Why do most Australian Frequent Flyers use Qantas as their main OneWorld FF program?

5 replies

deetz

Member since 25 Apr 2012

Total posts 3

Why do most Australian Frequent Flyers use Qantas as their main OneWorld FF program? Why not use a partner that has a much more favourable award chart? Or one with a lower requirement for earning status? Or even use 2 programs (one for miles and one for status)?

An example would be American Airlines for miles (their OW distance based award chart is interesting) and LAN (fairly low requirements) or Qantas (lifetime status is definitely a bonus).

I often wonder the same thing about Air New Zealand with Star Alliance. Why not use US Airways for miles and Aegean for status?

Thanks everyone

Ksmith

Member since 05 Sep 2011

Total posts 28

I personally am a member of Air New Zealands Airpoints frequent flier programme. Whilst I could reach gold status far more easily with the likes of Aegean, Air New Zealand offer higher earning rates on their own flights, especially in their premium cabins. As this is the airline I fly most frequently with, I probably gain greater airpoints  (miles) by being with them. When it comes to spending miles, NZ upgrades come cheaper as an Airpoints member and I can also buy hotels in NZ or Australia.

Using two frequent flier programmes is not useful, as you are most likely to upgrade flights on long haul routes, requiring a huge number of miles, and you cannot collect or spend miles from two separate freqent flier programmes in one transaction. Given that many programmes have increased earning rates if you achieve higher status, using a single programme can actually allow you to achieve more miles than listed.

If you are not a higher status holder, miles tend to expire after a few years. If for example you collected miles on your Aegean account each year until you reached Gold, and then collected miles for the remainder of each year on US Airways, your US miles may well expire before you have collected enough for a worthwhile upgrade.

For me, NZ Airpoints allows me to collect a greater number of miles, and also achive additional benefits. Achieving silver, gold, or gold elite status unlocks free upgrade(s) on NZ flights. Being gold or gold elite means I can use extra leg room seats on NZ flights without paying extra. Being gold or gold elite also gives me a greater chance of achieving NZ upgrades, at a lower cost in miles; the upgrades I'm most likely to ask for. Being a member of Aegean's FFP would be of no use to me as I would never use the free upgrades or additional perks since I never fly with that airline.

I'm sure it's the same for Qantas FFP members. Whilst it may not be the easiest to achive high status or lots of miles, it is the airline you fly most frequently with and therefore the airline you can make most use of upgrades and benefits on.

sagidec

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 19 Nov 2011

Total posts 12

Hi deetz,

I asked the same question in the past about why not try other One World alliance's FFP.

QFF has made lots of good revamps in the past year or so e.g. non-expiry miles (at least 1 transaction in 18 months, lifetime status etc.). On top of that, you have more options to earn miles in Australia e.g. credit card points to earn, shopping (e.g. Woolworths), insurance (e.g. One Path, ANZ), utilities (e.g. Optus) etc. 

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest (miles expires between 3~5 years but you can earn miles with Australian credit providers but that's it meaning no double dipping options in miles earning)

American Airlines, British Airways Exec Club, LAN OnePass, JAL, Delta Skymiles (limited options to earn miles unless you fly with their partners, rent a car/hotel in Australia).

A consideration with more options to earn miles is a bonus in narrowing down your options.

But for Australians or residents (if you are based in Australia), if you want to earn miles for all alliances, here are some good list that I had a thought through:

  • One World: stick with Qantas Frequent Flyer.
  • SkyTeam: Delta Skymiles (why? because miles never expire). Skyteam presence is Australia is very limited, so a Frequent Flyer Program without miles expiry, I believe, is a good option to go with.
  • Star Alliance: Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer or New Zealand Airpoints (all their programs have miles expiry but at least you have lots of options to accumulate miles in Australia).

AusFlyer

Member since 10 Mar 2011

Total posts 138

What do you mean by "Or even use 2 programs (one for miles and one for status)"? I don't see how you can since you can't put two programs onto one flight?

Anyway.. Qantas is definitely the best if you're based in Australia for OneWorld. You get bonus points for flying Qantas once you reach a higher status and you get lifetime status as well as having a program where the points don't expire as long as you fly Qantas at least once every 18 months. Unlike SQ where points do expire even if you fly with them!

deetz

Member since 25 Apr 2012

Total posts 3

Thanks for the detailed responses everyone.

I agree with all of you that if you fly primarily with 1 airline then it is worth using their FFP and I agree that earning miles on two frequent flyer accounts for the same alliance is not useful. While consolidation is important, diversification can be just as valuable.

However, I still feel that for someone who lives in Australia, since there is currently no good option for Star Alliance (unless you fly with Air NZ frequently), if for example you were to fly with Singapore Airlines the best option seems to be earning points towards Virgin Australia or US Airways (I still love their award chart) and earning status towards Aegean. If you fly Thai Airways, earn points on US Airways and status towards Aegean.

@AusFlyer you can apparently have 2 programs on any booking if you call the airline and say you want this option (admittedly I have neve tried this, just read that it works and am trying to scope out if this is worthy).

Since Aegean is one of the easiest ways to earn status in Star Alliance (other than a status match), it seems like this would be the most beneficial route. You would have higher status with Star Alliance, meaning you get all of the benefits with minimial outlay.

For OneWorld, I agree that QFF has improve drastically (especially with the lifetime status, virtually non-expiry of points and the 1K points guarantee) and there are a number of good ways to earn points, but their award chart is generally not as competitive as others.

I understand that higher status increases your earning rate, but you just have to be a higher status member of the alliance, not the airline.

Here is the link to AAs Elite Status earning chart:

http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/eliteStatus/bonus.jsp?anchorLocation=DirectURL&title=elitestatusbonus

With this in mind, since it is easier to earn status on AA, they have lower point requirements for awards and since you can transfer Amex points to AA through SPG (there are often bonus offers for this transfer) this seems like a viable option. The kicker would also be gaining status with AA through a status challenge, and then buying a round the world ticket.

I'm not saying that this is the best option (I'm still planning to calculate if it's actually better). I'm just trying to understand why so few people use US Airways and AA, when they have very competitive FFP, even for people based in Australia.

Again, thanks for comments. Much appreciated.

deetz

Member since 25 Apr 2012

Total posts 3

Just to follow up, I called Qantas to find out if it is possible to earn points to one account and status to another (as I have read on other threads previously) and it is apparently not possible.

So for Star Alliance, it seems that US Airways may be the best program to join, since they often have transfer bonuses and promotions like the Grand Slam.

I agree that Delta is the best option for Skyteam, though they are a partner of Virgin Australia, so I would try to avoid SkyTeam.

For OneWorld, I'm still not certain that QFF is better than AA, considering that gaining status on AA is easier, award redemption is cheaper and you still get earn bonuses (you also get the bonuses on more airlines, as QF seem to only allow you to get bonuses for QF, JQ, AA & BA flights). 

What do you all think?
Thanks in advance 

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Why do most Australian Frequent Flyers use Qantas as their main OneWorld FF program?

Attach Files