What's the 'sweet spot' for Qantas, Virgin frequent flyer status?

By David Flynn, June 6 2017

TALKING POINT | Ready for a whopper of a number? The frequent flyer schemes of Qantas and Virgin Australia count almost 19 million members between them.

That's almost three-quarters the population of Australia. To be fair, some frequent flyers live overseas and there's also a degree of duplication between each airline's rewards program.

Indeed, many savvy travellers work their way up the frequent flyer food chain to reach Gold or Platinum with both airlines.

And unlike frequent flyer points, which can be hoovered up many ways other than flying – a new credit card can land you an easy  80,000 to 100,000 points – the status credits which dictate the colour of your membership card and the perks which come with it are by and large obtained only through those bum-on-seat hours.

But where's the sweet spot for status? At what stage do the benefits of any given tier hit a peak so that the ascending to the next level on the ladder isn't really worth the effort?

Is it Qantas and Velocity Gold, both of which provide access to business class checkin lines and airport lounges? Or is Platinum – and in the case of Qantas, Platinum One – worth chasing?

And if you've reached whatever you consider that sweet spot to be, what next – do you strategically credit your upcoming flights to another airline's loyalty scheme to enjoy a different serve of benefits?

Share your thoughts with other Australian Business Traveller readers below!

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

12 Jun 2014

Total posts 23

For me QF Platinum is the sweet spot at the moment. The Domestic Business lounges are better than the QANTAS Club and the First Lounge is amazing. By maintaining Platinum for now I can build towards Lifetime Gold.

I don't fly enough to earn status for multiple airlines.

To go for Platinum One I'd need a really big year of flying and even then it'd probably be out of reach.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 1

My husband and I are both currently Platinum.  He has lifetime gold and I will reach this in 2017.  My view is that there is no incentive to continue with the loyalty beyond this point as lifetime Platinum is not available.  Platinum is better as you have more chance of an upgrade, but for us to maintain this, we need to do all our flying with them and we like to maintain our status with Singapore as well
JTG
JTG

Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 40

The sweet spot really depends on how much you travel and how much airlines are charging. I travel abroad 12-15 times a year in business, mainly to Singapore. This is just enough to get Platinum One if all my flights were with Qantas. Sadly Qantas don't provide much support to small businesses who travel a lot, whereas Singapore do.  I now fly Singapore Airlines to SIN and predominantly Qantas to other locations. My sweet spot is Platinum with Qantas and PPS with Singapore. Even though I am also Gold with Velocity, I have given up with Virgin for the inconsistencies with the product, especially internationally

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 224

The sweet spot would be a level you never want to go below, so I think if you asked most people that would be Gold. The drop from Gold to Silver is a big one and probably more significant than a drop from Platinum to Gold for most.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 328

I just dropped from Qantas Platinum to a Gold and am fine with it. Platinum is really not worth chasing IMHO.  I also have Velocity Gold but soon will jump to Platinum, and doubt will chase it again either. 


Gold really is the sweet spot in both programs, as the most valuable asset in both is lounge access. The other extras like priority checkin and boarding are nice, but it really comes back to the lounge.

The only thing I will miss from being Qantas Platinum is the F lounge in Sydney, but as I have made a decision to move from QF to SQ for my work trips to Asia, i wouldn't have used it going forward anyway.

Gold is the sweet spot for Qantas and Virgin Australia, and Lifetime Gold is the ultimate sweet spot for Qantas, once you have LTG you may as well consider if there are other OneWorld partner airline schemes worth crediting to.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Nov 2016

Total posts 72

If Qantas had a Lifetime Platinum that would be the sweet spot. If it had similar perks to BA's Lifetime Gold which is One World Emerald terrific. Until then, Qantas Lifetime Gold is still very good. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Dec 2013

Total posts 11

I have often thought that the domestic benefits for Qantas platinum are nowhere near enough incentive for double the amount of flying/loyalty.  Seat access is good and recognition is patchy but the real point of difference should be the lounges.  It appears to me that food/drink are pretty similar and whilst not expecting the same standard as the first international lounge, increased quality/variety would be expected.   I have been platinum(life gold) for a few years but if I was sitting on 1000 SC I cant see I would be making subjective travel decisions to retain platinum.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Feb 2015

Total posts 130

I have been gold with both QF & VA for several years now (and recently reached platinum with VA through family pooling). The sweet spot for me at the moment is Gold with both so I get the key benefits from both networks (i.e. lounge access, extra baggage, priority check-in and boarding). It also gives me flexibility to choose from a broader range of airlines and more importantly, a chance to get a better deal. Although I do tend to fly QF/Oneworld more once reached gold, as my ultimate goal is to get LTG so I won't have any problem giving up VA gold if I have to.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 56

Gold for Velocity but Platinum for Qantas, especially if you travel internationally but even for a lot of domestic flights the Qantas Business Lounges are well worth having access to.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2014

Total posts 205

Gold lifetime offered by QF is the sweet spot.

Not enough benefits in Platinum for me.

28 Feb 2014

Total posts 10

It depends on your travel.  I have been Platinum with Virgin for 4 years now, which was perfect for the Domestic travel and yearly trips to Asia / NZ.  But my new job's travel is Europe and NAM, so I have decided to stick to QF / Emirates for Europe travel so I can get my lifetime gold (will have it at the end of the year).  Travelling to North America, Virgin /Delta for me.  This will give me liftime gold with QF, and ability to continue with platnum with VA thanks to family pooling.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 457

I think it depends on your travel patterns and the value you put on loyalty. 

I tend to stick to Qantas and as a traveller with LTG I know I've got excellent benefits irrespective of future travel. I'm Platinum now but may not do as much travel this year. If I drop back to LTG I'll at least still get to enjoy the brand new Brisbane domestic and Intl lounges! 

04 Apr 2012

Total posts 11

This is a tough one in the short term. I have been QF platinum/lifetime gold for a number of years. I'm also VA gold. 

To be honest, I'm considering the letting myself drop back to gold until something changes, such as lifetime suddenly Platinum appearing or the QF offering & pricing coming into line with the market. Other than the First lounges in MEL and SYD, I struggle to get excited anymore. The A380 J is just awful and, with the reduction in F seats as of later this year, upgrades could be a thing of the past. Also, being ADL-based, I have EK, CY, SQ, NZ, MH, QR, CZ to choose from...but no QF. I am not yet sure which way I'm going to go, but with F class seeming to be on the decline, strong/new J offerings from EK, EY, QR and SQ seem like the logical options at this point. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Nov 2016

Total posts 72

I think one of the other benefits of QF Platinum and Gold is the support services that Qantas offer. Especially when there are international flights involved. I noticed on my Qantas phone app my Barcode and number.  This is new. I have called Qantas to find out what I can use this for. No one knows. I'm expecting a call back soon. Can I use it to check in etc? Re: Call centres. I've been informed that Qantas has moved its Premium call centre support to Hobart and Bronze and others are now being serviced in Auckland New Zealand. After midnight calls will be taken in NZ as well. Emails to Qantas will be serviced in Manilla PHP. I'm a strong believer in keeping jobs in Australia. Sad to see the Melbourne office has closed after all these years. Good people with a lot of knowledge. I'm sure some have relocated to Hobart but not all. My thanks to those wonderful call centre staff who have assisted me over the years. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 46

For me it would be Qantas Lifetime Gold. I was Gold and close to LTG but since we moved to the UK two years ago all my flights have been within Europe. Will be interesting to see what advantages I get as Lifetime Silver on my first trip back to Oz in September.  
bsb
bsb

21 Jul 2011

Total posts 70

QF Platinum. Those lounges (inc the CX ones) and Bus lounge domestic make it worthwhile. As does getting a good seat when I fly whY domestic

17 Feb 2017

Total posts 11

I have been QF Platinum One and LTG for several (4+) years now but I think Platinum for now and Lifetime Gold is the sweet spot.  This will be my last year as P1 as now there is zero incentive to remain flying with QF.  If there was the option of Lifetime Platinum then I would continue flying with Qantas, but in the absence of that option I am happy to fly other carriers all of the time.  My $50,000+ annual airfare spend is going elsewhere!!!  But clearly you're not interested in keeping me loyal.  Are you listening Qantas?????
Gus
Gus

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 2

I've been Plat One for 4 years and LTG. Whilst a Qantas fan I'm beginning to wonder if P1 at 3 X Platinum SC is worth it as opposed to Platinum on QAN and VA. There are no tangible benefits over normal Platinum.....

If lifetime Platinum or access to Chairmans Lounge was offered I'd be more committed.

These days the Business Lounges are packed!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Dec 2014

Total posts 55

I usually travel enough to retain Platinum on both Virgin and Qantas. Both have their benefits - Virgin for the 4x Business Class Upgrades and guaranteed reward seats for a family holiday, and Qantas for access to the First lounge (Intl) and Business lounge (domestic). I don't see that QF Platinum One offers anything significantly better than Platinum, so I'm happy to spread them love between both programs - ensures I have lounge access whichever one I fly. I note have QF Lifetime Gold - I wish Virgin would offer the same.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Sep 2012

Total posts 4

Should be a Lifetime Platinum category in QF to thank frequent flyers. Until then LG is next best. At one stage I was doing +80 sectors, all business in Aust but it's not valued by QF despite taking 2 seats each time.  New business needs RWT  >4 times a year.  International business on QF is expensive, up do double other oneworld with much lesser product than most (except BA).  If you're flying business or first the only P/G differentiator is the lounge access which is mostly crowded overseas. I like QF but less and less reason to remain.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Dec 2016

Total posts 45

I am Lifetime Gold (was Chairmans Club) with Qantas and member of The Club with Virgin. I rarely fly Qantas anymore and simply use Woolworths to maintain activity. Qantas Platinum One and Chairmans Club do not offer the same level of service that Virgin The Club do. In my experience getting reward Business Class seats is not a problem with Virgin but was always a problem with Qantas

China Airlines - Dynasty Flyer

22 Sep 2012

Total posts 68

While I am in a different program for me I list these things as to be must have.
- First class/Bussiness class access with Alliance partner access to lounges.
- 1 guest invite to the lounge.
That is the basic need for me. Which is Emerald on CI dynasty or if I was considering CX I think gold.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jan 2015

Total posts 9

Also QF LTG (ex CL) and Virgin Club member.

There is no point in me flying QF to collect more SC's as they refuse to even think about introducing lifetime WP.

Would be great if VA introduced lifetime SG and WP as that would increase the loyalty incentive.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2014

Total posts 205

QF MTG for me

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