Unlike Qantas, simply flying with Jetstar within Australia or internationally will not earn you any Status Credits (SCs). Instead, you will need to purchase a Starter Plus, Starter Max or Business Max bundle when you book with Jetstar.
Fortunately, these are able to be purchased at set rates, meaning that combining these bundles with a discounted Jetstar fare can be an excellent way to boost your SCs balance.
Jetstar bundles also give travellers additional extras such as checked baggage, seat selection, and food and drink. For business travellers, these extras also remove change fees and can — depending on the bundle selected — be refunded in the form of a Jetstar voucher.
The basics: which earn rate applies?
Each bundle earns points and SCs at different rates. The table below sets out which earn rates apply:
|Jetstar fare||Qantas earn category||Qantas SCs earn||Qantas Points earn|
|Starter & Starter Flex (most flights)||None||-||-|
|Starter & Starter Flex (domestic New Zealand flights)||Discount Economy||-||Yes|
|Starter Max||Flexible Economy||Yes||Yes|
In New Zealand, all domestic fares include Qantas Points only. You need to add a Plus or Max bundle to earn more points and Status Credits as well.
How much does it cost?
The cost of each bundle does not appear to change in line with the underlying fares; instead, the cost of each bundle increases based on the distance travelled.
Although Jetstar does not seem to publish any tables, some basic research seems to indicate that the following charges apply (but note that actual numbers can vary at any time):
|Route||Starter Plus||Starter Max||Business Max*|
|SCs earned||Cost||SCs earned||Cost||SCs earned||Cost|
*Business Max bundles are only available on Boeing 787 flights.
Why should I earn Qantas status?
Holding Qantas Frequent Flyer status gives travellers access to lounges, an increased baggage allowance, and preferential access to award seat inventory and upgrades. Those perks apply to Qantas and oneworld partner flights around the world, which is handy,
Depending on the airport, Jetstar passengers with Qantas Gold status or higher can enjoy lounge access prior to the flight. Complimentary single-use passes are accepted for Jetstar flights too.
So why choose Jetstar for Qantas Status Credits?
Even after adding on a bundle, the total cost of a Jetstar fare can still be substantially less than the equivalent fare on Qantas.
For example, a flexible fare on Qantas from Sydney to Melbourne on this select date in September costs $474.
The same route on Jetstar costs about $168 including the Starter Max bundle.
Each option nets you the same 1,200 Qantas Points and 20 SCs. If you do not mind flying Jetstar on this short route, you will pay only $8.40 per SC on Jetstar against $23.70 per SC on Qantas — almost triple Jetstar’s price!
Plus, the Max Bundle includes 30kg luggage and extra legroom seats, which is more than the standard Qantas domestic Economy inclusions.
Comparing Qantas and Jetstar on leisure routes
The differences in earning rates between Qantas and Jetstar are less significant on leisure routes dominated by Jetstar. However, these routes can also offer the lowest cost per SC.
A flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast on Jetstar will set you back about $172 with the Starter Max bundle, whilst the same route on Qantas is $316 with a flexible fare.
Passengers on Jetstar pocket SCs at around $5.73 per SC, with those on Qantas forking out almost double at $10.53.
Comparing Qantas and Jetstar on international routes
Jetstar is also ahead of Qantas on longer overseas segments.
For example, a Flexible Economy fare on Qantas from Sydney to Denpasar in November costs $1,233 return, whilst the same route on Jetstar (which features a Boeing 787 Dreamliner with more legroom in Economy as opposed to Qantas’ 737) costs $800 with a Starter Max bundle.
Both options see you pocket 120 SCs — almost halfway to retaining Silver — at a cost of $10.27 per SC on Qantas or $6.66 on Jetstar.
Adding a bundle to your Jetstar fare can be a cost-effective way to generate SCs—if that is what you are after. It also represents a good way to pack inclusions into your fare.
Especially on shorter flights where comfort is less of a factor, status-conscious flyers should consider Qantas’ budget alternative, Jetstar. Max Bundles offer full Economy points earn and also includes access to extra legroom seats.
Once you’ve earned Qantas status (Gold is our sweet spot), read our tips on how to keep that status alive in the coming years.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can use your Qantas points to book flights on Jetstar. In fact, Jetstar redemptions are 20% cheaper than those with Qantas. You can choose to fly in Economy or Business Class. To book your Jetstar flight using Qantas Points, go to qantas.com.
If you’re a Qantas Gold Frequent Flyer member or higher, or have a Qantas complimentary lounge pass, then you may have access to selected lounges depending on each airport layout. Business Max customers gain access too.
Status Credits can be earned on flights operated by Jetstar Airways (JQ), Jetstar Asia (3K), Jetstar Japan (GK) and Jetstar Pacific (BL) where a Qantas flight number is entered on your ticket when booked in Y, B, H, K or W class, or on a Jetstar Starter Plus, Starter Max or Business Max bundle fares only.
This article was originally written by Matt Moffitt.