ACCC finalises investigation of Qantas frequent flyer program

21 June 2004

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has concluded its investigation of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.

"This follows Qantas' agreement to firm up the implementation of future changes to the scheme which may increase access to Award flights, and provide more transparency and certainty of travel for Frequent Flyers", ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today.

"Wide-ranging discussions have been held with Qantas about the program following consumer complaints to the ACCC that there was an inadequate disclosure of terms and conditions relating to the restrictions placed on Award seat availability. Following an extensive investigation of these allegations the ACCC has found insufficient evidence to establish a breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

"Qantas has indicated it has addressed these concerns by reviewing and improving its disclosure about the availability of Frequent Flyer seats being limited. This includes the recent introduction of an online search function, allowing members to more readily determine preferred Award seat availability.

"Qantas has indicated its actions have been directed at making available more Award seats for Frequent Flyers and improving transparency about the operation of the program. Complaints received by the ACCC have been from consumers unable to redeem their points for Award flights to a destination of their choice on dates and at times of their reasonable choosing, who may not have been aware that availability of Award seating is limited".

The ACCC does not comment upon the value of loyalty programs, or the rewards offered under these schemes. However, the ACCC is concerned to ensure loyalty schemes are operated transparently so consumers are not mislead as to the benefits to which they are entitled and any limitations on those benefits. 

Release number: 
MR 098/04
Media enquiries: 
Mr Graeme Samuel - 0408 335 555
Mr John Martin - (02) 6243 1130
Ms Lin Enright - (02) 6243 1108