Why Qantas Lifetime Silver status is worth having

By Chris Chamberlin, December 18 2018
Why Qantas Lifetime Silver status is worth having

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

Lifetime Silver status in the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme is often seen as a mere stepping stone on the path to Lifetime Gold, but don't underestimate this shiny card.

Qantas Lifetime Silver status has a lot going for it, and not just when you're flying with Qantas: also on partner airlines such as Emirates and Oneworld alliance members such as American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and more.

While the benefits of Qantas Lifetime Silver don’t extend to unlimited airport lounge access, cards like Priority Pass or the American Express Platinum Charge Card can cover you for this anyway – and when paired with a Qantas Lifetime Silver card, they provide an overall travel experience comparable to being a higher-tier Gold frequent flyer.

Here’s why you should set your sights on Qantas Lifetime Silver status.

The best perks of Qantas Lifetime Silver

While there’s plenty to like about being an elite frequent flyer for life, these three benefits stand out from the rest.

Priority check-in plus extra checked baggage

Forget joining the back of the economy check-in queues: with a Qantas Lifetime Silver card in-hand, you’ll instead zip through the business class or Premium Service check-in lanes with Qantas, Emirates, and every Oneworld alliance airline, even if you’re flying economy.

On most Qantas and Emirates international flights, you can also bring an extra 12kg of checked baggage over and above the allowance shown on your ticket – except on Qantas flights to North and South America, where you can bring a third checked bag of up to 23kg when flying premium economy or economy.

When taking a Qantas domestic flight in economy, the normal 1x23kg baggage allowance is boosted to 1x32kg, and when flying with American Airlines, your first checked bag (of up to 23kg) is also free, even if flying on a ticket with no checked baggage included.

Priority boarding

Qantas Lifetime Silver status sees you recognised as a Oneworld Ruby frequent flyer, denoted by the red gemstone on the front of your Qantas membership card, under the Oneworld logo:

Not only does that unlock priority check-in perks across the alliance, it also gives you priority boarding with a few airlines as well: namely, American Airlines (with Group 4), British Airways (with Priority Group 3), Japan Airlines (with Priority 2), and Malaysia Airlines (with business class).

Priority boarding for Lifetime Silver frequent flyers isn’t offered on Qantas or Emirates flights, or with most other Oneworld member airlines – but if you’re flying with one of the four airlines above, your experience at the airport becomes just a little more like Gold.

Complimentary seat selection

Flying with Qantas internationally, even on the lowest-cost economy tickets? As a Lifetime Silver frequent flyer, standard seat selection fees are waived for you and everybody else travelling on the same ticket from the moment you make your booking: you’ll only pay extra for extra legroom seats.

With British Airways, your Oneworld Ruby status entitles you to complimentary seat selection up to seven days before your flight – handy even if flying business class where BA still levies seat selection fees – with any remaining exit row seats available for selection within 24 hours of departure.

On Cathay Pacific flights, extra legroom seats are complimentary from the moment you book, and can now be selected online once your Qantas Lifetime SIlver number has been attached to your booking.

American Airlines does things a little differently – if you’re flying economy (Main Cabin) and there are spare seats in the Main Cabin Extra cabin within 24 hours of departure, you can upgrade yourself at no charge to one of these extra legroom seats. Free snacks, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are also served in Main Cabin Extra, even if normally chargeable in economy on the same flight.

Even more benefits for Qantas Lifetime Silver

Rounding out the roster of perks, Qantas Lifetime Silver members earn 50% more points on Qantas and Jetstar flights and 25% more points on American Airlines flights than regular Bronze members, provided the total number of points exceeds the airlines’ Minimum Points Guarantees.

While that’s of little benefit on short flights (such as Sydney-Melbourne) where the Minimum Points Guarantee gives Bronze and Silver members the same number of points, it’s more useful on longer routes such as Brisbane-Melbourne, and on international flights, where 50% more points on a journey to London can make a big difference.

When using your points to upgrade to premium economy, business class or even first class on a Qantas flight where upgrades are waitlisted, your request takes priority over entry-level Bronze frequent flyers, which could be the difference between flying up the front and sitting down the back.

Similarly, when calling Qantas, your call will take priority over Bronze members – but don’t expect the phone to be answered on the first ring, because as you’d expect, Chairman’s Lounge, Platinum One, Platinum and Gold frequent flyers take higher priority.

Finally, Qantas sometimes reserves extra Classic Flight Reward seats for Silver frequent flyers and above, so if you’re trying to use your Qantas Points to book a flight and aren’t having much luck, try searching again when logged into your Lifetime Silver account and see if that changes.

How to qualify for Qantas Lifetime Silver

Qantas Lifetime Silver membership can be yours after earning 7,000 status credits over the lifetime of your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership – and that’s no easy achievement.

It’s equivalent to retaining year-by-year Silver status every year for 28 years, qualifying for Qantas Gold 10 times over or qualifying for Qantas Platinum five times.

Even though your status credits are normally wiped at the end of every membership year, Qantas keeps a tally in the background of all the status credits you’ve ever earned: and you can check your progress by logging into the Qantas website, browsing to the main My Account page, and clicking “see all status activity”.

Scroll down the page and you’ll spot “Lifetime membership”, and your own personal tally:

In this example, the traveller is just over two thirds of the way to achieving Lifetime Silver, and needs to earn a further 2,290 status credits to lock-in Silver for life.

For seriously high flyers, Qantas Lifetime Gold can be yours after amassing 14,000 status credits – but for many people, Qantas Lifetime Silver, paired with an airport lounge membership or the right credit card, can be just as useful and twice as easy to achieve.

Also read: How to get extra status credits via the Qantas Loyalty Bonus

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.

24 Dec 2013

Total posts 91

Do you get a complimentary Qantas lounge pass every year for life?

05 May 2016

Total posts 600

Yes, but that’s for one person before one one way flight at QF operated lounges excluding the one at LAX. Digital invitations are more annoying to use than the paper passes were.

You can pickup extra invitations from credit cards.

05 May 2016

Total posts 600

Note that the Silver lounge invitation is only issued if you current status is at the Silver level. If you have Gold (or above) status then you wouldn't get the lounge invitation until/unless you drop back to Lifetime Silver, as Gold (and above) status includes lounge access.

01 Feb 2018

Total posts 6

You are able to book extra legroom seats online for free on Cathay as a QF Silver at the time of booking

Hi Jason, thanks for the update: I tried this only a couple of months ago, and the exit row seats weren’t available for selection online but could be secured over the phone. I’ll have to take a look on my next CX flight to see if there’s been an update.

01 Feb 2018

Total posts 6

Chris - I was able to do it at Christmas time. The only reason I discovered it was because I was trying to work out whether to buy Marco Polo so experimented with the booking. QF definitely was free for seats that were charged under Asia Miles.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 292

Great article Chris, I am a year or so away from lifetime Silver and didn’t realise the perks for One World partners that you get with it, certainly puts it in a new light for me.

05 May 2016

Total posts 600

Lifetime Silver certainly would be nice to have, but Lifetime Gold is definitely still what I'm aiming for though whether I make the latter I'll have to wait and see.

I have friends that have never/hardly ever held higher status than Bronze. Being ahead in the upgrade queue of the bulk of passengers is the main benefit in my opinion.

03 Nov 2014

Total posts 91

Silver is a good one to have when travelling on AA in the US. From memory allows you & 7 people on your booking to avoid paying US$20-$25 for bags per person.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2017

Total posts 104

Yeah, but you have to fly Qantas to achieve it!

05 May 2016

Total posts 600

You can fly on a QF ticket on Emirates metal or a Oneworld operated flight and earn SCs. For lifetime status there's no segments on QF requirement.

If you don't like flying QF though you'd probably be better off using a different FF program.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

Does the bonus component of DSC promotions accrue towards LTS or LTG?

All status credits earned throughout the life of the membership count towards the Lifetime tiers, including bonus status credits.

05 May 2016

Total posts 600

That's a key reason why I use DSC promotions and why I've chosen to do significant travel with QF that I might not have otherwise done with QF or even at all.

With DSC promotions especially you can fast track your progress towards LTS or LTG.

04 Jun 2018

Total posts 20

@Chris, good article highlighting the perks of QF lifetime silver. I just wanted to clarify your point about being entitled to one free piece of checked luggage even when not included in the fare as I myself benefited from it in a recent MEX-LAX leg on AA. What was the outcome of the “Basic Economy” fare class debates where some airlines chose not to recognise frequent flyer status from their own programs when flying on those nominally “heavily discounted” fares ? Does AA recognise QF and/or OW status if the fare class is “Basic Economy”? Cheers.

Hi vitorsyd, those 'debates' aren't something I've ever covered, so that's not for me to comment on. On your other question regarding AA in particular, travellers with eligible status are exempt from many of the Basic Economy rules (and can still use priority check-in, etc) - more info on AA's travel agency website here, which we'll leave you to peruse.

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 271

As someone who is LTS but a long way from LTG, this article is great! Even more so after recently changing to a job with far less travel involved. Thanks Chris :)

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 271

A query I have is whether LTS plus qantas club membership is better or worse than the credit card / pp membership options presented above, especially if most travel is domestic but even if international?

05 May 2016

Total posts 600

QANTAS Club is useful if most travel is booked as QF marketed tickets. QANTAS Club won’t give you Lounge Access if flying on an Emirates marketed ticket for example.

If travelling QF marketed tickets some of the benefits of LTS over Bronze are also things that a QANTAS Club Bronze member would get.

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 271

Thanks mviy:)


16 Nov 2012

Total posts 57

My LTS plus Lifetime QC are pretty good substitutes in the QF universe, but I've been Gold for about 15 years but am too old to earn lifetime. I'll miss Gold eventually but the others are not a bad substitute.

11 May 2018

Total posts 14

Thanks Chris for another great, in-depth article on QF lifetime silver. My husband has lifetime silver and it really came into play when we were in Orlando recently and flying AA. The check in queue was a mile long and we just sailed on to the premium check in.

The queues in the States are much longer than what you encounter on the NZ/OZ scene. That qf lifetime silver is an incredible perk in that it’s FOR LIFE. It is enabling us to get away from the pretty sub standard offering you get for being a very frequent flyer with Air New Zealand airpoints.

And as you say the priority pass means you really don’t have to fly ridiculous amounts to get status that enables lounge access. Many thanks once again Chris. Enjoy your articles.

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 273

Great to hear, I’m almost there

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

02 Jul 2018

Total posts 43

If you have OneWorld Emarald annually it is no point to switch to QFF and earn LifeTime Silver/ Gold. If there is LifeTime Platinum it is more attractive.

05 May 2016

Total posts 600

That's if you can fly enough to reach LT OWE on one of the carriers that offer it.

Also only QANTAS status and QANTAS points apply for upgrades on QANTAS flights and you have to be on a QF marketed ticket too.

It depends on what your goals are that you can realistically achieve, who you normally fly with etc.

27 Jan 2015

Total posts 7

My flight on Monday will tip me over to lifetime silver. Took 3 years of solid flying to get there. Next aim, lifetime gold...but I have a feeling that'll take me another 8 years to get to!

Thanks for the article, Chris. Great reading.

17 Feb 2016

Total posts 24

Great and timely article. Next year I need 480 status credits to reach lifetime silver. I wonder if/when Qantas may next have a double status credits promotion ?

05 May 2016

Total posts 600

Last year there was a targeted (only for those who got the email) DSC promo in September. Whether they do another one this year is anyone’s guess.

I hope they do a DSC promo open to everyone next year. I’d guess an offer sometime in February-May would be most likely for that.

QF keeps these a surprise and the booking window is very brief.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Dec 2011

Total posts 11

Hi Chris - I noted for my LATAM flight this morning to Sydney from Auckland that the business queue had the oneworld Ruby logo on it, so I presume that you’ll also have priority boarding for them.

23 Aug 2012

Total posts 33

I still don't understand why QF isn't offering lifetime platinum. The odd reality is: BA only offers lifetime platinum, AY offers all the levels. Outside Oneworld, there are a bunch offering lifetime Star-Gold, but except for QF there is no airline that offers a lifetime status, that keeps it's top status from being acquired for lifetime.
Being a lifetime QF Gold, my options now are to hope for someone at QF to wake up, or move over to say BA. But then start from scratch, since I don't think they'll give a me a boost to their lifetime Emerald.

05 May 2016

Total posts 600

Lifetime Platinum some would think would lead to crowding of First Lounges and cost QF too much.

The bar could have to be set very, very high that it's out of reach for almost everyone.

I hope that QF introduces LTP but I'm not holding my breath. Despite this being at the top of the wishlist of many of their top frequent flyers QF has repeatedly refused to introduce it.

I'll try to get to QF LTG, but even if I reach that I doubt I'll be flying enough for a switch to BA to provide a realistic path to BA LTG (LT OWE so long as BA remains a member of OneWorld and they don't devalue their LTG).

31 Aug 2018

Total posts 6

good article

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Apr 2018

Total posts 7

LTG for more than 6 years. Been waiting ever since for Qantas to introduce Lifetime Platinum.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jul 2017

Total posts 14

petdav, Same here have beenLTG for years, still adding status credits every year as usually Platinum each year. As Platinum one offers not much more than Platinum and I am unlikely to hit that level there is no real incentive to continue to fly with Qantas once I have passed the threshold every year (beyond FF points which I usually have a lot of). Once I have hit platinum I start looking for cheaper fares with other airlines to get advantages there.

13 Jun 2018

Total posts 2

If flying Finnair you also get priority boarding your boarding card will say group 2, usually group 1 & 2 are allowed on together 1st. We also got priority screening flying cattle class.

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