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.
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.