Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold: the unofficial guide

By Chris Chamberlin, October 13 2014
Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold: the unofficial guide

This article is part of our ongoing Business Travel 101 series for newcomers to the world of business travel.

Gold status in the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme is often considered the 'sweet spot' in terms of the perks you get measured against the number of flights needed to pocket that shiny Gold card.

Among those perks: access to hundreds of great airport lounges around the world, a higher checked baggage allowance and an earning boost of 75% more Qantas points on eligible flights.

How to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold status

You'll have to clock up 700 status credits to gain a Gold card, but once that's done you need only 600 status credits per year to keep it.

You can earn those status credits for all Qantas flights and selected Jetstar flights (depending on what fare package you've bought); Oneworld member airlines such American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific; and also codeshare flights with partner airlines including Emirates, China Airlines, China Southern, Fiji Airways and Canada's WestJet.

(However, at least four of your yearly Gold-qualifying trips must be on flights carrying a Qantas QF code, or with Jetstar on fares that earn both points and status credits.)

700 status credits are equivalent to 35 return trips from Sydney to Melbourne on the cheaper economy fares, or nine return business class trips on the same route.

If you’re more of a globetrotter, Gold can be yours with just one return flight in first class or five treks in economy from Australia’s east coast to London with Qantas; three round-trips to Singapore or Hong Kong in business class; or even a monthly sprint to Asia in economy.

If over the years of your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership you travel enough to have earned 14,000 status credits, you'll be granted Lifetime Gold status.

Lounge access for Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold members

When travelling with Qantas domestically in economy, Gold members can access the Qantas Club lounges and also sign in one guest.

Headed overseas? You can start your journey from Australia at Qantas’ international business class lounges and also drop into the new Qantas lounges in LondonHong KongSingapore and Los Angeles.

The Qantas Hong Kong Lounge
The Qantas Hong Kong Lounge

You can also visit these international Qantas lounges when you're flying on a partner airline from Oneworld.

Your Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold card works the other way, too – it'll get you into the business lounges of British Airways, Cathay Pacific and other Oneworld airlines, along with most Emirates lounges whether travelling with Qantas or Emirates in economy, and the Fiji Airways Tabua Lounge in Nadi International Airport.

To see where you'll have lounge access on your next trip abroad, use Oneworld's handy lounge finder – just remember that Gold frequent flyers and other Oneworld Sapphire members can't access Oneworld first class lounges unless travelling in First.

Checked baggage allowance for Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold

Within Australia on Qantas domestic flights, Gold frequent flyers have a priority checked baggage allowance of 64kg on all economy and business class tickets, split across two bags at 32kg each.

These travellers also receive two free electronic Q Bag Tags to attach to their luggage, which can be used in lieu of a traditional paper baggage tag on many Aussie domestic hops.

On Qantas and Emirates international flights, the boost is an easy 16kg on top of the published fare limit – totalling 46kg in economy, 56kg in premium economy and business class, and 66kg in first class including the bonus, again with a priority tag in any class of travel.

Further abroad across the Oneworld alliance, Gold frequent flyers can pack an additional 15kg over and above the regular economy allowance, or can bring an additional checked bag where the 'piece' system is used, up to two bags in total.

(If the standard allowance includes one free checked bag, Gold members can bring two – and if no free checked baggage is usually offered, Gold members can bring one free bag, with the exception of BA's 'hand luggage only' fares.)

Some of the Oneworld airlines also provide generous allowances to Oneworld Sapphire and Qantas Gold frequent flyers over and above what's required...

British Airways gives Gold-grade frequent flyers – plus other travellers on the same reservation – an extra free checked bag when booked in economy on World Traveller, Euro Traveller and U.K. domestic fares (again, excludes 'hand luggage only'), and raises the weight limit per bag from 23kg to 32kg for the Gold member only whether stuck down the back or relaxing up the very front.

Stateside, both American Airlines and US Airways waive the usual fees on Qantas Gold members’ first two checked bags (up to 23kg per piece) and also extend that allowance to other travellers on the same booking, while Finnair allows one extra bag (up to 23kg) to be checked at no charge.

If a Gold member and their partner are jetting around on AA with two suitcases each, that’s an instant saving of $120 on every domestic journey within the USA, $130 between the States and Central America or $140 between the same and South America, and a cool $200 on flights from the USA to Europe.

More perks for Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold

Gold-grade frequent flyers earn 75% more points on Qantas, Jetstar, American Airlines and US Airways flights, including eligible codeshare services booked through Qantas, AA and US Air with non-alliance partners such as Emirates and Alaska Airlines.

With a Oneworld Sapphire gemstone on your Gold membership card, you’re free to use the business class priority check-in facilities across the Oneworld alliance and with Emirates, along with priority boarding on most services.

You’ll also be able to book regular seats on Qantas international journeys without paying the usual ‘advance seat selection’ fee – the same applies to travel companions booked on the same reservation.

Lesser-known Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold perks

When flying domestically with Qantas, Gold members who arrive at the airport flying in economy can request an ‘on departure upgrade’ to business class at the lounge service desk, which is particularly useful when travelling on a whim or where upgrades weren’t available online or over the phone.

These jetsetters also have a greater chance of using frequent flyer points to book a flight, with additional award seats available exclusively to Gold and Platinum members on selected services.

They appear online in the same way as any other award seat, although you may notice a vast difference in availability between what’s shown by default and what’s presented when you run that search again after logging into your account.

If you’re flying with Emirates – whether on an award seat or a regular ticket – you’ll also receive invitations wherever available to skip the queues at customs and immigration, which is normally reserved for Qantas Platinum members on the Flying Kangaroo.

Phone calls made to the Qantas Contact Centre are also handled with priority, as are any premium economy, business class and first class upgrades requests: processed after those from Platinum One and Platinum members on the same flight yet ahead of Silver, Qantas Club and Bronze travellers.

It’s also occasionally possible to switch flights at the airport without fronting up for the change fee or the fare difference, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

Read more:

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

19 Sep 2012

Total posts 12

British Airways also gives oneworld sapphire members up to 32kg baggag allowance (up from 23kg) and an extra bag in economy and premium for free.

Great pick-up rededeal, thanks – we've now added baggage details for BA.


19 Sep 2013

Total posts 170

I'm always puzzled by a possible paradox here: It's very difficult to obtain Gold by only flying economy. But if you fly Business and obtain Gold, it's not much value to you if you continue to only fly Business.

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

Probably aimed at those who fly Business for work and Economy for leisure.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1282

You do get extra points and status credits if you fly business as well and that counts big time, especially for keeping gold..

04 Aug 2014

Total posts 39

Many people fly business internationally and economy domestically.

In the long haul flight Gold status doesn't really provide anything valuable except for the lounge and extra baggage because the economy class is just as cramped as usual. 

In short domestic sector seat isn't a concern but the lounge access is rather important and you get to choose superior seats when booking the ticket.  


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2013

Total posts 125

Still not sure why they don't have priority boarding for gold in domestic. Having QFF Gold, I can board earlier with american (domestic). OW lists priority boarding for sapphire, even on QFF magazine onboard. How do they lose out? After all trying to get gold is not as easy as you all know. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

The answer is simple. The morning and evening peak business flights, e.g. the 6:00pm SYD-MEL, are packed to the hilt with elites, so if the Golds had priority boarding you would find that about half the plane would have priority boarding, which would defeat the purpose of it.

04 Aug 2014

Total posts 39

^This. Gold status isn't that hard to achieve especially for the business travellers. The chances are priority boarding would become meaningless if it opens up to Gold status. 



19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1282

In most places priority boarding where it occurs is open to Gold Status (Emirates it is Silver) - very handy on an A380 when one wants to gets one baggage up top. But in some domestic sectors it is also priorty as well. Just nice event when most Gold  et al want to be in the lounge and board last.  The big advantage of Gold is Lifetime Gold. One's dotage can be spent travelling with lounge access when the boss does not pay.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2013

Total posts 125

I can understand if platinum ones and platinum so don't like gold members getting priority, but after they are boadrded they can still offer gold and even silver before boarding regular passengers. AA does this well domestically. I noticed today that gold is out of favour for sydney domestic premium security lane. Has this just happened? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Golds haven't had priority security for over a year. I think they lost it at the same time Plats lost anytime access to the lounge, but I'm only a Silver eking out his existence on the occasional service recovery QP invite so please don't quote me on that.

Mind you, SYD T3 has multiple lanes in its central checkpoint, all of which are used in the peak. it also has a subsidiary checkpoint on the far side (i.e. furthest away from the AirportLink and Avro replica) that is open most of the day until mid-evening.

This is plenty of capacity and while there are lines in the morning rush, ordinary security at T3 is as fast as Express Path at T1, so you're not really losing out. (I've done them all at SYD, and T3 is a breeze.)

In any case, rather than try and board first, I'd focus on getting my work done in the lounge (or finishing my flat white - the Vittoria staff are good - or scoffing yet another decadent yoghurt with fruit and muesli).

Hi watson374,

Gold frequent flyers and Oneworld Sapphire members can still use priority screening where available at domestic Australian airports, although not at international airports.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

I stand corrected! Thanks, Chris.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Sep 2014

Total posts 4

Hey everyone! I just achieved gold & got my tags yesterday!!!!

Nice work Natski – enjoy your new perks!

30 Oct 2014

Total posts 12

Gold card holders should be ware that the American Airlines baggage benefits for gold card holders do NOT extend to travellers on the same booking when travelling on a domnestic sector as the rules have changed. I found this out the hard way when travelling from Mintreal to NY which is considered a domestic sector.

Hi Andrew,

I hope you kept your receipt to request a refund, as that's not what is being promoted by AA on its own website.

The published AA baggage rules state that the first and second checked bags are free for the following travellers:

  • Oneworld alliance Sapphire (Qantas Gold)
  • Customers flying on the same reservation as a... Sapphire member regardless of frequent flyer status or fare type (not applicable to group bookings)

  • These free checked bag allowances apply on flights marketed and operated by American Airlines, or on flights marketed by American Airlines and American Eagle service. American Eagle service is operated by Envoy Airlines Inc.

On the other hand, AAdvantage Gold members (the equivalent of Qantas Silver and Oneworld Ruby) and their guests no longer get two free checked bags if the booking was made on or after April 8 2014 - perhaps the agent was confused Qantas Gold (Oneworld Sapphire) and AA Gold (Oneworld Ruby)?

Full details here:


16 Oct 2014

Total posts 8

Hi All,

I would like to know if I can bring one guest along to any OneWorld or Emirates lounge with my QFF gold satus? Just achieved it for the first time this month and would like to put it to good use.


Hi leechangzhi,

Congratulations! If you can access the lounge (as in, if you're flying with the correct airline to grant you access to an Emirates or Oneworld lounge), you can indeed bring one guest in with you. Enjoy!

16 Oct 2014

Total posts 8

Thanks Chris!

One more question, how strict are the lounges about the one guest rule? What if I am travelling on the same itinary with two or three friends? Are they flexible with lounge access for all?

I understand all on the itinary will be welcomed to check in together at Business Class counters and given priorty baggage?


23 Jul 2015

Total posts 3

i'm gold status FF, can i access the int business lounge if flying non qantas/codeshare airlines??

This is covered in the article above – yes if the airline is a Oneworld partner (Cathay Pacific, British Airways etc.) or also Emirates and Jetstar, but not when flying with other airlines such as Singapore Airlines, for example.

23 Jul 2015

Total posts 3

so if im flying garuda from melbourne airport, i'm unable to access the lounge even with gold status?

That's correct, because Garuda isn't a Qantas or Oneworld partner.

If you were flying in Garuda business class or were booked in economy and a frequent flyer with a SkyTeam airline such as Garuda itself or Korean Air, Delta etc., you would have lounge access.

Another option in Melbourne would be to pay for access to the Air New Zealand lounge, which is $55 at the door.

I have a question about lounge access for gold members. I travel a lot on CX and KA through HKIA. On these flights I normally put my QFF number which gives me access to a lounge, however I don’t get any qantas points or status credits on fares that are cheaper than full economy. I’m also a member of Asiamiles, but with no status. I’m keen to find out if I can attach my asiamiles number to my tickets to build up my points, and still access the Qantas lounge in HK by showing my membership card? Anyone with experience doing this? Thank you in advance for any help on this question!

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold: the unofficial guide