As the newest member of the Oneworld alliance, SriLankan Airlines says Ayubowan! to Qantas Frequent Flyers jetting to the Indian subcontinent for either business or the cricket, who can now earn and burn points on Sri Lanka's national airline.
Current earning rates on SriLankan resemble those of Malaysia Airlines – the number of points you can earn varies by not only which cabin you're flying, but also which cities you're flying between.
On selected routes, your haul won't even reach one point per mile in business class – travellers at the pointy end will rake in just 0.75 points per mile flown with no cabin bonus between Australia and Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Middle East, the UK and Europe.
Similar rates apply for travel originating in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, with even full economy seeing just 0.25 points per mile on the same routes.
With that in mind, Qantas frequent flyers can now earn points for travel on UL-coded domestic and international flights at the following rates:
These earning rates apply on both SriLankan flights and codeshare services operated by Oneworld partner airlines – flights taken on Etihad Airways with a UL code won't earn you anything with Qantas.
How many points could I earn?
If you've landed in Singapore and are travelling onwards to Colombo with SriLankan, you’ll earn roughly 2,136 Qantas points and 80 status credits in business, or about 427 points on most economy fares, with 20 status credits on the side.
Similarly, if you've chosen to fly through Bangkok before boarding for Colombo, you'll grab the same number of status credits as flying through Singapore. Given the shorter distance though, your points bounty will be slightly less – roughly 1,858 points in business and 371 points down the back.
SriLankan doesn’t have premium economy or first class, nor does it fly to Australia. Therefore, the reduced earning rates earmarked for travel between Australia and selected destinations only apply if you're booked on a codeshare flight.
If you're zooming from Sydney to either Bangkok or Singapore on Qantas and booked a QF flight number for that leg, you'll earn points at the usual Qantas rates until you reach that city, before earning points for the onward flight at the SriLankan rates.
On July 1 2014, these earning rates are likely to change as an overhaul of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program takes effect – although the new figures haven't yet been released by the Red Roo.
In addition to a shake-up of points, status credits will be slashed on SriLankan and Qantas' other Oneworld partners – including Oneworld's newest member.
The new rates see that Singapore to Colombo flight pulling in 60 status credits in business and just 15 status credits in discount economy, with the Bangkok to Colombo leg mirroring that of Singapore.
Booking a Qantas points-earning fare on SriLankan
It's not easy to spot your booking class on SriLankan’s website, but it's there if you know where to look.
You'll find a link to "fare basis information" on the 'review' page during the booking process, returning something like this:
Your 'fare bucket' is the first letter, so in this case, it'd be V. Armed with these details, cross-reference the table on the Qantas website to see how many points you'll earn, based on the distance of your flight.
If you spot an S, N, Q or O at the beginning, you won't earn any points at all, so avoid these if you can.
You'll also be able to rake in double Qantas Points on SriLankan Airlines flights as Qantas welcomes the airline into the global alliance – you'll just need to register for the offer and travel between May 15 and June 30 2014.
Burning Qantas points on SriLankan flights
Naturally, Qantas frequent flyers are now free to spend their hard-earned points on a cricket voyage to Sri Lanka, onwards to Europe and across SriLankan's wider network.
That flight from Singapore to Colombo would set you back 20,000 points in economy or 38,000 points in business – as would a trip from Bangkok to Colombo.
If you're UK-bound, SriLankan's direct Colombo-London Heathrow flight can be booked for 42,000 points in economy or 78,000 for a lie-flat bed on SriLankan's A330s.
You'll save a few extra points by choosing Rome over London – it's 35,000 points down the back, or 65,000 points up the front, which is a respectable saving on a return trip.
Chris Chamberlin visited Sri Lanka for SriLankan Airlines' Oneworld joining ceremony as a guest of Oneworld, SriLankan Airlines and Qantas Airways.
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