This article is part of our ongoing Business Travel 101 series for newcomers to the world of business travel.
Qantas Lifetime Silver status offers some respectable perks like priority check-in, bonus points when booking Qantas flights and a boosted baggage allowance when flying with Qantas, plus priority boarding with selected partner airlines.
Lifetime Silver is also the halfway point en route to Lifetime Gold – but for many less-frequent travellers, it may well be their final frequent flyer destination: so whether you’re taking the whole journey or are disembarking at the Silver stop, here’s how you can get there within your lifetime.
Earning Qantas Lifetime Silver status
Normally, you’d fetch regular Qantas Silver status by earning 300 status credits within a single frequent flyer membership year – or by earning 250 status credits in a year to retain an existing Silver membership – with your status credit balance wiped clean every 12 months.
But when it comes to lifetime status, all the status credits you’ve earned throughout your many years of membership continue to be tallied up, and it’s that tally that helps you reach Lifetime Silver, and beyond that, Lifetime Gold.
To qualify as Lifetime Silver you’ll need to have earned 7,000 status credits.
That’s a lot easier than the 14,000 status credits needed for Lifetime Gold, but it’s still on-par with earning and then retaining regular Silver status every year for almost 28 years.
It’s also the equivalent of taking 88 return trips between Sydney and Melbourne on most business class fares, 30 return business class trips between either city and Singapore or 13 return business class journeys between Australia and London.
Down the back of the bus on the lowest-cost fares, those figures are considerably higher: boosted to a staggering 350 return Sydney-Melbourne flights, 117 round-trips to The Lion City or 50 return hops on the Kangaroo Route.
Naturally, Lifetime Silver is within easier reach of frequent business travellers than your average holiday trekker – particularly if the company pays for flexible economy, premium economy, business class or even first class fares.
You can check how your lifetime tally is faring by logging into your Qantas Frequent Flyer account, clicking ‘show additional status information’ in the middle of the Your Account page…
… and then spying the number next to ‘lifetime status credits’:
In our example, the traveller has earned 4,490 of the 7,000 status credits required for Lifetime Silver, being almost two thirds of the way there.
Enjoying the benefits of Lifetime Silver
Perhaps the best perk of Lifetime Silver status is that you’ll never have to join the regular economy check-in queue again, with access to Premium Service Desks prior to Qantas domestic flights and the business class check-in queues when travelling internationally.
That benefit isn’t limited to Qantas either, and can be used when travelling with any Oneworld airline, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways and more – as Qantas Silver is also ‘Oneworld Ruby’, which guarantees this perk across the alliance.
Priority check-in is also offered when flying with Emirates: either using the dedicated Silver frequent flyer counters in Dubai or the business class counters in all other airports.
Also on the table: a boosted baggage allowance with Qantas, Emirates and American Airlines in some travel classes, as follows:
- Qantas domestic: 1x32kg in economy (normally 1x23kg)
- Qantas international: One extra bag where the ‘piece system’ is used when flying economy or premium economy, or 12kg extra where the ‘weight system’ applies in all travel classes
- Emirates: 12kg extra in all travel classes
- American Airlines: First checked bag is complimentary, even on fares which include no checked baggage.
There’s no extra baggage allowance for Qantas domestic business class (already 2x32kg), or Qantas international business class or first class on flights using the ‘piece system’, such as to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Joining that, 50% more points on Qantas and Jetstar flights and 25% more points on American Airlines flights when that flight earns more points than given via Qantas’ minimum points guarantee, free standard seat selection on all Qantas flights and access to ‘preferred’ – but not extra legroom – seats.
Silver flyers also have access to more Qantas Classic Flight Rewards seats than entry-level Bronze members, receive priority over Bronze flyers when requesting an international upgrade and receive similar priority when waitlisted or standing by for a flight.
Rounding out the offer, one complimentary visit each year to a Qantas Club or Qantas international business class lounge, priority Qantas telephone assistance and priority boarding on American Airlines (when ‘Group 4’ is called) – although this benefit isn’t offered with Qantas unless also flying in premium economy, business class or first class.
Fast-track your way to Qantas Lifetime Silver
There are five relatively straightforward things you can do to earn extra status credits without taking extra flights.
Firstly, if your booking always defaults to the lowest-cost fares, do consider higher-priced fares when it makes sense to do so. These earn more status credits, so on a one-way Sydney-Melbourne flight, you could be earning 20 or even 40 status credits instead of 10:
(It probably won’t make sense to pay double your normal fare to earn twice as many status credits, but if the cost between the two happens to be small – say, even $20 or $40 – paying the difference can get you to Lifetime Silver faster.)
Another is to keep a sharp eye on your email inbox for any bonus status credit offers which Qantas runs from time to time, promising 50% more status or sometimes even double status credits when booking and travelling during certain periods.
When making your bookings, also consider flying with Qantas or booking a Qantas QF flight number on a partner airline (such as Emirates), rather than booking with a partner airline directly.
Although Qantas’ Oneworld partners do offer status credits on eligible fares, you’ll usually earn the highest number of status credits when booked on a Qantas flight number – especially so with Emirates, on which you’ll earn no status credits at all on an EK flight number, but will fetch status credits at full rates when taking the same journey under a QF flight number.
Another step you can take: choose Qantas status credits as your ‘loyalty bonus’, rather than Qantas Points – that’s 50 bonus status credits for every 500 status credits you earn in a membership year (up to 200 bonus status credits a year), rather than 8,000 bonus Qantas Points every time you reach the same milestone.
Finally, you can also pocket a one-off bonus of 75 status credits with a new ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa credit card.