Relocating from the US to Australia: which frequent flyer scheme to join?

10 replies


Member since 22 Feb 2017

Total posts 10

Hi All, 

I'm relocating from the US to Adelaide, Australia in about a month and am trying to plan things out right the first time. 

First, it seems like OneWorld would be the right program for me as I have no status, but membership with American, and will be traveling within Australia on Jetstar/Qantas most of the time. Is this a fair assessment or am I missing something? Most of my travel once I am relocated will be domestic with perhaps the occasional trip back to the states. 

If so, what's generally the quickest way to a status or are there any other tips for someone starting out?


Member since 14 Jun 2013

Total posts 109

Welcome to Australia! If you're currently with American Airlines then Qantas and Jetstar make sense, although if you have no status you're sort of starting from scratch anyway and so you could consider Virgin Australia. But I'd stick with Qantas, for many reasons and not just because as a member of Oneworld it has consistent status-based policies regarding lounge access etc, unlike Virgin.

Note that while you earn points & status credits on all Qantas flights you only earn them on Jetstar if you choose an add-on bundle, think it's called 'Max'. So if you want to build up your points and status then stick with Qantas whenever you can.

Quickest way to status would be a status match but they are not offered as often in Australia as the USA and of course you have no status to match against anyway. There are status 'challenges' which Qantas and Virgin offer but these are by application only, so you may as well just start your flying with Qantas and build up the status as quickly as you can.

When you sign up for the QFF program keep an eye out for 'double status credit' promotions, Qantas runs these a few times a year, only for a short period but especially if you're flying from Adelaide they will help you build up status.

The most useful Qantas status is Gold, as you get lounge access and priority services for checkin, luggage, boarding etc. QFF Silver gives you one or two lounge passes but not much else.


Member since 22 Feb 2017

Total posts 10

Awesome, thanks a ton for these. Definitely will put them to use. I guess I'm a bit confused on which traveler scheme to use.

Would I want to use AAdvantage when booking on Qantas? Or would I wanted to start fresh with QFF?

Keep in mind, I'm looking to move back to the states in a few years so would want to keep that process as efficient as possible as well. Thanks again!


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 29 Nov 2013

Total posts 456

Agree with Mal - push as much into the Qantas program (and avoid J* as much as possible)...depending on where you need to go domestically Qantas will have the best network - plus their domestic lounge is still one of the most underrated lounges in their network - large and very spacious. 

A decent volume of domestic travel, plus a trip back to the US per year will be enough to get you to Gold. 

Have a search through the AusBT site as well - I recall an article published a while ago that goes into the details on how to fast track to QFF Gold - it will probably be in the Qantas/Jetstar community section. 

Given where loyalty programs are going in the US (I often read up on this via CrankyFlier) I wouldn't be too stressed about going quiet on AAdvantage - chances are the program will be fundamentally different in 2-3 years anyway...

Depending on your employer, they may have enough corporate clout to get you up to Gold immediately anyway - worth asking or even a call to Qantas. 



Member since 29 Jul 2016

Total posts 34

Hi Czechwonder,    I agree with the others, that QF is probably the best to leverage your existing OW alignment from AA.  Additionally,  once settling in Downunder,  you can also take advantage of various AU credit card sign up  bonuses to stockpile more QF points, plus park work expenses etc in those cards. This site usually carries a monthly summary of "what's hot" in that  regard, so look around on Ausbt.  

Join QF FFP with your USA address and then change it,  to avoid the ridiculous QF FFP sign-up fee,which doesn't apply if you have an overseas address.  
Also if you can, use American/QF/other OW airline to get to AU when you move there and park the miles in QF as that will give you a kick start on status and miles in QF too.   
In years to come when you move back to USA, then you can go back to AA to accrue and simply burn your pile of QF miles before you leave AU or in the USA once back there.  I don't recommend staying with AA while living in AU as you can't obtain as many mileage accrual opportunities as with QF FFP.  
Welcome to Awesome Adelaide!


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 May 2012

Total posts 106

If I were you, I'd consider where in America you want to visit.  If you're happy to transit by either LAX or Dallas, then Qantas and One World with AA makes sense.  But if you want to get to Houston & to transit onto United, then I would join Air NZ and join Virgin. That way you can fly Adelaide to Auckland and then to Houston. From there you can get to anywhere in USA on United.  AirNZ offers a great product over to the USA.  Virgin for domestic is also OK.


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 08 Feb 2016

Total posts 83

Try looking up "status tier" accelerated programs 'offered' by both airlines. Not sure about the T&Cs, may be worth a visit.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Apr 2012

Total posts 186

Being based in Adelaide, you have more OneWorld options too, with Cathay/Malaysian/Qatar, all being part of OneWorld.  Also Emirates, even though not OneWorld gives you the tie up through Qantas... 


Member since 02 Dec 2016

Total posts 114

Join both. I'm Platinum with VA and Gold with Qantas.  I mostly fly with VA as they have more options from where I live. But, domestically I prefer Qantas both for their FF program and product.  To the US, VA is better and I like Delta too, but you get a limited flexibility with that partnership.  Qantas gives you more Qantas options ie LAX, SFO, YVR, DFW, JFK vs VA and only LAX.

From Adelaide, assuming you're flying to Capital Cities, Qantas is your best bet.  Qantas has a better 'product' over Virgin.  Plus their FF program is better for redeeming on international flights back to the US (VA is almost non existent).  You should be able to status transfer with Qantas as you're a One World member. Also, with Qantas you get One World and Emirates.

But, if you're traveling to the 'secondary' cities, many of these may be served mostly by Jetstar and not Qantas.  And you'll prefer Virgin to Jetstar every time.

Same for NZ.  If you're traveling to NZ a lot then VA is better as you get Air NZ as well, and they're great.  Asia, is 50/50.  You may be better with VA as they have Singapore as a partner.  Qantas international from Adelaide is not great so you have to use Malaysian (no thanks) or Cathay (great, but only if you're going around or above Hong Kong.


Member since 22 Feb 2017

Total posts 10

Awesome, thanks for the tips all!


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 09 Jun 2011

Total posts 40

Your decision may inform your choice of carrier from the US to Oz when you move here too...

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