Qantas says it will award a year’s worth of free airline travel to ten vaccinated travellers, as the carrier attempts to boost national jab uptake — and its bottom line.
The airline confirmed its COVID-19 vaccination incentive scheme on Monday morning, saying ten lucky Frequent Flyers members will be granted domestic and international flight vouchers worth a total of $50,000.
Those “mega prize” winners will also be offered Accord hotel group points redeemable at sites across the globe, and a BP fuel voucher. All told, Qantas values each of those prize packs at more than $85,000.
In addition, all Frequent Flyers members who register their vaccination status through the Qantas app will be offered their choice of flight points, membership status credits, or a $20 flight voucher.
Prospective flyers will be asked to download their COVID-19 vaccination certificate from Medicare and upload it to the Qantas app. The airline says it will delete all vaccination data once it has been verified.
The giveaway is the biggest in Qantas history, CEO Alan Joyce told ABC’s “News Breakfast” Monday morning.
But the competition is more than a gesture of goodwill to a largely landlocked public.
A year and a half of closed international borders has ravaged Qantas’ earnings, with lingering restrictions in New South Wales leading the carrier to stand down a further 2,500 staff this month.
Qantas’ full-year earnings report will arrive Thursday, reflecting the pandemic’s ongoing impact.
Backdropped by ongoing flight restrictions, the giveaway marks the airline’s latest attempt to bolster national vaccination rates — which are likely to determine when state and national border restrictions fall away.
“We feel that now is the time to help recognise those people that have taken that step, and we believe the vaccine is our ticket out of the pandemic,” Joyce said.
“And if we can do our little bit to recognise those people, why not?”
The airline’s vested interest in vaccinations extends to its workforce, who will soon be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under a company-wide mandate.
When asked if Qantas would lay off workers who chose not to receive the vaccine, Joyce said the airline had an “obligation” to its passengers and the regions in which it operates.
“For other people that are just unwilling to take the vaccine, we think aviation is not the industry for them,” he added.