Qantas Lifetime Gold Frequent Flyer Guide

Lifetime Gold status means lounge access and a raft of really useful perks to enjoy for the rest of your days.

By Staff Writers, August 4 2020
Qantas Lifetime Gold Frequent Flyer Guide

Lifetime Gold status with the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is the goal of many business travellers and high flyers, and with good reason.

Holding that shiny card, with no risk of ever again being relegated, means you get all the prized Gold-grade perks – such as priority check-in, a more generous checked baggage allowance, airport lounge access, bonus points and a higher spot in the pecking order for upgrades – for the rest of your life.

Forget about trying to re-qualify each and every year: once you have enough status credits for Lifetime Gold, that card and its many benefits are yours to enjoy forever, regardless of how often you fly. You’ve done the hard work and now it’s time to enjoy the spoils.

Of course, you'll also enjoy similar benefits on all other airlines in the Oneworld alliance for all of your remaining days, such as access to the business class lounges of British Airways, Cathay Pacific, JAL, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and more, even when you're flying economy.

Qantas Lifetime Gold status is clearly a goal worth pursuing, so here's how to map out your strategy to get there.

 

How to earn Qantas Lifetime Gold status

Earning Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold status for the first time requires 700 status credits just for one year, and then 600 status credits each year after that to keep it.

But while your annual status credit count is wiped clean at the start of each membership year, the total number of status credits accumulated across the life of your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership is your tally for lifetime status.

To reach Lifetime Gold you'll need 14,000 status credits, which if you only aim to hit the minimum needed to retain Gold, will take you 24 years to achieve. Make no mistake, that's a lot of flying.

Smile: you're on your way to earning Qantas Lifetime Gold...
Smile: you're on your way to earning Qantas Lifetime Gold...

It’s the equivalent of 175 business class return trips between Sydney and Melbourne; 56 return business class treks between Sydney and Singapore; or 24 return business class jaunts to London (travelling with Qantas on a QF flight number).

Naturally, a frequent international traveller who typically flies in business class or first class will find it easier – and faster – to reach Lifetime Gold than somebody primarily flying within Australia on the lowest-cost economy class fares, which earn far fewer status credits.

Lifetime Gold: can it be reached in your lifetime?

Begin by checking your lifetime status progress via the Qantas website: log in using your frequent flyer details, head to the ‘Your Account’ page, scroll down and click on “See Activity” to check your overall membership activity for the life of your membership.

A harsh reality is that only the most frequent travellers will ever ascend to the ranks of Lifetime Gold, so before you embark on the journey, doing a few quick sums now can save much disappointment later.

Qantas' International Transit Lounge in Perth.
Qantas' International Transit Lounge in Perth.

Let’s say you’re a high flyer in your mid-30s with a lifetime balance of around 4,000 status credits. You plan to do most of your business travel over the next five years before winding things back to spend more time at home.

To reach Lifetime Gold by the end of that five-year period you’d need to earn an average of 2,000 status credits every year. If that's do-able, then go for it.

However, if you’re the type who only just manages to scrape together 600 status credits each year to retain year-on-year Gold status, you’d need to keep that up for just over 15 years (assuming you started with 4,000 lifetime status credits already under your belt) to reach your target. That's a much tougher task, so be realistic about your expectations.

As a fall back, Lifetime Silver membership is yours after racking up a total of 7,000 status credits, but the relatively meagre benefits such as priority check-in and a single Qantas lounge pass each year make this more of a 'mile marker' on the road to Lifetime Gold than a goal in its own right.

Can you fast-track to Lifetime Gold?

Status credits, not frequent flyer points, are the key to Lifetime Gold - so every time you book a flight, consider all of your options and how those options will affect your haul of status credits.

For example, Qantas 'flexible' fares in economy, premium economy and business class can earn up to twice as many status credits as lower-priced tickets although they don’t necessarily cost twice as much (and they're often better suited to business travellers and their changeable schedules).

Malaysia Airlines business class earns status credits only at economy rates...
Malaysia Airlines business class earns status credits only at economy rates...

You'll end up with a higher number of status credits per dollar spent (and per flight), which makes flexi fares particularly useful if a client is picking up the bill.

Your choice of airline and flight number is also important: you’ll generally earn the highest number of status credits on flights booked via Qantas (with a QF flight number) and a reduced number of status credits on flights booked via partner airlines.

Book a journey directly with Emirates under an EK flight number, for instance, and you’ll actually earn no status credits at all (along with a much smaller serve of frequent flyer points).

Another notable example: a Malaysia Airlines business class and business suites (first class) ticket from Australia earns Qantas status credits at the much lower flexible economy rate.

The gap becomes more noticeable on longer trips such as between Sydney and London: a business class return trip flying with Emirates but on a QF flight number nets a solid 590 status credits, but choosing to fly the same route with British Airways returns a lower 280 status credits.

Also keep your eyes peeled for any bonus status credit deals which may land in your inbox from time to time: there's typically an extra 50% or even 100%  of status credits if you book within the promotion period, even if the flights are up to a year in advance.

Benefits available on all Oneworld member airlines

Achieving Lifetime Gold status with Qantas Frequent Flyer carries with it a variety of benefits which apply to all Oneworld member airlines, of which Qantas is one. Get used to them too as they'll now apply every time you fly with one of them for the rest of your life.

Your Lifetime Gold status means you can travel with more luggage than your ticket states.
Your Lifetime Gold status means you can travel with more luggage than your ticket states.

For example, on international flights anywhere except North or South America, the weight-based system applies and you can take 20 kilograms more than what your ticket otherwise states. So if flying Economy and your ticket says 46kgs, make that 66kgs.

If you're heading to North or South America, the piece system takes effect, meaning you can take one extra bag of up to 32kgs. Some exceptions do apply, such as Basic fares with British Airways.

Domestically, grab an extra suitcase from the cupboard as Qantas doubles your allowance from one to two pieces up to 32kgs irrespective of whether you're flying economy or business class.

Of course, bear in mind that if you have any regional flights operated by Dash-8 aircraft, weight restrictions take priority and your excess luggage may be sent on other flights or as freight.

What's next for Qantas frequent flyers with Lifetime Gold status?

Assuming you've still got plenty of travel ahead of you, it's worth pausing to consider where you go from here in the frequent flyer stakes.

Hit 14,000 status credits and your Qantas Gold card is yours for life.
Hit 14,000 status credits and your Qantas Gold card is yours for life.

For even more serious high flyers, Qantas offers a Lifetime Platinum status, but with a staggering qualifying requirement of 75,000 status credits, many travellers shift their frequent flyer affiliation to another Oneworld program once they've got that Gold card in their pocket or purse.

A popular choice is American Airlines’ AAdvantage program, which offers competitive flight redemption rates compared to Qantas Frequent Flyer – although AAdvantage miles are harder to earn than Qantas points on Australian soil.

Whether you ultimately decide to utilise a second Oneworld program will largely depend on where and how far you travel, along with how you’d like to use your points or miles.

Earning Qantas Lifetime Gold Status - FAQs

Do bonus Status Credits awarded from Qantas Premier credit cards count towards Qantas Lifetime Membership tiers?

While certain credit cards like the Qantas Premier Titanium offer Bonus Status Credits on eligible Qantas flights, these do not count towards lifetime membership tiers.

Can I buy Qantas Status credits?

No, while you can buy Qantas frequent flyer points directly from Qantas itself, you can’t purchase status credits.

Is it worth going the extra mile from Lifetime Gold to Lifetime Platinum status?

In Qantas Frequent Flyer programs, the Gold status is widely regarded as the ‘sweet spot’ for benefits, and while lifetime access to Qantas International First lounges and oneworld’s Emerald status might be tempting, the reality is that at 75,000 status credits, you’ll probably need more than a lifetime to achieve Qantas Lifetime Platinum.

Travellers wishing to earn Lifetime Qantas Platinum status are better off aiming for Lifetime Gold status with British Airways’ Executive Club program (British Airways equivalent of Qantas Platinum), which would only require 35,000 tier points (Avios) to achieve.


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