Qantas Tries to Lure Opponent’s Frequent Flyers With Offer

Qantas Airways Ltd. launched an early attack on the reborn Virgin Australia, days after Bain Capital assumed ownership, with an offer to lure members of its frequent-flyer program.

Australia’s national carrier said Thursday it’s offering top-tier members of other airline loyalty plans the chance to fast-track their status when they switch to Qantas. The airline said it’s the first time it has made such a move.

U.S. private-equity firm Bain took control of Virgin on Nov. 17 in a A$3.5 billion ($2.6 billion) deal to take the collapsed airline out of administration. Frequent-flyer programs have emerged as key cash-generating assets at airlines hammered by the pandemic.

The offer from Qantas gives a glimpse of the potential battle to come among airlines worldwide over frequent flyers. Some loyalty members are up for grabs because carriers are emerging from the crisis at different paces, with networks and schedules that differ from the pre-coronavirus era.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Australia didn’t immediately have a comment. Qantas said eligible members of other programs can fast-track their status at Qantas by earning 100 credits in three months to qualify for so-called gold tier.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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