- We look at the key points of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program and its rewards.
- Learn about the different levels of membership and some of the small print you should be aware of.
- Find out how to earn points and what you can spend them on.
Australians have a lot of national pride for Qantas. Founded in 1921, it’s the world's third oldest airline (behind KLM and Avianca) and has earned a global reputation for being safe and trustworthy, while providing a solid experience.
Locally, Qantas is by far the largest airline in Australia and Oceania, carrying around three times as many annual passengers as its nearest competitors. With such a high demand for Qantas flights, it pays to know about their Frequent Flyer program.
Compared with some of its international competitors, the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is quite generous in what it offers. You can earn and spend points on Qantas flights (in all cabin classes) as well as Jetstar flights and more than 50 partner airlines. There are other ways to earn points too, which we'll get to later.
In this series, we're going to explore the basic ins and outs of the program, starting with the basics – how to earn points, what you can spend them on and ways you can maximise your membership.
What are Qantas Points?
Qantas Points are rewards for frequent flyers. They're most commonly earned by booking eligible flights with Qantas, Jetstar and other airline partners, but you can also earn points when you book a hotel, hire a car and buy things through the Qantas Store or selected shopping partners. Some financial partners – banks, credit card companies and insurance providers – also reward you with Qantas Points when you use their products.
You can use these points in many of the same ways. Maybe the best thing to do is to get a free or enhanced holiday. You can buy flights or seat upgrades or use your points to pay for hotels or car hire. If you prefer to stay at home once in a while, you can use your points in day-to-day life when you shop online, go to the cinema or buy wine.
You can even buy Qantas Points as gifts and transfer them to family members (fees may apply).
What can you use Qantas Points for?
You can use your Qantas Points to save money on your holidays or in everyday life. When you book a flight with Qantas or one of its partner airlines, you can either pay in full with points (but you’ll have to pay a booking fee, unless you’re high up the membership ladder) or you can pay with a mixture of points and cash. On Qantas flights, you can also spend points to upgrade your seat.
Qantas has partnered with a number of businesses in the travel industry, from hotels and car hire to travel insurance, so there are plenty of other places to spend your points.
You can also spend your points in the Qantas Store, where you can choose from more than 500 brands including the likes of Apple, Dyson and Fitbit. Another option is to spend points on other sites, such as Kogan.
The quickest way to earn points is to book a flight with either Qantas, QantasLink or Jetstar. On eligible Qantas flights, you get points on all fare types, with a better return the higher the cabin class you book.
All of these airlines accept Qantas Points as payments too. On the Qantas website, you can click between paying in cash or using your points to see the difference. A $142 Starter Class Jetstar flight from Sydney to Melbourne costs 6,400 points, for example, while a $903 Business Class flight with Qantas on the same route costs 16,000 points (plus booking fees). You will need to book your award flight up to 11 months ahead, however, otherwise you could end up parting with many more points for the same fare.
In all, there are more than 50 airlines (including their affiliates) that accept Qantas Points as payment for flights (but not solely for upgrades). This includes all oneworld members and Emirates which is a special partnership outside of the oneworld alliance:
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- El Al
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian
- S7 Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
When you sign up to become a Qantas Frequent Flyer member, you start at the Bronze level. As you earn Qantas Points (by flying on Qantas and selected partner airlines), you also earn Status Credits that define what tier you're in. After Bronze, you can get promoted to Silver, Gold, Platinum and then Platinum One, each coming with its own card.
When you sign up, you start at Bronze level. In this tier, you can earn and spend Qantas Points as well as earning Status Credits.
After you earn 300 Status Credits, you move up to the Silver level. Silver members get 50% more points on Jetstar and Qantas flights and 25% more points on some partner flights. You also get extra checked baggage allowance, a single-visit invitation to a Qantas airport lounge, priority check-in and dedicated telephone service. To stay in the Silver tier, you need to earn 250 Status Credits each year.
To get to Gold level, you need to earn 700 Status Credits (and you then need to earn 600 a year to maintain this level). Gold members get 75% more points than Bronze members on American Airlines, Jetstar and Qantas flights. You'll also have access to premium security lanes, Qantas Club lounges and priority baggage/boarding.
You reach Platinum level when you earn 1400 credits (and you need 1200 a year to stay at this tier). Platinum members earn 100% more points than Bronze members on flights. Once you reach 2400 credits for the year, you'll get complimentary Gold membership for a friend (or 50,000 Qantas Points), preferred seating and upgrade access, plus entry to higher airport lounge classes.
The highest level is achieved once you earn 3600 Status Credits, at least 2700 of which much be earned on Qantas flights. You’ll need to continue earning Status Credits at this rate every year in order to maintain Platinum One status. Platinum One members automatically get Platinum membership for a partner, 24/7 team service, complimentary extra legroom seats, membership to several clubs, invitations to special events and a lot more.
How to join for free
Becoming a member of Qantas' Frequent Flyer program is quick and easy but there is a $99.50 fee. It's one of the only airline loyalty programs in the world to charge a joining fee.
There are also ways you can join for free – using a promo code. From time to time, Qantas issues promo codes to partners or to increase member numbers. These promo codes are normally embedded in links and there's no public schedule to when they'll start or stop.
Once you've done this, you'll be given your membership number and you can start earning points immediately. They'll send you a Qantas member card soon after joining which can be activated and turned into a Qantas Money travel Mastercard.
If switching bank account seems like a lot of effort for the free membership, you can sign up for a credit card instead. By our count, there are currently more than 30 cards that offer free Qantas Frequent Flyer membership – and each of these gives you Qantas Points when you use the card.
Qantas Travel Money
When you sign up for a Qantas Travel Money account, you also get access to the Frequent Flyer program for free.
The Travel Money card is a secure way to make payments overseas. Load Australian dollars and spend them in the local currency (earning points) when you arrive. For some currencies, you can lock in an exchange rate before you travel to make sure you don't get stung by currency fluctuations while you're abroad.
Bankwest bank account
When you sign up for a Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account, you automatically get free Frequent Flyer membership. You can also earn Qantas Points when you make debit transactions, withdraw money overseas or end the month with a bit of money in your account.
How to keep track of your Qantas Points
It's important that you keep on top of your points total. Whether it's because they might be expiring soon or because you want to see if you can afford a flight upgrade, there are some simple ways to keep track:
- by logging in on the Qantas website;
- by using the free app on your Android or Apple device;
- by phoning the membership enquiries team on 13 11 31 (between 7am and 7pm, Monday to Saturday).
For all of these options, you'll need your Frequent Flyer number as well as your password or PIN.
The small print
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you need to quote your Frequent Flyer number when you make a booking (although you can still claim points after you fly). Qantas and Jetstar let you save this number in your account, as do most flight and hotel booking sites.
Something else worth remembering is that if you don't spend or add to your points within an 18-month period, you'll lose some of your points. Spending or earning just one point keeps your account active.
There is one saving grace for parents and expecting parents – the option to put your status on hold. Whether you (or your partner) are giving birth, adopting or fostering, you can pause your status for up to 18 months without the need to meet Status Credit requirements.
It's important to note that some purchases, such as infant fares, don't earn you points.