Qantas is offering frequent flyers from Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines and over a dozen other airlines a status match into its own loyalty program.
The Qantas Status Fast Track promotion, which runs from today through to December 18 2020, gives applicants 90 days to lock down a full year of Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold status by earning just 100 status credits instead of the usual tally of 700 status credits.
In addition, within that initial 90 day challenge period, Gold-grade perks of lounge access and extra checked baggage are yours to enjoy.
However, Gold is all that's on offer. Even if you hold a higher tier in a competing airline's reward scheme, such as Platinum or Diamond or even Singapore Airlines' elite Solitaire PPS Club, there's no fast track to Qantas' shiny Platinum perch.
None the less, Qantas Gold status boasts practical benefits such as airport lounge access, a higher checked luggage allowance and priority treatment for you and your bags.
And it's rare to see Qantas running any wide-open status match promotion, as the airline usually runs 'under the radar' with its selective and typically invitation-only Qantas Tier Accelerator.
The reason Qantas is suddenly throwing down this Gold-plated gauntlet is obvious.
Without name-checking Virgin Australia, which has only just exited administration under new owners Bain Capital, Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth explains that "with so much uncertainty in the market, we’ve seen a spike in requests from people wanting us to match their status with other airlines."
“People know exactly what to expect when they fly with Qantas, whether it’s complimentary food and drinks, baggage, Wi-Fi or access to dozens of lounges around Australia," she says.
That's another sly dig at Virgin, which as it morphs into a mid-market carrier will adopt a 'buy on board' model for meals, snacks and drinks, maintain a noticeably smaller lounge network and is reviewing its once-free inflight WiFi.
But it's not only Virgin Australia in Qantas' crosshairs: the status match roster is ripe with 16 airlines across Asia and around the world, among them heavy-hitters such as Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, ANA, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, United Airlines and Air Canada.
Ready to make your move on the Qantas Status Fast Track promotion? Read on.
- How long does the Qantas Status Fast Track offer run for?
- Who is eligible for the Qantas Status Fast Track?
- Which airlines will Qantas status match against?
- What status does Qantas Status Fast Track offer?
- What are the key benefits of Qantas Gold status?
- Qantas Status Fast Track: 90 days of Gold-grade perks
- Earning a full year of Qantas Gold status
- How long does your fast-tracked Qantas Gold status last?
- How to apply for the Qantas Status Fast Track
- When to activate your Qantas Status Fast Track challenge
How long does the Qantas Status Fast Track offer run for?
This Qantas status match is live from today, Thursday November 25, through to Friday December 18, 2020.
That's just 25 days, and you know how busy things get in the final frantic weeks before Christmas, so don't wait too long.
Who is eligible for the Qantas Status Fast Track?
To begin with, you'll of course need to be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme. If you've not yet signed up, it's fast and – with the right promotional code – it's free.
Yes, there's a nominal $99.50 joining fee, but you can sidestep that through to January 31 2021 via www.qantas.com/freejoin.
You'll also need to make sure your Qantas Frequent Flyer profile lists an Australian postal address, as the Qantas Status Fast Track promotion is not available to QFF member whose address is outside of Australia.
Which airlines will Qantas status match against?
The Qantas Status Fast Track offer covers the following airlines and frequent flyer tiers.
- Air Canada: Aeroplan 50K, 75K and Super Elite
- Air China: Phoenix Miles Gold, Platinum
- Air India: Flying Returns Golden Edge Club, Maharajah Club
- Air New Zealand: Airpoints Gold, Elite
- ANA: Mileage Club Platinum, Diamond
- Asiana Airlines: Asiana Club Diamond, Diamond Plus, Platinum
- Delta Air Lines: Skymiles Gold Medallion, Platinum Medallion, Diamond Medallion
- Eva Air: Infinity MileageLands Gold Card, Diamond Card
- Etihad Airways: Etihad Guest Gold, Platinum
- Korean Air: Skypass Morning Calm Premium Club Card, Million Miler Club Card
- Shenzhen Airlines: PhoenixMiles Gold, Platinum
- Singapore Airlines: KrisFlyer Elite Gold, PPS Club, Solitaire PPS Club
- South African Airways: SAA Voyager Gold, Platinum
- Thai Airways: Royal Orchid Plus, Gold, Platinum
- United Airlines: MileagePlus Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, Premier 1K
- Virgin Australia: Velocity Gold, Platinum
It should go without saying that the Qantas Status Fast Track doesn't extend to other Oneworld airlines or partners such as Emirates and China Airlines.
What status does Qantas Status Fast Track offer?
As previously noted, regardless of whatever lofty status you may hold with an airline on the above list, Qantas is putting only Gold status in its own program on the table.
Of course, with that Qantas Gold card in hand you can work your way up to Qantas Platinum by earning the requisite 1,400 status credits in your membership year (and also notching up at least four flights with Qantas or Jetstar).
And as Qantas is a member of the Oneworld alliance, your Qantas Gold status is recognised on all Oneworld member airlines and packs similar perks such as access to business class lounges, priority check-in, boarding and baggage, and preferred seating.
This will come in very handy once international travel returns: for example, your Qantas Gold card opens the doors at most of Cathay Pacific's excellent lounges in Hong Kong and around the world.
In the Oneworld ladder, Qantas Gold is equivalent to Oneworld Sapphire. Here are some of the matching Oneworld member tiers:
- American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum, Platinum Pro
- British Airways Executive Club Silver
- Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Gold
- Finnair Plus Gold
- Japan Airlines Global Club, Global Club Crystal, Global Club Sapphire, Mileage Bank Sapphire
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich Gold
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club Gold
What are the key benefits of Qantas Gold status?
Here's a quick rundown of the ways that Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold status makes your travels a little smoother:
- Access to domestic Qantas Club lounges
- Access to international Qantas Business lounges and Premium lounges
- Priority check-in
- Priority baggage
- Extra checked baggage allowance
- Access to premium security lanes
- Priority boarding
- Preferred seating
- Preferential access to selected Qantas Classic Flight Reward seats
- On Departure Upgrade requests for domestic flights in Australia
- International Flight Classic Upgrade Reward Request Priority
- 75% more Qantas Points on eligible flights
- Matching Oneworld Sapphire status benefits on Oneworld partner airlines
Qantas Status Fast Track: 90 days of Gold-grade perks
The Qantas Status Fast Track promotion runs within a 90 days period.
During those 90 days, the airline says you'll "receive 90 days of complimentary access to the airline’s network of Qantas Club lounges and extra checked baggage."
This means you don't get temporary Gold status – just those two specific perks, on top of your normal Qantas status (Bronze or Silver).
A Qantas Frequent Flyer spokesperson explained to Executive Traveller that people embarking on the Qantas Status Fast Track challenge "get the access to the lounge and the extra checked baggage only for the three months while they earn the 100 status credits."
"If they don’t succeed, lounge access and extra checked baggage will end. If they do succeed, they will receive Qantas Gold Status officially with the full suite of benefits as per existing Qantas frequent flyers with that tier."
Earning a full year of Qantas Gold status
Once the clock has started on that 90 days, you need to rack up 100 Qantas status credits.
These can be earned with Qantas or Jetstar on domestic or international flights, or any Qantas partner airlines (including Emirates and Oneworld members), along with status credits earned on the ground.
Here are a few sample Qantas routes that'll get you over the hundred status credit hurdle:
- Sydney-Melbourne or Sydney-Brisbane: five return flights in discount economy; three return flights in flexible economy; or one return flight in business class plus another in discount economy.
- Melbourne-Brisbane: four return flights in discount economy; two return flights in flexible economy; or one return flight in business class.
- Melbourne-Cairns: one return flight in business class.
- East-west (Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to Perth, once the WA border fully reopens): three return flights in discount economy; one return flight in business class.
Qantas says that Gold membership will be activated within two business days of completing the 'challenge' flights and racking up those 100 status credits.
The Qantas App will reflect that Gold status right away, and members will also be sent a welcome pack with a proper Gold card.
How long does your fast-tracked Qantas Gold status last?
Qantas always offers a full 12 months at any status you achieve in your current membership year.
For example: if your Qantas Frequent Flyer member anniversary falls at the end of June, and you clock up those 100 status credits during the Qantas Status Fast Track challenge period in February 2021, you'll immediately be promoted to Qantas Gold status and keep that status through to June 2022.
If you join Qantas Frequent Flyer on the back of this promotion, and your newly-minted membership year ends in December 2021, then you'd stand to keep your Qantas Gold status through to December 2022.
How to apply for the Qantas Status Fast Track
Log into your Qantas Frequent Flyer account at Qantas.com and complete the online Expression of Interest form before 11:59pm (AEDT) December 18, 2020.
You can expect to hear back from Qantas via email within 10 business days, at which point you'll need to:
- provide a colour copy of your current frequent flyer program membership card (with a future expiry date) for the qualifying airline
- provide an activity statement for the last 18 months to demonstrate that you've earned that status with the qualifying airline.
Step 2 means that status achieved by family pooling of status credits, as a gift from another member or though another status match program won't pass muster for the Qantas Status Fast Track.
Finally, registering your interest in the Qantas Status Fast Track doesn't guarantee you'll be invited to take part.
The airline warns that it "reserves the right to decline the Expression of Interest and or cancel the Qantas Frequent Flyer membership and status if the documents provided are found not to be genuine and/or do not meet our requirements."
When to activate your Qantas Status Fast Track challenge
You don't have to begin the 90 day challenge period as soon as you're approved for Qantas Status Fast Track.
Obviously, if you've got some status-earning flights coming up, such as for the Christmas-New Year holidays, then jump right in.
But Qantas also makes provision for delaying this 90 day period until it better aligns with your travel schedule, which may be the case when it comes to business trips in early 2021.
Regardless of when you're approved for the Qantas Status Fast Track, you can start the 90 day period as late as March 31, 2021, which could see that 90 day challenge period run from April through June 2021 if you cut things fine.
With international travel expected to resume in early-mid 2021, this might open a window of opportunity to speed along the Qantas Status Fast Track with just one Sydney-Auckland business class return trip or one Sydney-Singapore premium economy return trip, for example.
To nominate your Qantas Status Fast Track start date, you'll need to reply to the email from the Qantas Frequent Flyer Service Centre confirming approval of your Expression of Interest, and provide at least 10 business days' notice to activate the 90 day period.
For more information on the Qantas Status Fast Track offer, click through to qantas.com/statusfasttrack.