear when it comes to using points.

Overall Thoughts

Should more airlines follow the Australian airline’s example, it will really make things a lot simpler. Yes, you need to use more points, but for many people this is really not much of an issue. The convenience of booking the flights you want for travel at dates that suit you is a good thing.

I’ve often booked trips using points based solely on the availability of award redemptions. That means fun things like flying out on a Tuesday and returning the following Tuesday, as they were the only days seats were still free. Now it mean I can leave on a Friday night and back Sunday night without having to book 11 months in advance. Well, it would mean that, if I was a Qantas Frequent Flyer!

Perhaps this will start a trend in the industry. I am sure the other airlines will be watching this closely. What do you think airlines should do? Is this something that you would like to see? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Qantas Premium Economy by Anonymous427 via Wikimedia Commons.