Living in Australia, and been long-term Platinum FF with QF.

2 replies


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 May 2012

Total posts 106

Living in Australia, and been long-term Platinum FF with QF.Could anyone explain how joining American Airlines program would work for me? I seem to keep reading comments, but not the full story on the benefits of how this works. I mainly fly international J class to UK or US, 4 to 5 times per year with QF. Plus 1-2 Qantas domestic flights. cheers.


Member since 19 Jan 2012

Total posts 138

Good question. But first a caveat - the value of any frequent flyer strategy depends on your individual situation: point earn opportunities, you preferred redempton benefits, how you rate status, etc.

Given the permutations and options, that inevitably means being prepared to spend some leg work.

Here are some pointers (others feel free to add or disagree).

In essence:

  1. Put all emotion to one side - many of us are "over invested" in FF schemes given past our loyalty in the utopian assumption of reciprocated fidelity
  2. Use a robust deductive approach to determine a value model tailored for your situation and goals

The basics for the AA route would be:

  • Join AAdvantage on their AA website
  • Sign up for the "Platinum Challenge" early in the new year to attain their Platinum (= QF Gold) at a time when your'e going to rack up the miles to meet their mileage target wthin the 90 day period checking which airline flights contribute to the qualifying mileage total. This enables a 100% mileage bonus on OneWorld carriers on paid flights, lounge access, per Sapphire OneWorld benefits.
  • Enter your AA FF number on booking an AA, QF or other OneWorld flight, not to mention some other partners.
  • Boost your AA miles through purchase of points when on offer (as appropriate)
  • Boost your AA miles through purchases via their online shopping portal which offers huge bonuses (you can even "buy" a US address through some websites such as myusa to consolidate shipping of goods).
  • Boost your AA miles through the "accelerator" when flying AA, effectively "buying" more miles
  • Purchase your hotel accommodation through websites that offer AA miles such as rockmiles and pointshound

So you end up with some AA miles - you can book reward flights on their website for some airlines (QF,AA, BA) and make a phone call for redemptions onto other OneWorld carriers and partner airlines where award seats are available. 

What are the generic benefits?

  • The AA reward chart generally offers redemptions for far fewer points than QF (basically on any flight in business class greater than 2 hours): thus 17,500 for a business class flight between two points in Australia/NZ compared with 24,000 on QF for a 2 hour flight
  • The benefit increases for multi-sector fights since awards are zone-to-zone based, not total distance flown: CNS-(SYD)-PER on AA is 17,500 and 50,000 on QF
  • By the time you are flying internationally the relative benefits become huge, with just 80,000 on AA first class Australia-Europe compared with 192,000 on QF
  • AA does not currently levy fuel surcharges in the same way as QF: thus when you redeem flights using AA points you end up paying far less for a QF reward seat, whereas QF will take the money off of you even when you are using QF points for a non QF redemption. AA does levy fuel charges for some carriers, including BA.
  • AA does have a distance based award chart for "explorer" awards - multiple flights over multiple carries: this is similar to the QF round the world redemption (280,000 points in business class), but is far more flexible having both first and business options, and a variety of distance flown levels - this blows te QF explorer out of the water and would likely avoid a pricey sum in fuel surcharges

 For balance, there are still benefits to the QF scheme and these include:

  • QF charges less for short distance business class flights (roughly speaking for flights of less than 2 hours)
  • The Platinum phone line is available when things go wrong or need to be changed
  • The ability to convert points to status credits using marginal any seat awards
  • The ability to redeem onto Emirates, offering a huge network and good award availability
  • Easy mechanism to upgrade flights
  • Emirates redemptions on routes that don't currently incur fuel surcharges
  • The ability to transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards
  • The opportunity to turbo charge QF points balances through credit card sign bonuses 
  • The opportunity to boost QF points through credit card spend
  • QF generally have professional customer-facing staff

Of course a QF to AA comparison isn't the whole story since there are many other schemes worth considering for a balanced frequent flyer "portfolio". There are many excellent frequent flyer sites - these are worth following if you're not already doing so! 

...the big question is what do you want out of your FF points?! And how highly do you rate status, since a strategy for optimising status isn't necessarily the same as optimising value from the mileage earn/burn game...



Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,058


PLATY has provided some good points but I find the best approach is to consider your personal circumstances. To that end, I suggest you make a list of all the issues you believe you might encounter with the switch. These issues may be real or perceived. Then consider each item and it's impact on you vis a vis both programmes. 

Once you deal with each issue methodically and logically, you will discover the best outcome that fits with your travel needs and patterns. Doing it this way enables clarity as you divorce emotions from the facts.

Happy to assist with your questions once you've made that list. Give us a shout.

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