July 6, 2020 / 1:21 AM / a month ago

Australia's Qantas signs frequent flyer deal with pay-later platform Afterpay

FILE PHOTO: Qantas planes are seen at Kingsford Smith International Airport, following the coronavirus outbreak, in Sydney, Australia, March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

(Reuters) - Qantas Airways (QAN.AX) and Afterpay Ltd (APT.AX) said on Monday they had agreed to allow users of the airline’s frequent flyer programme to benefit by using the buy-now-pay-later firm’s payment platform.

Under the agreement, Qantas frequent flyers could earn points after linking their membership number to their Afterpay account, the firms said in a joint statement to the stock exchange.

The deal is the latest boost for Afterpay, an alternative credit firm offering small loans to mostly to online shoppers, which has benefited from a shift to online shopping during the coronavirus crisis. [nL4N2DS0JP]

Afterpay’s shares rose nearly 2% in early trade against a 0.3% drop on the ASX200 index , hitting a record high scaled in the previous session.

New users on Afterpay’s platform would earn 500 Qantas points for joining and linking their Qantas membership, and thereafter 1 point for every A$1 spent through the platform, the companies said.

Existing users would need to spend A$1,000 ($695) through the platform, after which they would earn the same rewards. The offer for existing Afterpay users however was limited to the first 50,000 customers who sign up for the deal.

The Qantas rewards points would accrue for Afterpay users up to a maximum of 5,000.

“Now our customers can earn Qantas Points on their purchases at no additional cost, just by using Afterpay as they normally would,” Anthony Eisen, chief executive and co-founder of Afterpay, said in a statement.

While the pandemic’s impact on shopping habits and the shift to online has boosted Afterpay’s share price, it has also increased the risk of bad loans, mainly among first-time users who are more likely to default.

Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill and Stephen Coates

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