Free Qantas frequent flyer Gold membership -- for only one day!

By danwarne, April 22 2011
Free Qantas frequent flyer Gold membership -- for only one day!

How'd you like to receive a year's upgrade to Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold, but find it actually lasts for just one day?

That's the bizarre situation Australian Business Traveller reader and Qantas Frequent Flyer member Rick Ramsey found himself in recently, when he received a letter from Qantas on March 30th, advising him he'd been granted gold status -- but that his gold status would expire the very next day, on March 31st.

The free upgrade was a gift to Rick from a family member who achieved Qantas 'Super Platinum' status by clocking up 2,100 status credits in a year. Such members get a gold companion membership to give away to a partner, friend or family member.

Rick's family member decided to give it to him and arranged that with Qantas.

So how did what you might reasonably expect to be a year-long upgrade in Qantas Frequent Flyer status end up lasting for one single day?

Australian Business Traveller raised Rick's issue with Qantas, expecting that the airline would quickly fix the mistake and make good on its marketing of the free gold companion membership offer.

Instead, a media spokeswoman took nearly two weeks to respond to the enquiry, and when she did, insisted the airline was in the right and that no mistake had been made.

Here's the catch: the spokeswoman revealed that free gold companion membership is matched to the annual renewal date of the person giving the membership, not the person receiving it. The person who gave the card to Rick had a membership renewal date of March 31st.

While the Qantas spokeswoman acknowledged she could see why Rick would think a one day membership upgrade was ridiculous, she said it would be far too complicated for the airline to track the membership cycle of a platinum member, and the separate membership cycle of their friend/family gold companion membership. 

(This despite the fact that Qantas also manages to track the itineraries of millions passengers each year, and has dozens of aircraft in the air at any one time with complex customer service operations underway 24 hours a day, so you think managing complimentary membership upgrades wouldn't exactly be the most Herculean task.)

Bear in mind, too, that super platinums are Qantas' highest spending and most valuable customers.

To clock up the 2100 status credits necessary to gift a Gold membership they'd have to fly 210 economy-class flights between Sydney and Melbourne in a year, 60 economy class trips between Sydney and Shanghai, or nine business class flights between Sydney and London.

A considerable spend with the airline is involved, so you'd expect the airline would bend over backwards to look after these high-value customers.

Australian Business Traveller checked the Qantas Frequent Flyer website and could not find any mention of the free gold membership being limited to the length of the current member's platinum membership.

The Qantas' spokesperson did not respond to a request for further information on where Qantas makes this clear to members.

Rick and his family member now have the option of complaining to the Office of Fair Trading in his state, and the ACCC, both of which may be able to investigate whether Qantas is breaching the Australian Consumer Law -- the new legislation that covers 'bait-and-switch' marketing.


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21 Apr 2011

Total posts 43

The "partner gold" membership is dictated by the membership year renewal of the platinum card holder. My understanding (from reading the rules) was that the partner gold (as with any other status achieved) lasts for the remainder of the current qualifying year and the whole of the next qualifying year.

As to flying 9 business class ronud trips between Sydney and London to clock up 2100 status credits (approx. 90,000$ guesstimate - or 60 SYD-PVG in Y @ 60,000$ at the minimum); well, there are cheaper ways to hit the status. A well maxed out DONE4 with a couple of LAX/DFW-SKB YUPP trip will push one past 2100 Status Credits for around 11,000 AUD (including positioning flights ) :)

21 Apr 2011

Total posts 2

I have been a super Platinum member for over 10 years prior to retirement. I can assure you that the Gold Member status is granted for the balance of the current Platinum year plus the following year.

It must be just one of those glitches that I am sure Qantas FF will fix if notified.

My experience is that Qantas does appreciate genuine FF members and the business they receive and does go beyond in providing customer satisfaction.


10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

I can vouch for the fact that it gets extended for the following year. I gave my partner complimentary Gold in December last year. The original Gold membership card that was received expired when mine did but a subsequent Gold card was then received in the new membership year.

07 Dec 2011

Total posts 4

Can you explain more clearly the way you get those status credits for $11,000 aud 

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