Qantas introduces frequent flyer 'status hold' for new parents

By David Flynn, April 12 2016
Qantas introduces frequent flyer 'status hold' for new parents

Qantas is adding a 'parental leave' pause for frequent flyer status and boosted the ability to share points via the family transfers in the latest upgrades to the airline's loyalty scheme.

Silver, Gold and Platinum-grade frequent flyers – but perhaps contentiously, not Platinum One members – who are taking taking time out from flying to raise a child can apply to have their status frozen at the current level for up to 18 months.

However, even if they take some flights during that period they'll still enjoy all the associated status perks such as lounge access, priority checkin and preferred seating options – making this an exceptionally generous scheme.

The criteria? You'll need to be taking "at least six consecutive months off paid employment," Qantas says, and both parents can apply.

The parental leave status freeze covers

  • one or more babies due to be born within the next three months or were born in the last six months
  • foster parents caring for a child within the next three months or who have started caring for a child within the last six months
  • parents adopting a child within the next three months or who have adopted a child within the last six months

Members can apply for a status hold twice during any five year period.

Qantas says the changes have been prompted by feedback from members wanting more flexibility from their Qantas Frequent Flyer membership, especially when they take parental leave and are more ‘grounded’ than normal.

"A new addition to a family is an exciting time, so this initiative means new parents don’t have to worry about losing their hard earned membership benefits for up to 18 months," explains Qantas Loyalty CEO Lesley Grant.

“We recognise that all families are a bit different, so Status Hold will apply to men and women and those welcoming a foster or adopted child,” Grant adds.

Click through to the Qantas website for more details and to apply for a status hold.

Qantas' competitor Virgin Australia has long offered a similar status hold scheme, with a six month pause followed by 12 months at your previous status before the status credit count is re-assessed.

Virgin also extends its parental leave provision to children aged to two years.

Family transfers also boosted

Qantas is also increasing the points limit on family transfers and removing the restriction on the number of transfers.

Members can now transfer up to 600,000 Qantas Points each year to eligible family members, compared to the previously 400,000 points per year limit.

The cap of 100,000 points per transfer has also been axed, so you can now max out your annual 600,000 point transfer limit in a single massive points-donation.

Likewise, there's no longer a limit to the number of family transfers per year – a figure previously pegged at four transfers of up to 100,000 points each – although there's still a minimum transfer of 5,000 points.

Read: The five best credit cards for earning Qantas Frequent Flyer points

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

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 478

Be nice if they'd allow SC's to be transferred amongst family members!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 11

Really dont understand the 'parental leave pause'. So many other things they could do to reward their loyal customers which would have a greater impact of continuing loyalty from their most loyal customers, like only resetting lifetime Gold status members status credits each year to the Gold Status credit level which would provide incentive for these lifetime loyal customers to fly Qantas to attain Platinum. 

18 Apr 2015

Total posts 68

I don't like how so often people jump down your throat on this website if you offer a different perspective. I think the taking into account of lifetime status is a great idea. 

Qantas could actually offer both/other options. IE let customers choose which benefits suit them (by opting into from a range of options).

Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

Amazing! Qantas introduces two great benefits, especially 18 months Status Hold during which you can STILL use your status, and the first two comments are people complaining? How incredibly ungrateful some people are.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 478

I wasn't complaining Mal and nor do I think James's comment was a complaint.

I was simply suggesting an addition that would enhance the value of the program

25 Jul 2011

Total posts 12

Great if your a parent of young kids. But if you aren't a parent or your parental leave days are in the past it's not of much interest.

Now family pooling as offered by Velocity is a great member benefit and would prompt me to return to QF.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

Via transfers its fairly easy to pool points, just not SCs.

If QF enabled SC pooling/transfers I expect they would raise the bar at the same time, so I tend to prefer it the way it is.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 478

Good call Moa - does Virgin allow SC pooling? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Feb 2016

Total posts 47

If Qantas introduced family pooling for SC I wouldn't leave and also would start paying for my partners J flights rather than using rewards and upgrades. At present I am able to retain Virgin P without actually flying with them very often, the family pooling gets it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 56

Call me a crotchety old git, but I think Qantas is rewarding the wrong members here. I'm 60 and retired early after a lifetime of long-haul and frequent flights for both business and pleasure. Now having the good fortune to be able to have a "Senior Gap Year" or two in Europe, the minute I leave Australia and have no opportunity to fly Qantas for the next 18- to 24-months, my Status Credits expire and I am dropped down a tier of two. Why can't I suspend my Status yet someone who is at the early stages of their career (assuming new parents are in their 30s or 40s) can do so? I cry discrimination. And I think Qantas has opened the proverbial can of worms here. I, for one, will be writing a blistering letter of complaint. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

Nothing has changed for you.

On your 'gap' year you could easily retain Qantas status by flying on other oneworld airlines in Europe - eg. BA, Air Berlin, Iberia, S7 and soon Aer Lingus

If you had truly been a lifetime frequent flyer, you would already have Lifetime Status.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 56

I'm already Lifetime Silver, and living in Europe means I can take trains virtually everywhere which is a HUGE difference from living in Australia where every time you travel out of the country it is necessarily by air. Trains give us more time, flexibility, and a chance to see something of the local scenery. 

My point still stands...rewarding newbies while the rest of us life timers are definitely NOT rewarded.

Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

Peggy, what makes you think that parents with newborns will be "newbies"? I know plenty of people starting a family in their early 30s where both parents have been flying for over a decade with Qantas. Yes they're "newbies" compared to people twice their age but if you were a "high flyer" like them when you were starting your family I suspect you would wish that Qantas had the same "status hold" in place and you would have welcomed it.

This isn't intended to cover anybody but parents, and I don't see why it should, because then it starts to creep to cover over-60s on holidays, and retirement, and loss of work due to illness, and loss of work due to being unemployed, and mature-age students choosing study over career, before you know it everybody is getting a "status hold".

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 56

YES! That's my point...why only parents? What gives them precedence over the rest of us? Why not offer (as both Medibank and Vodafone did) the opportunity to suspend your membership whilst you're away, regardless of the reason. 

Because most of my flights were international and not strictly on One World, I've only reached Lifetime Silver, but my ten-year Gold status disappeared when I came to Europe.  

18 Apr 2012

Total posts 33

wow talk about want want want! Here's a tip, it isn't discrimination.. I hate it when people just bandy that word around. 

So Qantas have already rewarded your loyalty with Lifetime Silver so you won't ever drop below that. and really to keep Qantas gold is not that hard if you are already overseas. 

By your token then people could ask for a status hold if their job changed, made redundant, the list goes on. They have bettered something that was already out there (Virgin Australia).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 56

I'm childfree. 

18 Apr 2012

Total posts 33

So? Qantas have rewarded you for your "lifetime" of flying with Lifetime silver.. And your hand is still out! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 56

Yes, it is. Qantas didn't "give" me those points. I earned them.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 41

Peggy QF are not rewarding newbies. I do not see that at all. They are offering parental leave/pause. Discrimination?? It's far from that.

QF have always looked at a change of circumstances on a case by case basis. I don't think taking a year off and travelling Europe would merit a favorable review but that option is always open to you by emailing Qantas frequent flyer.

 The status worth having with QF is Lifetime Gold. If the majority of your lifetime flights were on QF/OW then you should pursue that beyond your lifetime silver membership.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 56

I can't see any difference between taking eighteen months off to travel, or eighteen months off for a sabattical, or eighteen months off to have a child, or eighteen months off to care for an elderly relative. Why not offer a one-time-only leave/pause for everyone?

18 Apr 2012

Total posts 33

and I'll point out if you had a lifetime of flying Qantas - you'd be lifetime gold already. I've been a member since 1995, but really didn't travel much until 2005, now 10 years later I am almost lifetime gold. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Aug 2014

Total posts 76

Good one Qantas, When I fell ill and had to get rushed to hospital for emergency sergery 5 days before my flight to Hong Kong from Sydney to keep my platunim status for another year also, all I got from Qantas was we are sorry but we can't let you hold your platiunim status and dumped me down to gold after been a platunim member for over 6 years with Qantas.

 

21 Aug 2015

Total posts 90

Too little too late.............the old Red Kanga really never does much for the loyal customer. Still well behind Virgin. They lost me years ago. Loyalty and Qantas is an oxymoron. 

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 118

Does seem a bit biased to one lifestyle choice.

If one takes a sabatical or steps out to set up their own business or heaven forbid takes time off to care for an elderly parent Qantas gives nothing.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas introduces frequent flyer 'status hold' for new parents