Gold-grade Qantas Frequent Flyer status delivers plenty of benefits for the road warrior, even on domestic flights – which is, to be fair, how many Golds earn their wings, with a lot of shuttling back and forth between the capital cities or on regional routes,
Thankfully, those wins aren’t little fripperies: they’re practical perks that save you time, hassle and headaches. And isn’t that what status is supposed to be about?.
1. Lounge access, anbd bring a guest
Arugably the biggest benefit unlocked by Gold-grade status is lounge access. For domestic travellers flying economy, Qantas offers lounges in over two dozen airports, with Gold members able to relax before their flight in Qantas Clubs and Qantas Regional Lounges around the country.
And one guest can accompany you on every visit – very useful on business trips when flying with a colleague, or even your boss, who may not have status or lounge access on their own.
Less-known is that there’s actually no requirement for that guest to be travelling with you, or even flying at all. This is 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. Iif 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
At major Australian domestic airports airport you’ll be able to get to the lounge faster by taking advantage of priority security screening lanes.
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 economy baggage allowance of a single 23kg piece of luggage. Qantas Gold status ramps this to two bags of up to 32kg each, at no extra charge. That’s brilliant for everything from bulky material for a sales conference to tools of trade.
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. Request ‘on departure upgrades’ 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.