Qantas will offer another free year of status to frequent flyer members living outside of Australia and New Zealand, on top of the bonus year rolled out in March 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The airline this week announced that its Qantas Frequent Flyer members based in Australia and New Zealand would be eligible to retain their current Silver, Gold, Platinum or Platinum One status throughout 2021 – and in some cases to the end of 2022 – with just a single flight.
However, while that generous arrangement covers the bulk of the airline's 13 million frequent flyers, a significant cohort – in both number and status – live in the airline's overseas markets of Asia, the USA and the UK.
For those distant members, the option of hopping on even one Qantas flight is out of reach.
Solving the international status problem
The airline doesn't expect international flights to resume until the first half of 2021, and those will likely be limited to COVID-safe 'travel bubble' countries such as New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce has previously forecast that the airline's flagship routes to the USA and the UK aren't likely to resume until at least the end of 2021 and would depend on widespread uptake of a vaccine.
With that global disconnect in mind, Qantas will follow the simplest possible option of giving those overseas members an automatic 12-month status extension if their 2021 status reset date is between 31 March 2021 and 31 December 2021.
This will apply to all Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One members; those holding complimentary Gold membership or complimentary Platinum membership from a Platinum One member; and those whose membership is currently on status hold.
Qantas says that for overseas residents whose status end date is 31 January 2022 or 28 February 2022, "to support your ability to retain your status in 2022, you will still be gifted 50% of your annual status credits needed to keep your status as part of the Status Credit Boost previously announced."
There'll also be a rollover of status credits from the March-December 2021 membership year to help kick-start their 2022 status, along the same lines as for Australian and New Zealand members.
The maximum number of status credits that will be rolled over are:
- Silver: 100
- Gold: 250
- Platinum: 500
- Platinum One: 1,800
For all the details, follow this link to the Qantas Frequent Flyer website.
International lounges to open in 2021
As previously reported, Qantas is also eager to reopen its international lounges as overseas travel returns.
"We'll reopen our international lounges as soon as there's enough commercial demand, particularly at Sydney and Melbourne, if they're the likely Australian ports" for travel bubbles, Qantas Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully told Executive Traveller.
There's also a chance that the first class lounges at Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore might open ahead of their business class counterparts, and serve as a single space for all lounge-worthy Qantas travellers
"It will depend on what the demand looks like," Tully says.
"If the commercial demand is is not large, because the bubble is more contained, it makes sense to open the more premium lounge."