The best perks of Qantas Gold for domestic economy flyers

By Chris Chamberlin, December 18 2018
The best perks of Qantas Gold for domestic economy flyers

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

While long-time road warriors could well recite the benefits of Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold status from memory, for first-time qualifiers, there’s a lot to learn: but a lot to gain, particularly when flying economy on Australian domestic flights, where the benefits of status are most pronounced.

Among the many perks unlocked when climbing the ladder from Silver to Gold, here are five of the best privileges you’ll gain as a Gold frequent flyer when travelling within Australia.

1. Lounge access, with a guest every time

It should come as no surprise that the biggest benefit unlocked by Gold-grade status is lounge access, and for domestic travellers flying economy, Qantas offers lounge facilities in 24 airports, with Gold members enjoying access to Qantas Clubs and Qantas Regional Lounges around the country.

One guest can accompany you on every visit – handy on business trips when flying with a colleague, or even your boss, who may not have status or lounge access on their own – and there’s no requirement for that guest to be travelling with you, or even at all: handy for informal pre-flight meetings or when you run into familiar faces along your travels, whether they’re coming or going.

On holidays, that guest could be a friend or partner instead, and if travelling with little ones, Gold members can bring up to two children aged 4-17 into the lounge, along with kids aged 0-3 with no set limit, and that’s in addition to one adult guest, potentially getting your whole family through the door by way of your Gold membership.

2. Skip the queues at security screening

Where available, you’ll be able to get to the lounge faster by taking advantage of priority security screening lanes at major Australian domestic airports.

This includes the fast-track channels at ‘regular’ security checkpoints, along with the Qantas Premium Lounge Entry facility in Brisbane, where you’ll clear security in a private room – accessible directly from Qantas Valet and the check-in hall – before emerging directly inside the Qantas Club.

3. Enjoy the baggage allowance of business class

Gold frequent flyers can forget about Qantas’ regular 1x23kg baggage allowance in economy – instead, these travellers can bring along as much as most business class passengers, being two bags up to 32kg each, at no extra charge.

Add to that priority baggage tagging, and as with Qantas Silver frequent flyers, Gold members can make use of Qantas Premium Service Desks rather than joining the back of the economy check-in queues: although at airports with automated bag drop facilities, it’s often faster to use those instead.

4. Priority boarding, when it works

Joining business class passengers and Platinum frequent flyers, Gold cardholders can use domestic priority boarding lanes wherever available, helping to get on the aircraft sooner and store any cabin baggage when there’s still plenty of space in the lockers.

While the success of priority boarding varies from flight to flight, as with check-in, it usually beats joining the back of the economy queue, especially if you remain in the lounge until boarding is called.

5. You can request an ‘on departure upgrade’ to business class

While all Qantas Frequent Flyer members can request domestic flight upgrades using their Qantas Points – some confirmed immediately, and others waitlisted for consideration closer to departure – as a Gold member, you have one more option: an ‘on departure upgrade’.

Available until just 20 minutes before your flight departs (compared to 24 hours prior for ‘normal’ upgrades), it’s handy if your travel plans regularly change; when you just decide to spoil yourself after a productive day at the office; or even if you tried upgrading in advance and weren’t successful, as staff in the lounge or at the service desk may be able to help.

The number of points required is the same as for any other upgrade on the same flight, and although you may not be ‘guaranteed’ catering if granted an upgrade at the airport, in my experience, you never go hungry: your meal order just tends to be taken last, based on what’s still available.

Gold frequent flyers also earn up to 75% more points than Bronze members on the same flights – excluding short routes like Sydney-Melbourne where Qantas’ Minimum Points Guarantee gives everybody the same bounty – which means you’ll be unlocking free flights and upgrades at a faster rate than other travellers.

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.

21 Apr 2016

Total posts 22

I'd argue priority boarding is the worst perk of Qantas Gold - promised but never delivered.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2017

Total posts 106

Yes, pretty much the same list of perks as for Virgin/Velocity Gold, except that Virgin actually delivers on its perks - priority boarding being the most obvious example.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Nov 2018

Total posts 97

Problem is when half the plane is P1, P and gold, let alone business class. Priority boarding becomes obsolete. It would help if the priority lane was boarded first.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Dec 2017

Total posts 19

I’m hoping Qantas is beginning to get the message. My flight SYD- HND on the 4th saw the whole Premium queue boarded before the Economy queue was started. I was almost on the end because I had been dawdling from the First Lounge.

05 May 2016

Total posts 626

This article is about domestic travel though. HND is not a domestic destination.

The relevant concerns about priority boarding expressed here are about it being enforced for domestic flights.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

02 Jul 2015

Total posts 17

One perk of being Gold with VA is the ability to choose a seat in rows 6-10 at the time of booking. Is that the case with QF Gold and if so, what is the first row which can be selected?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 488

Yes, though it's often from row 7 as 4-6 is generally reserved for Platinum and above

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 307

I agree about priority check in and priority boarding, most occasions it’s quicker to go through the economy line, it is a little better at regional airports like TSV, CNS, DRW, now that Silver and Qantas Club aren’t included in the priority line but it’s a bit of a free for all, not much the airline can do I suppose apart from advising people they are in the wrong line so that next time they might take notice.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 349

I’ve since achieved Platinum with QF (which is fantastic) but I have to say that Gold was very good and I’d highly recommend it, but yes getting priority boarding right needs to be a focus.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2014

Total posts 223

LTG is the big perk for me closely followed by the priority screening.

The rest doesnt fuss me.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 150

LOL! “Priority boarding, when it works.”

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 90

Ah, the memory?! Been there and it was nice.But after the status lottery, back to silver and hoping that registration for the double bonus point promotion, I will obtain a new gold luggage tag.


19 Sep 2013

Total posts 170

Didn't realise that not all on departure upgrades requested in the lounge weren't resolved immediately. Good point to know.

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