Getting started with Qantas Frequent Flyer: points, perks and more

Qantas Frequent Flyer members can earn points both in the air and on the ground, and enjoy perks as they climb the status ladder.

By Chris Chamberlin , August 19 2020
Getting started with Qantas Frequent Flyer: points, perks and more

As one of Australia's largest loyalty programs, Qantas Frequent Flyer isn't only for people who fly – it also rewards those who spend on the ground.

Whether it's making purchases using a credit card, doing the weekly grocery shop or indeed, taking to the skies, here's your 101 guide to Qantas Frequent Flyer.

 

What is Qantas Frequent Flyer?

Qantas Frequent Flyer is the loyalty program of Qantas Airways, and allows its members to earn and spend points on a variety of flights, upgrades, and other experiences: both with Qantas, and its web of partners in the air and on the ground.

While Qantas also operates other membership 'Clubs' – that is, Qantas Club and Qantas Points Club, as well as the invitation-only Chairman's Lounge program – these memberships are linked to a traveller's Qantas Frequent Flyer membership, rather than being offshoot loyalty programs themselves.

Qantas Business Rewards, on the other hand, is a separate rewards program operated exclusively for businesses, but from which the points earned can be given to any personal Qantas Frequent Flyer member.

How to join Qantas Frequent Flyer

Fees normally apply to join the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme: expect to pay $99.50 as an Australian resident, or NZ$60 as a New Zealand resident, when joining directly via the Qantas website.

However, you don't actually need to pay those fees. Through its many partnerships, Qantas Frequent Flyer membership is often available free of charge.

Through one of Qantas' most popular partners on the ground, Woolworths, anybody in Australia can join Qantas Frequent Flyer with no joining fee: just click here, and get a Qantas Frequent Flyer membership number instantly. 

Where and how can I earn Qantas Points?

Qantas Points can be earned via a range of activities, both relating to travel and in less obvious places.

Earn Qantas Points on flights, hotels, car hire

As a Qantas Frequent Flyer member, you'll be able to earn Qantas Points when you take flights with Qantas and QantasLink, as well as with Qantas Group airline Jetstar when booked on eligible fare types.

Qantas Points can also be earned when travelling with other Oneworld alliance airlines – a roster that includes American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and more – and with other partnered airlines, such as Air France, China Eastern, Emirates, KLM and more.

Through the Roo's hotel partnerships, Qantas Points can be earned in one of two ways: either by making hotel reservations through the Qantas Hotels website, or via the loyalty programs of various hotel chains.

Earning Qantas Points on car hire is similar: either you'll earn Qantas Points by making the booking through Qantas, or directly from a participating hire car provider.

Earn Qantas Points on banking and shopping

Whether you're visiting a local store or shopping online, you may be able to earn Qantas Points, too.

By paying for purchases using a points-earning credit card, shoppers can typically earn a certain number of points per dollar spent on that card.

Read: Best Qantas Frequent Flyer credit card sign-up offers

The Qantas Shopping website is another way you can turbocharge your points balance, as you can double-dip.

Simply click through Qantas Shopping when you shop online to earn Qantas Points, and pay for those purchases using points-earning plastic, to unlock even more rewards.

Earn Qantas Points on food, wine and leisure

One of Qantas Frequent Flyer's most popular partnerships is with Woolworths' Everyday Rewards program, through which members can earn Qantas Points on their grocery spends at Woolworths, as well as its other retailers including Big W, BWS and Caltex Woolworths.

Beyond Woolies, members can earn Qantas Points by making restaurant reservations via the Qantas website, on food deliveries with Uber Eats (via the Uber Rewards program), and more.

The Qantas Wine store also provides a pouring of Qantas Points with every eligible order.

Earn Qantas Points on bills, utilities and other expenses

From insurance and energy through to everyday expenses like fuel and chemist purchases, chances are, you'll be able to earn even more Qantas Points.

On the insurance front, Qantas Insurance offers a range of health, car, life and travel insurance policies, and for energy, Red Energy supplies both electricity and gas – all of which can earn you Qantas Points.

Need to top-up your car's tank? Drive by BP and top-up your Qantas Points balance at the same time – and, if you need to pop by a pharmacy, you can also collect Qantas Points at TerryWhite Chemmart in association with the TerryWhite Chemmart Rewards program.

There are many other ways to earn Qantas Points, too: check the Qantas website for the program's latest earning partners. 

How many Qantas Points can I earn?

The number of Qantas Points you'll earn from eligible activities depends on a number of things.

Depending on the source of those points, this could be based on the number of dollars spent (particularly when it comes to credit cards), or may be based on other factors such as the distance flown and the type of fare purchased, when travelling by air.

When there's a points 'conversion' involved – that is, where you earn points in one loyalty program, and convert them into Qantas Points – the conversion rate applied to those transfers will indicate how many points you earn.

For example, through the Woolworths Everyday Rewards program, shoppers normally earn one Everyday Rewards point per $1 spent, and once 2,000 Everyday Rewards points have been earned, these can be swapped for 1,000 Qantas Points.

That's a 2:1 conversion rate – 2 Everyday Rewards points = 1 Qantas Point – and is equal to 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.

Given Qantas Frequent Flyer boasts hundreds of earning partners, and earning rates can also change from time to time, it wouldn't be practical to list them all here. Take a look at the Qantas website for more information.

What are Qantas status credits?

In the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, members can earn both Qantas Points and Qantas status credits. Both are numerical figures, but are two completely different things.

Qantas Points can be directly spent on rewards: such as using your Qantas Points to book a flight, or secure and upgrade.

On the other hand, Qantas status credits are simply a measure of your progress through the Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyer tiers.

Unlike points, status credits can't be cashed in or spent: but if you earn enough of these status credits, you can improve your frequent flyer status, and unlock benefits like priority check-in, airport lounge access and more.

What are the Qantas Frequent Flyer membership tiers?

All Qantas Frequent Flyer members begin at Bronze status, and this is where they remain for the duration of their membership, unless they earn enough status credits to move up to a higher level.

Status credits are most often earned by flying, but can occasionally be earned on the ground – typically via one-off promotions, such as by signing up to an eligible new credit card, and meeting the spend requirements.

Here's how many status credits you need to reach each level.

Tier / requirements

Status credits to earn

Status credits to retain

Silver

300

250

Gold

700

600

Platinum

1,400

1,200

Platinum One

3,600 (of which at least 2,700 must be on Qantas marketed flights)

3,600 (of which at least 2,700 must be on Qantas marketed flights)

Lifetime Silver

7,000

No further flying required to retain

Lifetime Gold

14,000

No further flying required to retain

Lifetime Platinum

75,000

No further flying required to retain

For most tiers, these figures above are per membership year, while for the lifetime tiers, these are measured across the lifetime of your total membership (multiple years).

Each 'membership year' is a 12-month period that begins in the month in which you first join Qantas Frequent Flyer, which then renews every year in the same month.

This means each 'membership year' won't necessarily align with a typical calendar year (January to December). Your membership year might instead be September to August, for example.

What are the benefits of Qantas Frequent Flyer status

As you climb the status ladder, you'll be given access to an increasing range of privileges when you fly with Qantas and its partner airlines.

Because the benefits can sometimes be different depending on the airline operating the flight, here's an overview of the core benefits you can expect when travelling with Qantas:

  • Silver and Lifetime Silver: Priority check-in, additional checked baggage on most Qantas flights, 50% points bonus on eligible flights
  • Gold and Lifetime Gold: Benefits of Silver plus priority boarding, airport lounge access (where available), and a 75% points bonus on eligible flights
  • Platinum and Lifetime Platinum: Benefits of Silver and Gold plus access to higher-tier airport lounges (where available: such as domestic Qantas Business Lounges and international Qantas First Lounges), as well as 100% points bonus on eligible flights.
  • Platinum One: All the benefits of Silver, Gold and Platinum, plus a complimentary Platinum membership for a family member or friend, the highest upgrade priority, access to a dedicated Platinum One Team, complimentary extra legroom seating, and more.

Notably, the perks between lifetime status and its 'yearly' equivalent are the same: Lifetime Gold members enjoy the same privileges as regular Gold cardholders, for example.

These are just some of the perks of status – you'll find many more waiting for you at various stages of your journey. 

Do Qantas Points expire?

Members who regularly earn and spend Qantas Points will find that their balance never expires.

That's because a member's Qantas Points only expire if there has been no eligible activity on the account for an 18-month period.

As long as the member earns or spends at least one point every 18 months (or 17 months, to be safe) any and all points in the member's account continue to be valid.

Earning Qantas Points can be as easy as shopping at Woolworths, converting a few points across from a hotel or car hire loyalty program, or collecting Qantas Points via an eligible credit card.

How do I spend and redeem Qantas Points?

Qantas Points can be spent in many of the same ways as they are earned.

For instance, Qantas Points can be used to book flights, to purchase gift cards or other merchandise, or to book hotels and car hire.

The number of Qantas Points needed will again depend on a number of factors: for flights, it depends on the airline operating the flight, the distance of the journey, and the cabin class selected (whether that's first class, business class, premium economy or economy).

Other items such as gift cards and merchandise will be influenced by the value of that item or the gift card: you'd need more Qantas Points to secure a new flatscreen TV compared to a toaster, for example.

However, in those circumstances, there's no set exchange rate between Qantas Points and cash, so you may find your points stretching further on one item, and less so on another, versus the price you might pay in cash for the same item in a store.

Separate to outright bookings and purchases, Qantas Points can also be used to secure upgrades on eligible flights. Where available, upgrades are possible as follows:

  • Economy to premium economy
  • Economy to business class
  • Premium economy to business class
  • Business class to first class

Upgrades are never possible from economy or premium economy to first class, and even where upgrades are possible, the traveller needs to be booked onto an eligible fare type, and on international flights, Qantas doesn't decide whether to grant the upgrade until close to departure.

Read: The ultimate Qantas upgrade guide: how they work and how to get them

What's the best way to spend Qantas Points?

There's no such thing as a 'bad' way of spending Qantas Points – after all, a point spent is better than a point expired – but some ways of using Qantas Points are certainly better than others.

Many frequent flyers swear by using their Qantas Points for flights or upgrades, as opposed to spending them on merchandise: finding they get better value from their points in this way.

While traditional advice was to avoid booking economy class flights using Qantas Points – given the number of points needed was high, as were the taxes, fees and charges payable on these tickets – using points to fly down the back is now a little more attractive, given Qantas' reductions in both the points required and in those fees back in 2019.

Still, the 'best' way of spending Qantas Points will be different for different people.

Some may enjoy saving cash on the cost of their travels by using points to book not only flights, but hotels and hire cars, too, while others may instead prefer to purchase their flights with cash, and hope their points can land them an upgrade to a higher cabin than they'd paid for.

Also read: Using Qantas Points to upgrade vs. booking flights with points 

Do I need a Qantas Frequent Flyer card?

Qantas Frequent Flyer offers both physical and digital membership cards to its members.

While physical cards can be handy on the road – particularly when travelling overseas – digital cards can also be convenient, with the added advantage of being updated quickly when your frequent flyer status changes.

In some cases, you'll need to scan your Qantas Frequent Flyer card barcode (from either the physical or digital card) to earn points, such as at BP.

Read: Everything you need to know about the Qantas, BP partnership

For members based in Australia, the back of the physical Qantas Frequent Flyer card can also serve as a pre-paid travel money card, but there's no requirement to activate or use it.

Frequently asked questions

Can you join two Qantas Frequent Flyer accounts?

Each person will have their own Qantas Frequent Flyer account. It's not possible to have one account for multiple people, nor is it possible to 'pool' points and status credits in the way that members of the rival Velocity Frequent Flyer program can.

However, each member can earn points, and can transfer points to members of their immediate family, including their domestic partner.

This potentially allows parents to sign their young children up to Qantas Frequent Flyer prior to a family holiday, allowing every member of the family to earn Qantas Points from the flights being taken, and can later transfer the child's Qantas Points into their own account. 

Can you use Qantas Points to upgrade on other airlines?

For the most part, using Qantas Points to upgrade flights is only possible on Qantas aircraft, with two exceptions.

Those exceptions are eligible Qantas codeshare flights operated by Aircalin and LATAM on international routes to and from Australia. However, upgrades using Qantas Points aren't possible on other partners like Emirates.

Later in 2020 or in 2021, the Oneworld alliance hopes to introduce alliance-wide points-based upgrades, which would potentially allow a Qantas Frequent Flyer member to use points for upgrades on Cathay Pacific or Qatar Airways, for example, but this hasn't yet been locked down.

Read: Oneworld plans alliance-wide business, first class upgrades

Can you convert credit card points into Qantas Points?

Of the Australian credit cards that can earn Qantas Points, most require the cardholder either to have chosen a Qantas-branded card from that card issuer (such as having an HSBC Qantas credit card, as opposed to a regular rewards card), or to have opted-in to the direct earning of Qantas Points (such as Qantas Frequent Flyer Direct, via Commonwealth Bank).

A very small number of cards instead provide the ability to manually convert credit card points into Qantas Points, at a time and quantity of the cardholder's choosing.

While more common on business credit cards, as far as personal cards are concerned, the American Express Platinum Charge Card is the only personal card in the Australian market still open to new applicants, where such transfers are possible.

Also read: Best Qantas Frequent Flyer credit card sign-up offers

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.


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