With a drastic cut in the number of routes and flights Qantas and its partners are operating due to the coronavirus, elite Qantas Frequent Flyer members have rightly been feeling anxious about how this will affect their status.
The good news is that Qantas has announced some help:
To give you one less thing to worry about right now, if you are eligible, your Qantas Frequent Flyer status will automatically be extended for 12 months, as at March 2020.
What will happen?
Eligible Qantas Frequent Flyer members with a membership year anniversary date between March 2020 and February 2021 will automatically retain their current status, even if they have not already retained in their own right.
Qantas is also waiving the need for members to clock up four Qantas flights in order to retain their status.
Note that if you’ve already earned the required Status Credits (SCs) to reach/maintain your status, it will not be extended further.
Who is eligible?
All Platinum One, Platinum, Gold and Silver Qantas Frequent Flyer members are eligible for this extension. This includes members on Status Hold, as well as those who have received a complimentary Gold membership or complimentary Platinum membership from a Platinum One member.
What do I need to do?
Nothing. The extension will be actioned in two phases. If your membership year ends:
- between March and June 2020, it will be automatically extended by 27 March
- between July 2020 and February 2021, it will be automatically extended by 9 April
Once Qantas has extended your status, you will receive a confirmation email sent to your preferred email address on your Qantas Frequent Flyer account. You will also then be able to view your new status expiry date on the digital card in the Qantas App. The status extension expiry date will not reflect on the Qantas website until the start of your new Membership Year.
What about last month’s double Status Credits offer?
A common question is if you booked a flight under the February 2020 Double Status Credits offer and are no longer travelling, will Qantas honour the Qantas Points and Status Credit earn?
The answer is: no. Qantas Points and Status Credits will only be awarded for eligible flights flown.
How does this compare to Velocity’ offer?
Velocity is also extending status membership by 12-months, in addition to gifting elite members monthly Status Credits. Previously, Velocity had looked to only gift bonus status credits but updated their offer to now match the Qantas status extension. This effectively makes the Velocity offer the current market-leading one.
Having said that, both offers from Qantas and Virgin Australia are generous and will be welcome by all top-tier members of each program during this period of decreased flying.
Furthermore, Qantas is waiving the need for members to clock up a certain number of Qantas flights in order to retain their status, with Velocity now removing their minimum flight requirement for their members.
Our master guide to Qantas Frequent Flyer status and benefits follows.
The beginner’s guide to Qantas Frequent Flyer status and benefits
Holding Qantas Frequent Flyer status means that you can skip lines, enjoy complimentary food and drink in lounges, and gain preferential access to upgrades and award seat inventory when flying Qantas—and preferred seating with partner airlines such as Emirates, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines.
In this guide, I outline how to move up the five status tiers, the benefits available at each level, and how to extend your status with Qantas.
You may also be interested in our beginner’s guide to Velocity Frequent Flyer status and benefits.
How do you earn Qantas Frequent Flyer status?
Silver, Gold and Platinum status from Qantas is earned by collecting enough Status Credits (SCs) to get you to status tier. After that point, you can keep collecting to reach the next tier, but after your ‘membership year’ has ended, your balance resets to zero.
Put simply, SCs are earned by flying with Qantas or its preferred airline partners. It’s actually much more complex than that with a vast range of rules behind which flights earn status credits and which don’t. In general, most flights with a QF flight number—whether operated by Qantas or a codeshare partner, such as Emirates—should earn Qantas SCs.
Many oneworld partner airlines such as Cathay Pacific, American Airlines, British Airways and Qatar Airways will also earn Qantas Frequent Flyer status credits – but these could be at different rates than to flying.
The number of Status Credits earned for a flight are generally based on the distance flown for each flight.
For the latest info about earning status credits, you’re best to refer to the section of the Qantas website all about status.
Qantas Frequent Flyer status membership tiers
There are five membership tiers in Qantas Frequent Flyer, from lowest to highest:
Complimentary seat upgrades and access to award seat inventory clears in reverse order, starting from Platinum One down to Silver. We’ve gone deep explaining how the interaction between Qantas upgrades and status works in our guide to how Qantas Frequent Flyer upgrades work.
Note that you’ll earn a useful ‘loyalty bonus’ of 8,000 Qantas Points or 50 SCs for every 500 SCs you earn on eligible Qantas and Jetstar flights each year (up to four times, i.e. 4 x 500 SCs to a maximum of 2,000 SCs).
The figures for achieving and maintaining each status level are based on membership year.
A key reason it’s worth aiming for Silver or above, if you’re flying patterns allow it
A benefit that’s not clearly advertised of having Gold and Platinum Qantas Frequent Flyer status—and in some cases Silver—is that Qantas makes more of its own points redemption seats available to elite status members of its own program. This is a great perk if you have a healthy Qantas balance and you are competing for hard to find award seats.
One example: another member of the Point Hacks team was recently searching for award availability from Australia to the US which is one of the hardest to find points redemption seats for, especially multiple travellers in Business Class.
After using award search tools like ExpertFlyer and AwardNexus and coming up empty, he checked Qantas.com as a Silver status member and found four Business Class seats from Sydney to San Francisco just outside of Easter school holidays next year—and these were not available to lower status members. Qantas had reserved them for Silver members and above.
Normally we believe additional seats for Qantas’ own status members are reserved for Gold and above, but maybe the San Francisco route for those dates had less competition—so Silver were included too.
Either way, if you are just one or two flights short of Silver or Gold, and have a stash of points you are planning to redeem with Qantas, then the additional award inventory available to status-holders could tip you over the edge to ensuring you earn or retain that status level.
Qantas Frequent Flyer Bronze
To achieve: 0 SCs
To maintain: 0 SCs
There are no substantial benefits to this entry status level. It just means you are a member of Qantas Frequent Flyer and is a base to start earning Status Credits to move up.
Qantas Frequent Flyer Silver
To achieve: 300 SCs (7,000 SCs for lifetime Silver)
To maintain: 250 SCs
oneworld equivalent: Ruby
- One complimentary entry to a Qantas Club or Qantas International Business Lounge per year
- Use of Business Class check-in counters, regardless of class
- One extra checked bag on international flights
- Complimentary seat selection (except QantasLink flights)
- Priority telephone line
- Priority waitlisting
- 50% bonus points on Qantas and Jetstar and 25% on American Airlines flights
Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold
To achieve: 700 SCs (14,000 SCs for lifetime Gold)
To maintain: 600 SCs
oneworld equivalent: Sapphire
In addition to Silver privileges, you’ll get:
- Access to Qantas, oneworld partner, Emirates and China Eastern Business Class lounges, regardless of class
- One or two extra checked bags
- Access to Premium Security Lanes at Sydney (Domestic), Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth Airports
- Priority boarding
- Priority baggage handling
- 75% bonus points on Qantas, Jetstar and American Airlines flights
Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum
To achieve: 1,400 SCs
To maintain: 1,200 SCs
oneworld equivalent: Emerald
In addition to Gold privileges, you’ll get:
- Access to Qantas, oneworld partner and Emirates First Class lounges, regardless of class
- Use of First Class check-in counters, regardless of class
- Priority immigration
- Priority Economy seat purchase when holding or purchasing a Full Economy ticket for up to two people, including the Platinum member
- 100% bonus points on Qantas, Jetstar and American Airlines flights
If you reach each 2,400 Status Credits in one membership year (about halfway between Platinum and Platinum One status), you’ll receive one of three Platinum Bonus Rewards:
- A complimentary Gold membership for a family member or friend; or
- Three complimentary Qantas Valet Parking or Chauffeured Transfer invitations; or
- 50,000 Qantas Points
Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum One
To achieve: 3,600 SCs (at least 2,700 on Qantas-marketed flights)
To maintain: 3,600 SCs (at least 2,700 on Qantas-marketed flights)
oneworld equivalent: Emerald
In addition to Platinum privileges, you’ll get:
- Complimentary Platinum membership for partner
- Highest upgrade and award availability priority
- Access to a dedicated 24/7 Platinum One Team
- Free transfer to earlier flight if seats available
- Waived fees for phone-assisted bookings and family points transfers
- Complimentary extra legroom seating on selected international flights
- Complimentary Premium Qantas Golf Club membership
- Complimentary Premium Qantas Wine membership
- Access to the Museum of Contemporary Art Lounge in Sydney
If you reach each 5,000 SCs in one membership year, you’ll receive 75,000 bonus points; by reaching 7,000 SCs, you’ll get another 100,000 points.
Qantas Lifetime Status
Qantas allocates lifetime status when you reach certain status milestones. These are:
- Lifetime Silver: 7,000 SCs
- Lifetime Gold: 14,000 SCs
- Lifetime Platinum: 75,000 SCs
To check your lifetime status balance, log in to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account and scroll down the page. On the left pane, you will see a summary of Status Credits balance:
Click on See Activity and scroll down the page until you see a summary of your Lifetime membership.
Remember: you don’t earn Status Credits when redeeming points
One thing that many new frequent flyer point hobbyists don’t realise is that redeeming those hard-earned points don’t yield any SCs or points for your award flights. This is a shame. You are still being loyal to the airline by choosing to redeem your points to them—but is the way the system works.
Qantas Frequent Flyer Status holds for new parents
Qantas Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One status holders are eligible to put an 18-month hold on their status when they take a break from travel as a new parent.
Digital membership card
Qantas Frequent Flyers with the Qantas mobile app can use their digital membership card to enter domestic (but not international or partner) lounges. Your boarding pass should show this information but it is another tool to have up your sleeve.
Qantas Frequent Flyer status is a valuable benefit for those who are loyal to flying Qantas and its partner airlines.
That said, many of the perks of status are available to those travelling in Premium Economy, Business or First Class, whether you are using cash or points to book that flight. If you only travel infrequently but have enough points to head toward the front of the plane, then chasing status is probably not going to be worthwhile.
Regardless, in most cases, I wouldn’t suggest spending hard-earned cash to earn status outright. The system is geared towards those who, either for work or pleasure, spend a lot of time in the air on paid flights, and doing this just to earn status probably isn’t going to do your wallet or free time much good. However, Qantas status does yield some decent perks for those who do travel enough to earn it.
Given the specific figures required to achieve and maintain each status level, if you are chasing status with Qantas, being informed about how to earn and retain status important in devising your flight booking strategy and where your allegiance lies.
Remember, once you have status with one airline, you have your foot in the door and can status match to other airlines and alliances.
Supplementary images courtesy Qantas Frequent Flyer.