"How do I stop my Qantas Frequent Flyer points from expiring?" is a question we often get from the not-so-frequent flyers – but it's more common to hear screams of fury after Qantas points have expired, because many people don't realise their points have a very strict use-by date.
It doesn't matter if you're sitting on just one thousand Qantas points or a stash of hundreds of thousands . You'll lose all your Qantas points once your account is inactive for 18 months.
It might not seem fair but those are the rules, under section 9.2.2 of the QFF Terms and Conditions:
All Points held in a Qantas Frequent Flyer account of a non-Active Member will expire at the end of the 18th consecutive month for which the Member has not earned Points or Status Credits or redeemed Points (excluding any transfer of Points to or from an Eligible Family Member).
(There's one happy exception to this: if you joined Qantas Frequent Flyer before 1 July 2010, you have an additional three-year grace period on top of that 18 month window.)
This sudden drop in activity can occur for a number of reasons: you're simply not flying as much, you're flying with Qantas but funneling the points into the frequent flyer program of a partner airline, or you're using an airline that's not affiliated with Qantas,
Whatever the reason, there's a simple way to keep all your points even after a near-18 month lull: get some activity happening on your Qantas Frequent Flyer account.
Any activity will do. It doesn't have to mean taking a flight, because you don't have to fly to earn Qantas points. We've put together a few of our favourites.
The everyday standby
Get a Woolworths Everyday Reward Card and link it to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account. Keep the card with you and swipe it at the checkout every time you shop at Woolies.
If you spend more than $31 during one visit to Woolies you'll earn QFF points. Not many, but all it takes it one Qantas point being added to your account to keep all your points valid for another 18 months.
This has got to be the eaisest way to ensure your points never expire.
The oldies but goodies: credit cards, hotels and car rental
There are over a dozen credit or charge cards you can link to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account -- and every time points get transferred, that counts as activity.
If one of these cards is languishing at the back of your wallet, consider pulling it out for a purchase if you need to keep your frequent flyer account active.
You can also earn points shopping at David Jones with DJ's own Storecard.
Qantas has dozens of partner hotels within Australia and overseas. A single stay at those hotels will net you the points necessary to keep your account active, so make sure you always ask whether you can get Qantas points when you check in.
Renting a car from Avis or Budget will net you Qantas points too. Weekends are often good value for car rentals, and an extra car can be useful if there's more than one of you in the house.
The more unusual options
Go out for dinner: you can earn Qantas points at over three hundred Australian restaurants. So go out for a meal -- and don't forget to swipe your Qantas frequent flyer card.
Pay for your phone: if you've got an Optus account, you can earn Qantas points with it. Link up the accounts in good time and your phone spend will keep your Qantas frequent flyer account active. Read more about the Qantas/Optus partnership...
Say it with flowers: Qantas Frequent Flowers (see what they did there?) net you Qantas points as well as the brownie points you earn for the flowers in the first place.
Enjoy an evening out: if you're up for some live entertainment, consider booking a play or show through Qantas Box Office.
Pick a more expensive Jetstar fare: if you've ended up flying Jetstar instead of Qantas, you might want to stump up a bit of extra cash for a Business Max, Economy Starter Max or Economy Starter Plus ticket -- you won't earn points on Economy Starter or Business fares.
...and many more: from buying a car to choosing insurance to tinting your vehicle's windows to using a printing service. Keep your eye on the "How to Earn Points" page and the email inbox that your Qantas Frequent Flyer announcements come to for anything new.
The bottom line? If you can't earn a single solitary Qantas point over an 18 month period, you're just not trying!
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About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.