Qantas has just announced a new frequent Green Frequent Flyer tier which will sit alongside the others such as Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One.
Each year, members will need to complete at least five sustainable activities across six areas – flying, travel, lifestyle, sustainable purchases, reducing impact, and giving back – to achieve Green tier status.
Once achieved, members will be rewarded with benefits like bonus Qantas Points or status credits. These benefits will be in addition to the rewards they get under their existing status or as part of Points Club.
Members earn 10 Qantas Points per $1 spent when they offset their home or car. For example, the average annual cost to offset home energy for a family of four with two cars would be approximately $200 or 26,000 Qantas Points.
Aren’t we just paying for Qantas to be green?
While it’s great to see companies wanting to reduce their impact on the planet, it also makes me wonder why they can’t just do that without needing us to pay on their behalf? The Qantas Green tier offers some benefits to members in terms of extra points, but it also stands to provide a nice boost to Qantas, which offset their carbon footprint with your money (under the current carbon offset scheme).
It’s like donating spare change to a business that will then support a charity with it; they will claim the tax benefits while you get the good karma. There’s nothing wrong with this, but you could literally do the same thing and still be better off.
In fact, many carbon offset programs are tax-deductible, so instead of giving Qantas the tax benefit, why not support a project you believe in and get rewarded with a tax credit for doing good? I’m not going to list any projects here, but you can easily research credible non for profit carbon offset organisations in Australia and make sure they are legit before handing them your money.
If airlines cared so much about offsetting carbon, shouldn’t they shoulder most of the cost instead of tricking customers into paying on their behalf? Fuel for thought…
Maybe Qantas gets it right?
With all this in mind, we don’t know exactly how the Qantas Green tier will work and at least promoting sustainability to their customers is actually a good thing.
How the program works will be a crucial key to the legitimacy of the project. I think the right thing would be to partner with accredited projects and offer frequent flyers an incentive to spend money directly. This way, customers can earn their own carbon credits instead of funding Qantas to purchase them on their behalf. Maybe similar to the Qantas Shopping mall where they offer bonus points in exchange for the affiliate commission on many retailers.
Meanwhile, Qantas is working on and has committed to being net-zero by 2050, which it’s doing by the following actions:
- Working with governments and bioenergy providers on the development of sustainable aviation fuel production in Australia, which the Qantas Group has committed $50 million towards.
- Investing in next-generation and low emission aircraft, which reduce fuel burn.
- Offsetting emissions by investing in high quality and verified projects.
- Ongoing work to reduce fuel burn as part of day to day operations, including through smarter flight planning.