New Oneworld benefits for Qantas Gold, Platinum frequent flyers

By Chris C., December 2 2014
New Oneworld benefits for Qantas Gold, Platinum frequent flyers

Qantas Gold and Platinum frequent flyers travelling across the Oneworld airline alliance now enjoy priority baggage delivery and a boosted baggage allowance, regardless of which member airline they choose to travel with.

In the same light, Oneworld Emerald and Oneworld Sapphire members now enjoy similar perks when jetting about with Qantas, or any other Oneworld airline.

That roster also includes top-tier travellers with American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and more.

Oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby said that following the alliance’s extensive membership expansion, “we are now carrying out a full review of everything the alliance provides its member airlines and customers to ensure Oneworld offers the best.”

“These two new benefits are the first initiatives to be rolled out as part of this process."

New Oneworld checked baggage perks

Qantas Gold, Oneworld Sapphire

Qantas Gold frequent flyers and other Oneworld Sapphire members pick up an extra 15kg atop of the regular baggage allowance in economy where the 'weight' system is used, with priority baggage tags to boot.

Oneworld international itineraries: Sapphire members jetting abroad may bring with them a second 23kg bag on flights or airlines using the 'piece' system.

If the standard ticket already provides for two 23kg bags – such as when flying with Qantas from Australia to the United States in economy – no additional allowance applies for Oneworld frequent flyers.

However, there's no change to the existing higher baggage allowances provided by Qantas to its own frequent flyers, which may be higher than that provided to elites of other Oneworld programs.

Oneworld domestic-only itineraries: Rather than providing for excess baggage, Sapphire elites are instead given a 'safety net' of at least one 23kg bag on any Oneworld domestic flight – and on Chile-based LAN Airlines, that becomes two bags with a maximum combined weight of 23kg.

While it's great to have a worldwide waiver of baggage fees, it means no change for mid-tier Oneworld flyers of other airlines when jetting about domestically with Qantas, as the Red Roo already affords all economy travellers at least one free checked bag weighing up to 23kg.

Qantas Platinum, Platinum One, Chairmans Lounge, Oneworld Emerald

Aussie travellers with a Qantas Platinum card or above, or Oneworld Emerald status via different airline already receive a bonus baggage allowance when flying with Oneworld, with today's changes making priority baggage delivery a formal published benefit.

Where the 'weight' system is used, Emerald elites can continue to check an extra 20kg of baggage – or one extra bag under the 'piece' system.

Qantas Club members and Qantas Frequent flyers with Silver status or higher continue to enjoy a greater allowance on Qantas domestic and international flights, including to the USA.

The fine print

For Emerald and Sapphire members stuck in economy, you'll also be stuck waiting at the baggage carousel if flying with British Airways – BA has opted-out of priority baggage delivery for all but its own frequent flyers and passengers at the pointy end.

The airline also sells 'Hand Baggage Only' fares on a number of short flights within the UK and Europe, on which your shiny frequent flyer card won't bring a free baggage allowance of any description, let alone a priority tag.

However, when BA does provide a baggage boost, it's more generous than the pack.

Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers, plus other travellers on the same reservation get an extra free checked bag when booked in economy on World Traveller, Euro Traveller and regular U.K. domestic fares.

Whether sitting down the back or relaxing up the very front, BA also raises the limit per bag from 23kg to 32kg for Sapphires and Emeralds, although this bonus doesn't apply to everyone else on the ticket.

Airberlin continues to allow Oneworld elites to take a second bag into the cabin on its domestic and international flights – weighing up to 8kg, or 10kg if it contains a laptop – in addition to the new Oneworld checked baggage allowance.

Also read: Five Oneworld airlines you probably haven't flown, but should...

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

British Airways - Executive Club

02 Dec 2014

Total posts 14

BA also gives you an amazing 23kg carry on baggage....I don't know how you'd stuff that much stuff into a carry on (wine, maybe!), but it's still nice for virtually unrestricted weight.

Thanks Chris,

While BA's attitude is disappointing, I found the following to provide a better context for the reasons for their divergence.

Quoting FrancisA on Flyertalk on 21 Aug 2014:

"BA have never offered priority baggage based on status. Never.

Agents may put priority tags (note only the orange ones, never the yellow F ones unless flying in F (First)) on the bags of status passengers in non-premium cabins, but in the main these serve no purpose. They do it just to appease the passenger (hence the phrase 'snob tags').

At airports with containerised baggage handling (e.g. LHR) only the bar code matters and determines whether the bag goes in the F/CW (First/Club World) container rather than the main ones. It doesn't matter what exotic tags it sports!

Another misconception is that BA offer priority luggage on SH (Short Haul) flights. Again they do not. Orange tags are dished out, but I have never seen any evidence that CE (Club Europe) and ET (Euro Traveller) luggage are put in different containers - a necessity to make priority baggage work effectively.

I am sure many will doubt what I say and will say that their bag has definitely come off first at XYZ. Of course, purely random delivery will cause this to happen occasionally, but at some small and not so small airports the tags are used and the baggage is pre-sorted before it goes on the belt. If the handlers do this as a matter of course for other airlines, it can happen from habit for BA flights too.

Finally, if you look on ba <dot>com, you will not find priority baggage offered as a status benefit (it never has been AFAIK) and you will also not see priority baggage as a cabin benefit of CE (Club Europe)."

So in summary,

  1. If you fly BA mainly within Europe, nothing will have changed. Bags are not put in a seperate container so the chance of being first on the belts is random.
  2. Where it might impact Australia-based pax are for flights to London/Europe on BA metal from SYD. Presumably from other ports the QF/CX conditions kick in and your bags are tagged priority at check-in (assuming checked through to your final destination)
  3. If you're flying Trans-atlantic in Y and priority baggage is important to you, then perhaps consider AA, AY and AB instead.


16 Nov 2011

Total posts 596

Very true about inter Europe flights. When I lived there and used BA extensivly never got a tag on a short haul Europe flight even flying 'Club'. On the return most of the out stations tagged but meant nothing on arrival at Heathrow. But being mostly narrow body with many not taking luggage it wasn't a big issue at all, especially once T5 opened and had its bag bugs sorted.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Apr 2014

Total posts 32

Amazing - for me as a Star Alliance Gold FF - to hear that Oneworld didn't have these perks up until now.. We always get 20kg extra (or 1 piece extra), and always priority tags!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 40

I'd happily forgo that benefit for access to the First Class Lounges on One World when flying in a lower cabin class


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Sep 2013

Total posts 14

BA definitely considers priority tags as a token gesture - although if you are in First it nearly always makes a difference, no matter the destination. As an Emerald in F, you end up with 4 bags at 32kg each (for the whole itinerary, not just the First sector).

I've found AA will also give both an extra piece and extra weight (up to 32kg) on US domestic itineraries to OneWorld Emerald cardholders, even when not connecting to a BA international service. Their checkin agents are remarkably generous.

It's good to see Qantas finally stepping up to the plate here, although I'm assuming the exception of QantasLink will remain for those of us travelling off mainline QF services. I've had mixed results with BA Gold bypassing inbound excess baggage, even with a connecting flight and QF flight number.

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