New look Qantas booking engine

As you will know from my earlier post here there have been rumblings around about changes to the Qantas booking engine and the possibility of ASA’s vanishing. Well The Frequent Flyer was privy yesterday to see first hand the changes that have happened overnight to the Qantas booking Engine. Part of the changes are good, but as always there is a catch for the savvy flyers.
So what’s new?
Well they are at the first stage of merging all the booking engines into a single page. So Stage 1 combines cash, Any Seat Awards and points plus Pay into one page. you can book Classic awards from the same start page by selecting the option. Sounds good so far. The aesthetics are a lot cleaner too and it is meant to work better on mobile devices and tablets. Searching for cities in the
When you see the search results, the Jetstar options are more clear. They state it’s Jetstar in bigger letters. I did ask about the ability to filter out these flights, but unfortunately there are no plans at this stage. This is a big bugbear as people often do not wish to fly Jetstar but book it by mistake. At least now it is clearer.
The next changes are when you see your flights, you can now click the ASA check box to display the flights in point value. Also at the later stages of booking you can also use the Points Plus Pay option.
Also gone are the different zones when booking from overseas. Now it can all be done on the one site without having to change countries.
To book a Classic Award you select the option at the start of the booking process and available seats are shown. The next phase will roll this into the main booking engine too.
So where’s the catch?
The changes to the booking engine sound great so far, but what is the downside? It’s the removal of certain Any seat awards options from the online booking engine.
Savvy frequent flyers have used Any Seat Awards since the change a few years ago that allowed them to earn points and Status credits. With careful planning and research, Any Seat Award flights in Business and First Class could be booked at a cost that was very near to the Classic award levels. It is a very clever way to gain or retain status on Qantas. I’ve used it in the past, and very rarely book a classic award as you do not earn anything on it.
Qantas believe these ASA’s are a marginal award and are under review – which will be a great annoyance to many of Qantas’s Frequent Flyers that currently book these ASA’s as part of their planning to either gain status (Gold or Platinum) or retain it.
So how do you book these so called Marginal ASA’s? It will now need to be done over the phone, which will be handled by a dedicated team. The upside is that there is no booking fee to call up.
There was also no plans to introduce status credit earning on Classic awards to offset this, which if they did would make the change more palatable.
If you want to voice your opinion, join our online forum thread at: http://www.thefrequentflyer.com.au/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=68
 

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