By now, you probably know about Qantas’ Lifetime Silver and Lifetime Gold tiers, as well as the elusive Lifetime Platinum. But what if you could earn something like Lifetime Platinum from only half the flying? As it happens, British Airways has its own comparable tier – and it also grants oneworld Emerald for a lifetime.

BA’s card – Executive Club Lifetime Gold – comes with many of the same benefits as Qantas Lifetime Platinum. Think of access to the Qantas First Lounge and Qantas Domestic Business Lounge for the rest of your life. And in more recent changes to the program, Australian members are now welcomed into Executive Club with open arms.

If you’ve previously discarded the idea of Qantas Lifetime Platinum, British Airways’ Executive Club Lifetime Gold could be just the ticket…

How to get BA Executive Club Lifetime Gold

Have your eyes set on lifetime oneworld Emerald status with British Airways? You’ll move up the BA ranks by earning ‘Tier Points’ (TPs). That’s the Executive Club equivalent of notching up Status Credits with Qantas.

On the lifetime front, earn 35,000 Tier Points and Executive Club Gold status is yours for life. Now, don’t be confused by ‘Gold’ – BA doesn’t follow the same naming conventions as Qantas. Executive Club Gold is on-par with Qantas Platinum. Both align with oneworld Emerald.

(If that’s confusing, know too that Executive Club Silver aligns with Qantas Gold. Executive Club Bronze is akin to Qantas Silver, and Executive Club Blue is the program’s starter level, like Qantas Bronze).

So, back to those 35,000 Tier Points. BA’s program becomes very appealing when regularly flying in premium cabins or on flexible airfares. And of course, if you’re the type of traveller looking for an alternative to Qantas Lifetime Platinum, that very likely describes your journeys.

Tier Points can be earned on eligible flights right across oneworld – including with Qantas. And except in ‘non-flexible’ Economy, BA doesn’t discriminate by providing fewer Tier Points on partner airlines. Most flights, including with Qantas, earn Tier Points at the same rates as with British Airways itself.

How many flights it takes to earn British Airways Lifetime Gold

Here’s where things get interesting. It takes a whopping 75,000 Status Credits to earn Qantas Lifetime Platinum. But as for Lifetime Gold (oneworld Emerald) with British Airways, it’s only 35,000 Tier Points. The clencher? In number, the Tier Points you can earn with BA broadly align with the number of Status Credits you’d otherwise get from Qantas.

That means a lifetime pass to the Qantas First Lounge could be yours from just half as much flying. Stop and think about that for a moment. A tier broadly equivalent to Qantas Lifetime Platinum, but earned much, much sooner.

The numbers don’t lie. Here’s how that translates when flying on Australia’s most popular route, Sydney to Melbourne. We’ve tabulated the number of Tier Points or Status Credits you could earn per one-way flight. We’ve then crunched the numbers to see how many return trips it’d take to earn lifetime Emerald status in each program.

Sydney to Melbourne (one-way)BA Tier Points earnedReturn trips to earn BA’s lifetime Emerald tierQantas Status Credits earnedReturn trips to earn Qantas’ lifetime Emerald tier
Business4043840 / 45937 / 837
Flexible Economy20875201,875
Discount Economy53,500103,750

In every category, crediting these flights to British Airways Executive Club provides a faster path to lifetime oneworld Emerald. And even though ‘Discount Economy’ flights only earn half as many BA Tier Points versus Qantas Status Credits, remember: BA’s lifetime tier is earned at that much lower threshold.

A few footnotes…

We’re getting a little granular now, but this is important – don’t skip ahead. Despite the table above, which shows British Airways’ lifetime Emerald tier as being easier to earn at every level, there are a few exceptions when diving into the detail.

These exceptions could actually make Qantas Lifetime Platinum an easier target than BA Lifetime Gold, so listen up!

For one, Qantas’ absolute cheapest domestic Economy fares book into ‘E’ class. On Qantas, these flights earn like any other in Discount Economy. But in Executive Club, an E class ticket on Qantas earns nothing at all. Clearly, you’re better off earning some Status Credits with Qantas versus zero Tier Points with BA.

Speaking of lead-in fares, there’s another gotcha with ‘K’ class Economy. This is Qantas’ lead-in fare in the Economy Flex category. Credit those flights to Qantas and you’ll earn Status Credits at the Flexible Economy rate. But link a BA Executive Club number and it’ll earn as Discount Economy.

In other words, if you regularly travel on lead-in Economy Flex fares, you’re better off chasing Qantas Lifetime Platinum. You’d get there from 1,875 return Sydney-Melbourne jaunts. Whereas with BA, you’d need 3,500 round trips for the same.

The other pull of Qantas Lifetime Platinum is being able to earn Status Credits on Qantas Classic Reward flights if you’re also a Qantas Points Club member. That is, still making progress towards your status goal even when flying on tickets booked using Qantas Points.

Overall, this makes Qantas Lifetime Platinum more attainable for flyers who regularly book the cheapest fares in each Economy category and who also fly often using points. Those flying on paid Business Class tickets, or on just about any other paid Economy fare, would find a faster path to lifetime Emerald via British Airways’ program instead.

Watch our video below to learn more about Qantas Lifetime Platinum:

How realistic is Lifetime Gold with British Airways?

Even though top-tier lifetime status is generally easier to earn via British Airways than Qantas, hitting that goal with BA still isn’t ‘easy’. Given BA Tier Points and Qantas Status Credits are roughly comparable, picture for a moment what it’d take to earn 35,000 Status Credits with Qantas – just as a guide.

That’d be equivalent to earning Qantas Lifetime Silver (7,000 Status Credits) five times over. Or to reaching Qantas Lifetime Gold (14,000 Status Credits) twice over: and then halfway again.

Even British Airways remarks that ‘this part of the Club is a very small club indeed. Care to join it?’ Oh BA, how you tease…

But it’s fair to say, only the highest of high flyers will ever get to this level. And it’ll only come from many, many years spent on planes. Yet if you take flights as often as others take the bus, BA remains an interesting alternative to Qantas in the lifetime stakes.

Aside from the few exceptions noted earlier, lifetime oneworld Emerald is much easier to earn via British Airways than Qantas. In fact, even if you’ve already reached Qantas Lifetime Gold, switching to BA could get you to Emerald faster than sticking with the Roo’s own program.

75,000 is so high that any Qantas member who wants lifetime Emerald and has under 40,000 Status Credits — is better off STOPPING all frequent flyer earn on Qantas. Start from 0 with British Airways Executive Club, and you’ll earn lifetime Emerald faster by crediting to BA, than having continued from 40,000 Status Credits through to 75,000 Status Credits.

– Mark Ross-Smith, CEO at StatusMatch

Mark’s comment again reflects that for the most part, BA Tier Points and Qantas Status Credits can broadly be considered equal. With 40,000 Qantas Status Credits under your belt, you may as well stick with Qantas for the next 35,000. But if your lifetime tally is considerably less, switching to BA could get you there sooner – and with much less flying.

Benefits of earning BA Lifetime Gold

As mentioned, British Airways Lifetime Gold and Qantas Lifetime Platinum both align with oneworld Emerald. That’s what the green-coloured gemstone means in the bottom right corner of these frequent flyer cards.

Lifetime oneworld Emerald frequent flyer cards of British Airways and Qantas

Whichever flavour your Emerald card comes in, here are some of the key benefits you can expect. These apply when flying with Qantas, British Airways or any other oneworld Alliance carrier.

  • Access to international oneworld First Class lounges. This includes the iconic Qantas First Lounge locations in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore and Los Angeles. It also includes British Airways First lounges (The Concorde Room excluded), as well as most other oneworld First Class lounges.
  • Entry into the Qantas Domestic Business Lounge when flying Qantas or QantasLink. These are found in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth – and soon, Adelaide too.
  • Priority check-in, security screening and boarding with Qantas, British Airways and other oneworld airlines, where available.
  • Additional checked baggage on eligible itineraries.
  • Priority baggage handling.
  • Preferential seating, such as complimentary seat selection on BA flights from the time of booking.

But not all of the benefits are the same…

BA vs. Qantas lifetime status

Sure, both BA Lifetime Gold and Qantas Lifetime Platinum provide a wealth of oneworld Emerald perks. But the benefits don’t entirely match up between the two programs.

Setting aside the difficulty (or ease) of earning each lifetime card, here’s where each program excels.

Where Qantas Lifetime Platinum trumps BA Lifetime Gold

As flagged earlier, it’s possible to earn Status Credits on Qantas Classic Reward flights booked using Qantas Points – provided you’re also a Points Club member. Add to that, you can choose to earn extra Status Credits through things like Qantas Green Tier and the Qantas Loyalty Bonus. The same can be said of the Qantas Premier Titanium Credit Card.

To recap, Qantas provides Status Credits on its lowest-cost domestic ‘E’ class fares. Qantas also has its Lifetime Silver (oneworld Ruby) and Lifetime Gold (oneworld Sapphire) levels to reach along the way to Lifetime Platinum.

On the benefits side, a Qantas Platinum card provides privileges on many other airlines beyond the oneworld Alliance itself. For instance, when flying with Emirates, Qantas Platinum (and Lifetime Platinum) members can use the Emirates First Class lounges.

Speaking of lounges, on Australian domestic flights, Qantas Platinum members can bring two guests into the lounge. Travellers with oneworld Emerald via BA can only bring one guest by comparison.

Qantas Platinum members can also use Qantas’ lounges when travelling on Jetstar. That perk isn’t granted to BA members, as Jetstar isn’t a oneworld airline. In fact, Qantas Platinum cardholders can also visit Qantas domestic lounges after their flight – whereas eligible BA members get access on departure only.

Checked baggage allowances on Qantas flights are also usually more generous for Qantas Platinum members than for travellers with other oneworld Emerald cards like BA Gold. On Australian domestic hops, BA’s oneworld Emerald card grants 2x 23kg bags in Economy and 2x 32kg in Business in total. But a Qantas Platinum card instead provides 2x 32kg in Economy and 3x 32kg in Business.

Where BA’s status differs from Qantas status

When it comes to earning Tier Points, British Airways is quite generous on partner airlines. Except on lower-end fares in Economy, it usually doesn’t matter which airline you fly, with Tier Points earned at comparable rates. By comparison, Qantas often awards fewer Status Credits from partner airline flights versus those booked on a QF flight number.

BA Gold also grants access to British Airways’ Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow. This privilege awaits when touching down on any long-haul British Airways flight in any cabin. If you’ve just landed from Sydney and Singapore in Economy or Premium Economy, being able to shower and enjoy breakfast is sure to make the journey more comfortable.

Having said that, BA is ‘all or nothing’ with its lifetime status. You can’t earn lifetime oneworld Ruby or Sapphire along the way, as you can with Qantas. Either you make it all the way to lifetime oneworld Emerald, or you fall short and have nothing to fall back on. Whereas with Qantas, you might have at least earned Lifetime Silver or Gold.

But I must point out, there is one rather chilling clause in British Airways’ Executive Club Terms and Conditions. Here it is in full.

British Airways reserves the right to change or withdraw Lifetime Status for both new and existing Lifetime Status Members and will give at least 6 months’ notice of the change or withdrawal of this benefit. This will not affect a Member’s entitlement to use other services.

– Executive Club Terms and Conditions, British Airways

Of course, there’d be an uproar if that were to occur. But the fact that BA could just decide to cancel your lifetime status with six months’ notice might be disincentive enough to stick with earning Qantas Lifetime Platinum instead.

Summing up

On paper, earning lifetime oneworld Emerald status is much easier with British Airways than with Qantas. And for the most part, the benefits are similar too. Access to the Qantas First Lounge and Qantas Domestic Business Lounge are standard with both cards. And many of the other perks are comparable as well.

If you’ll be doing lots of flying with oneworld airlines over the years ahead, it makes sense to at least consider BA’s frequent flyer program. After all, when you can get a ‘lifetime’ pass to the Qantas First Lounge from less than half the flying as from Qantas’ own program, it’s worth a look-in.

But this is a move best kept for seriously advanced frequent flyers. In particular, those who understand the differences between these frequent flyer programs and levels. And for that matter, understand the risks. One of which, is that if either Qantas or British Airways were to ever leave oneworld, you could likely bid goodbye to many of these perks.

Yet, with Qantas Lifetime Platinum generally needing over $1 million in flights, it’s worth shopping around to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Not just from your airline, but from your frequent flyer program – and that’s true over the years to come.

Also read: Qantas Lifetime Platinum: the Mount Everest of frequent flyer tiers

Feature image courtesy of Qantas.

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British Airways’ Lifetime oneworld Emerald: a Qantas Lifetime Platinum alternative was last modified: August 16th, 2023 by Chris Chamberlin